Triumph TR6 – 1969

‘Rattly, draughty, unpredictable in the wet, prone to disintegration ‘. That’s how celebrity car buff, James May described the TR6. And coming from him, the words were glowing praise; for it is the sheer, unadulterated blokishness of the TR6 that was the secret of its success — a hunky machine, modelled along the lines of a classic British roadster but with the promise of high-performance tearaway thrills.

When it came onto the market it immediately hit the spot, and by the time production ended in 1976 the TR6 was Triumph’s best seller — more than 94,500 had been built.

The TR6 was the consummation of a series which had evolved steadily through each model. Mechanically more or less identical to the TR5 (which itself was simply a TR4 with a pushrod six-cylinder engine) the TR6 had a classy new body, styled by Karmann. Its flowing lines gave it a beautiful old-fashioned shape and the interior had touches of opulence: pile carpet, wooden dashboard and comfortable bucket seats with plenty of leg room.

A steel hardtop was included as an optional extra for instant conversion to a sports coupe. Built in Triumph’s Coventry factory using the traditional body-on-frame construction method rather than the mass-production unibody technology that by then had become the norm, the TR6 had four-speed manual transmission with optional overdrive, rack-and pinion steering and a fuel-injected engine – which gave so much power that Triumph had to detune it from 150 bhp to 125 bhp to make it more manageable.

The TR6 is a brilliant hobbyist’s car for weekend tinkering. Spare parts are readily available and inexpensive, the electrics are straightforward and there is enough room around the engine to wield a spanner with ease. And on the road, it fulfils every criterion of those boy racer dreams – a superb heritage toy.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

UK

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

1969 (until 1976)

ENGINE:

2.498 cc Straight Six

PERFORMANCE:

Top speed of 118mph (191 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in around 9.5 secs

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

The TR6’s fuel-injected engine failed US emissions requirements so models for export to America were a somewhat strangulated twin-carbureted version.

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