LABOUR OF LOVE: Robert and Judith Bradford with their restored Triumph TR3 sports car. Photo: Blainey Woodham
LABOUR OF LOVE: Robert and Judith Bradford with their restored Triumph TR3 sports car. Photo: Blainey Woodham

On the road with Noddy

ROB and Judith Bradford of Tweed Heads share a lifelong passion for vintage cars.

Just as well, because many marriages wouldn't survive the constant clattering, banging, welding and grinding.

Rob's an engineer whose hobby is restoring vintage cars.

In fact it was Judith who bought their car, known as Noddy, from a colleague who had abandoned the project.

The Triumph TR3A was a heap of rusty panels, a chassis, and an engine that needed a rebuild. It sat in a corner of the garage for years.

Over time the Bradfords raised a family, educated them and both managed their careers, as well and moving houses three times over 30 years.

Each move Noddy's carcass went with them further delaying the project until "one day when I retire".

That day arrived and now 30,000km later, the Bradfords turn heads whenever Noddy goes out for a drive.

Rob joined the local Triumph club many years ago.

"Joining the club was the best thing I did, it brought me into contact with a group of enthusiasts at all stages of restoration," Rob said.

"They became my main source of technical information, we had meetings and I had access to the library with information I needed including where to source parts, and there was the social side.

"We attended club functions around Australia and New Zealand, it was a lot of fun "

He even enrolled in TAFE, studying metalworking and upholstery.

"If I didn't know how to do it I would learn. I tested Judith's sewing machine to the limit," he said.

"Learning a new skill to achieve a goal is one of the most interesting aspects. It took 30 years - I'm persistent.

"My father had a strong influence on me, he was an engineer for Rolls Royce and we moved to Kenya when I was three months old," Rob said.

"Father was always tinkering with old cars. At age 12 I returned to the UK and I was there until I was 19.

"Kenya was undergoing political change and the government took my father's farms, he had to rebuild his life five times and I admired him for that."

Meanwhile, waiting patiently beside Noddy is Judith's Triumph Stag V8.

"She's looking tired after 25 years, that's a 2014 project and 2015, and it's the Targa and Tasmania, and the odd rally or two," he said.


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