Partnered: Why the Triumph TR6 Is Collectable

Why the Triumph TR6 Is Collectable

By Johni Parker
May 28, 2014
7 comments

Photography by Josh Clason for Petrolicious

The Collector is a weekly series produced in association with Gear Patrol, where we discuss the car, and Gear Patrol discusses the essential gear inspired by the car. (Click here to see the rest of The Collector Series on Petrolicious.)

Although sharing a name with the motorcycle manufacturer, British firm Triumph Motors used to make some highly desirable sports cars, with the TR6 being one of the company’s most famous creations.

Launched in 1969, the Triumph TR6 shares a lot with it’s predecessors, the TR4 and TR5, and despite being mechanically almost identical to the TR5, the TR6 is quite a different-looking car. The TR4 and TR5 were designed by prolific designer, Giovanni Michelotti, however the TR6 was restyled by German firm, Karmann.

This car was built when Triumph was part of British Leyland, a giant, partially nationalized auto conglomerate, best known for making a mess of classic British marques like Jaguar, MG and ultimately, Triumph.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it’s personal preference on what model is deemed to be the prettiest, but typically, the consensus sways towards the TR4/5 being more desirable, also due to their rarity, thus reflected by the price tags they now command.

The TR6 is not just a great car, but a sound investment, as they are still relatively cheap and haven’t found their value in the market yet. There’s also a thriving community online for parts and advice, so if you’re considering something to both enjoy and tinker with, the TR6 may be the perfect car for you.

In total, 94,619 TR6’s were produced, helped majorly by strong sales in America. There were a few subtle differences between the European & American version of the cars, most notably the Lucas mechanical fuel injection system for Europe that often proved troublesome, contrasting with the far more reliable (but less powerful) carbureted version for America.

All cars featured a 2.5 liter straight-six, coupled to a 4 speed manual transmission with an option for overdrive, capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in 8.2 seconds, with an alleged top speed of 120mph (UK version).

The TR6 also featured semi-trailing arm independent rear suspension, rack and pinion steering and 15-inch wheels covering discs on the front and drums at the back. Factory options included a rear anti-roll bar and a limited slip differential. A factory steel hardtop was also optional, requiring two people to fit it. The TR6 was also well trimmed and came with pile carpet on the floors and trunk, bucket seats, and a full complement of instrumentation on a handsome plywood/veneer dashboard.

The TR6 enjoyed a reasonable production run, lasting seven years, ending in 1976 and being replaced by the TR7. It’s successor however was not seen to be quite as desirable, with it’s shape and lines controversial from the start.

Thank you to owner Robert Tyler for allowing us to photograph his 1976 Triumph TR6.

HIP TO BE SQUARE

Though most of the bodywork from the TR6 is the same as the older TR5 car, the squaring off of the front and rear fascias made all the difference for the the revised car and its grand sales success for British Leyland. Gone was the protruding, closely-set bug-eyed headlights and the slim vertical taillights, replaced by more aggressive and masculine changes like the wider grille flanked by round headlights set into the front quarter panels and wraparound rectangular taillights. Gone was the “British dandy” appearance, replaced by a look that captured just the right amount of sophisticated muscle.

Written by Amos Kwon of Gear Patrol

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Adrian Ind
Adrian Ind
7 years ago

I am an Australian who has just purchased a fully renovated 1972 TR6. Having trouble in falling in love with this car. The clutch pedal once on the release comes out about a third of the distance and then stops and then all of a sudden releases with the tail shaft hitting the diff with a mighty bang. Have put in a new master cylinder and a new slave cylinder but to no avail. On searching the net it appears that this is a common problem. The car looks great underneath, new shinny nuts and bolts and the engine bay is pristine. No rust to be found and boy being a pommy car did I look. The overdrive has also given me untold problems, might have that rectified now. Love the exhaust note. The carbys need to be looked at as it is running very rich. As long as I don’t run out of money, I’m sure this car and I will eventually be good mates.

John Cyg
John Cyg
8 years ago

Thanks to you. A good article a beautiful pictures a of a very nice example of a TR6. I would very much like to see any sales literature that offered an rear anti-sway bar (front anti-sway was standard) and a limited slip differential. Keep up the good work!

LO Guvna
LO Guvna
8 years ago

Thanks to the site and Mr Taylor for offering his car for example in this update on the mark. As a contributor to 6-pack.org, I continue to lift this mark as a owner, and do what I can to encourage those to investigate, and look for future stewardship of these cars. I continue to remind many that this version of Triumph will someday be the sought after British sports car – its production, its original problems by design and support, and ultimately by its continued development – which most people have no idea. Today’s TR6 is so much stronger than the version that left the production line, even if an owner is chasing originality and concourse. Mr Taylors fine example above even has a Toyota converted gearbox, which is a common upgrade to the car.

I hope those interested in pursuing the mark will join the members at 6-pack to surf around, read through the forums and get acquainted with what truly is a great all round sports car today – serviceable, reliable, and comfortable at speed on the highway, which is something most British sports cars simply don’t have the stones for. Cheers to a member for sharing this on facebook.

LO Guvna

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
8 years ago

Like everything else TR6s seem to be shooting up in value. I’m probably in the minority but I prefer it’s big brother the Stag, especially as they are about half the money at the moment.

Mark Hancheroff
Mark Hancheroff
8 years ago

Nicely done. The car is really great (as Triumph spitfire owner – I like it!) and the Kit is a good match. The Repair Manual is good humor (and not too far from the truth) 🙂

BiTurbo228
BiTurbo228
8 years ago

I really want one of these, so I hope the market doesn’t get ridiculous nay time soon.

However, I’ve already got a Spitfire project that involves swapping in a hotted up injected 2.5l Triumph I6, so a TR6 would just be a bigger, slower version of my Spitfire.

One option would be to supercharge the stock I6, but what I want to do is take the Triumph-developed 2.6l SOHC I6 from a Rover 2600. In stock form it was a little less powerful than the injected OHC (136bhp vs 141bhp net), but I’m thinking some porting, opened up intake and exhaust, a cam and ITB injection should net a good amount of horsepower.

Plus, it’s what I reckon Triumph would have done had they decided to continue evolving the old TR chassis.

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle
8 years ago

Thank you so much for all these greats pictures of this wonderful triumph. I have been a pretty big Triumph fan for many years now and will always love them. For me the TR6 will always be on the top of that list of British sports cars i want to own badly. I hear some people say sports car are for girls. When they say that to me i always bring up the TR6 in my argument. Yes the TR6 is a sports car but with a muscular edge to it with the squared off chiseled looks. plus the larger tires give it a fighting stance as well. Now if you excuse me i got some TR6s browsing to do 😀