I got a phonecall from fellow Triumph nut Andy MacDonald last night. I'm sad to say that Michael Lyneham passed away last weekend. I'm not entirely sure of the details so rather than saying something wrong I won't try and go into them. My thoughts are with Pat at the moment, but I will take the opportunity to type out some thoughts about Michael.
I met Michael and his wife Pat at a TSSC meet in Lincoln, sometime around Easter in 2003. I can't remember talking to them particularly on that occasion, but on the journey back from Lincoln to Louth we had reason to meet again! Heading home with Andy Mac in his GT6 mk3 2.5 in the middle of the bleak dark Lincolnshire Wolds the throttle cable snapped. Whilst Andy was preparing a "very fast idle" to get us home the last 6 miles, Michael and Pat turned up in their Rover P5. Michael kindly towed us back to Louth. I remember the event particularly well as on the very same road I totaled my Saab 900 about 7 hours later on my way to work.
It turned out that Michael and Pat's house is just outside Louth, and Andy and I began to drop round occasionally at weekends. It's something I used to enjoy a lot; Michael and Pat always made me feel welcome and very much at ease, and the coffee was first class!
Michael and Pat aren't modern car people - the drive was full of old Rovers, there was a rather tidy Blue Vitesse in one garage and what in 2003 was a restoration in progress, a red 1968 GT6 mk1. Both these cars Michael bought a long long time ago (I seem to recall he'd had the GT6 from new, but it's possible i'm wrong - at least he did have a picture of him and the car from some decades ago).
Michael told me one of my favourite Triumph stories ... that of the stolen overdrive gearbox!!! He wanted to sell his Vitesse, and I was looking for another Triumph, and I have a definite soft spot for the Vitesse. His looked and sounded great - a red interior and Webasto, an SAH manifold, but, alas, no overdrive! "It used to have overdrive, but it was stolen" he told me! What? I envisaged an oil covered mechani-thief - perhaps in the 1970s people didn't steal stereos but went for 'hardware'? Michael explained that he'd removed the o/d to recondition it many years ago, and some git swiped it from the garden. Ah ha.
In the build-up to the inaugural 10 Countries Run 2003 Michael was a great help to Andy and myself giving us some Carb. pistons for nothing and offering his advice on getting the 'Worksalike' ready. I recall doing an interview for Lincs FM by telephone from his kitchen the day before we headed off.
Popping round to see Michael meant a chance to see the progress on the GT6, as well as his impressive workshop. He spared nothing on the rebuild, alloy radiator, Webers, Jigsaw engine, rotoflex conversion, beautiful interior. It was used on the Round Britain Run in 2004 and he was planning to it again this year. Michael was very generous; when he heard on a weekend that I needed a replacement rotoflex coupling to get my GT6 to a Men & Motors filming, he popped out to the garage and removed one from his half rebuilt car for me! (needless to say I bought a replacement for him).
I'm glad I had the chance to know Michael. I hope he rests in peace.