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1969 Triumph TR6 Back Home

Shaun's Triumph TR6

We all have that car that we absolutely regret selling. It never fails that once it is gone you wish you had it back, but sometimes life makes it necessary. We always tell ourselves we can always buy another one down the road, but a different one isn’t exactly the same as having the actual car that you learned to drive in, did your first burnout in, or that helped you land dates while in college. Every now and then we dream of that special car making it back to us, but we know that is unlikely to ever happen. We do hear stories like Shaun C’s every once in a while that gives us a little hope that one of those special cars will find its way into our own lives. Shaun owned this 1969 Triumph TR6 when he was in college, but in 1986 he had to let it go. Read Shaun’s story right after the break.

1969 Triumph TR6

I sold my college car, a TR6, to my father’s neighbor in Virginia in 1986. He was going to do a frame off restoration, but with three kids and a new construction business he pushed the car in the barn in 1991. In 2013 I met up with the neighbor at my father’s service in Arlington, at which time he offered to return the car to me. I, of course, said yes.

Golden Retriever on TR6

The car is now mid-process of a complete frame off restoration. Why the picture of the dog sitting on the car back home in Reno? The last time I owned the car I had a Golden Retriever. The car is back and I have another Golden Retriever. Karma.

Loading the TR6 up

After reading Shaun’s story we regained a little hope that someday we will be reunited with even just one of our old cars. We aren’t even that nostalgic, it’s more that it would be amazing to have such an important piece of our history parked back in the garage. For the time being we will just have to be envious of Shaun and wish him the best. Has anyone else been reunited with an old car? If so, please share! And if you haven’t, are there any cars you’ve owned that you would love to have again?


  1. Tom Lindmark

    Dude….your dogma is SITTING on your karma…just sayin’

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  2. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    This story brought back some good memories for Josh and I. Thanks for sharing it Shaun! Some of the cars I wish I could have back include; a 1959 Mercury (my grandfather’s car that I was going to restore, but never did), a 1950 Chevy hotrod (the car I drove in high school, it had a V8 under the hood!), a 1970 Triumph Spitfire (my first valve job), a 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV (they just keep going up in value!), a 1987 RX-7 (one of the best handling cars I have ever driven), or even one of the multiple Miatas I have owned over the years (preferably the one Josh and I took to Vail). Pretty humble lineup there, but they all held memories that would be fun to relive. I would just like someone else to fix all the problems before returning them to me please!

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  3. John D

    I had a 1968 Plymouth GTX convertible, 440 4 speed that I bought while in college in 1976. I rebuilt the engine, had an interior, new top, and a paint job on it. I owned until last summer when circumstances required I sell it. I don’t think I got enough money for it in the transaction, but it was the best money available at the time. I am hoping against hope that I can buy it back in a few years. I also bought a TR3 with the intention of flipping it to make a quick buck but a knocking engine deep down said I had to replace a hammered bearing. I pulled the engine and pushed it under a tree, where the tarp blew off of it and it filled with leaves. I sold it for a loss but the guy who restored it sold it and I understand it is living a happy life in France as a vintage racer. Then there is a XKE drophead coupe I bought as a 1962, when I spun it out into a cornfield and twisted rear suspension pieces. The parts I was buying were not fitting and I parked it until I could afford to have some experienced do the work. My friend finally got me to sell it to him. He was more diligent on his research and discovered it was an early 61 worth much more than we both thought. I keep telling him I will give him his money back plus the money for the parts he bought. Beside the GTX, I wouldn’t mind having the XKE again.

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  4. Andrew

    I bought a 1984 Early SVO Mustang about 10 years ago from an impound auction. 6 years later I was offered a silly enough amount that I sold it. I remember telling my wife that I regretted selling it as soon as it left on the trailer. Fast forward 2 years and I get a phone call from the buyer. He needed money and had to sell it. I ended up getting the car back, with work done on it for less than I sold it for.

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  5. ChrisV

    Probably for most cars I’ve owned, at some later point I’ve thought, man, it sure would be nice to have [insert car here] still. A lot of factors go into whether a car will be missed, most of which, I think, have more to do with the times you had with the car or who you were when you had the car more than the objective quality or performance of the car itself.

    For me, the car I think most about is a 1991 BMW 318i my wife, our two little kids, and I picked up at the factory to use during a fellowship year in Germany. I really resisted buying the car because of the yuppie image, but it seemed the least expensive alternative at the time, and I have to say I was continually impressed at how perfectly it fit our needs. It was a well-made, well-balanced car that was practical, fun, and well suited to the many European adventures it took us on before returning home with us. Life’s exigencies caused us to sell it after about 2.5 years, but sometimes I still miss it and those times. That said, I have fun cars today as well and am glad for all the adventures since then.

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  6. Jim-Bob

    The odd thing is, I still have both my first and second cars! I still have my fifth car too. The sad thing is though that now, at 40, I am going to get rid of cars 1 and 2 because of both my finances and a need to move on . My first car is a 1979 AMC Spirit with an AMC 360 swap, and the second is a 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass with a 355 Chevy swap in it. Car number 5 is a 1998 Nissan Frontier that I have managed to run up 380k miles on and, oddly, of the three is the one I have the best memories in. I bought it new 3 months after I had bought a new Sentra that I traded in on it. The Sentra was a reaction to miserable car number 3, an Olds Calais Quad 4 that I had spent a lot of money on and never managed to get running properly. It was traded on the Sentra to get out of it. My best friend pointed out to me though that the truck is the car that is the most “me” and I have had to come to the conclusion that he’s right as it is the one I made the best memories in. I got the Spirit at 15, and while I have done a lot to it, there is a lot of pain associated with that car since it was what I drove during my painful and extremely depressing high school years. I was unable to adapt socially and wound up totally shut down because of it. I didn’t really learn much about people until I was able to trust again years later. Getting rid of it is part of finally moving on for me. I also came to the conclusion that I would rather play with something else. If I ever do manage to get rid of these cars, I will probably look for something that appeals to me now, like an original Mini or a Datsun PL 510.

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  7. erikj

    I had so many I wished to have kept. But most where sold to fund the next cool car. a few of the good ones : 1964 gto that was #3 one the assy. line. it was one of the rare ones that came with the 421 heads and tri-power. Only had 36k that was in1984. My highschool car 1971 duster340,1970 440cuda plumcrazy purple, a 1966 Shelby poss. was a factory racer. And there where somany others. The 1968 Camaro z-28.I GOT TO STOP.

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  8. paul

    I’ve had over 50 cars in my driving career , most were very cool & all are worth way more then I paid for them back in the day except obviously the more recent, as for re-owning them, I don’t know, I sold them, so I was done with them. But good luck to Shaun & the story of re- owning a car that you owned all those years ago is great, so good luck.

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  9. Connor

    A lot of the commenters cars seem to have been their first cars, however the one I miss the most is the one I had the most fun driving, a 1964 MK1 cortina.

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  10. MikeG

    Ouch! Is car being pushed onto the trailer with a backhoe?! A come along would probably cause a heck of a lot less damage!

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    • JeffG

      It looks like they tried to put a tire between the bumper and the tractor but it mostly slipped down. I agree, not the way I’d do it. Too risky.

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  11. Jimbosidecar

    There are many cars I would like to have back. My first car was a 1965 Austin Mini Cooper. Bought it out of a junkyard in Salem NH for $25.00.
    My second car (all bought before I turned 16) was a 1956 Austin Healey 100-4. I bought it for $300 from the owner of a golf course in Pelham, NH.
    The car I learned to drive on I would like to find, a 1969 BMW 1600.
    And finally I had a 1967 XK-E, and a 1967 427 Corvette. I with I could buy them back for what I sold them for (fat chance!) Oh, and that cool 1957 VW Bug as well…

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  12. Jim

    Awesome story !!! I too am looking for my old 1967 Shelby GT500 that I bought in 19881-82 and sold in 1983-84 while living at my parents in Downey, CA. It was a very special car to me and I too sold it to go to college. What a huge mistake !!! I’ve hired PI’s, dissected the Shelby registry with Dave Mathews and even have a 1969 Mach 1 428 CJ “Q” code project car on eBay for sale that I will give away for FREE if anyone can find and verify my old car. I don’t have the VIN, Reg, Lic plate#, previous owner or the guy I sold it to, I’m just hoping someone remembers buying a ’67 Shelby GT500 with a stroked 427 side oiler and McCreary Street slicks that would go flat every couple days. I really want that car back !!!

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  13. d k

    In may case, alas. Not a hope in hell.
    1970 I purchased a 1962 Aston Martin DB4 for $4K which I sold in 1980 for $13K.
    1970 I purchased a 1966 4.2 EType coupe for $4K which I sold in 1982 for $13K.
    I sold the DB4 to buy a DB5..
    1980 I purchased a 1965 Aston Martin DB5 for $10K which I traded in on a 1966 Aston Martin DB6 Series I Vantage in 1981 and got $12K trade in allowance for it.
    1981 I purchased a 1971 Aston Martin DB6 Vantage Series II for $26K.
    When I bought the DB6 Series II ( MK II ) I put both the DB6 Series I and the EType up for sale and the Etype sold first. for $13K.
    I sold both the DB6s in late 1982 ( they were both RHDs and both went back to the UK ). I sold the DB6s to buy a 1976 Aston Martin V8 Vantage.. which I still own. Thank god..Cos I couldn’t afford to buy it to-day. I couldn’t afford to buy any of the above cars I sold. Not even the Etype they have all appreciated so much in the last 25 odd years. almost certainly because of collectors. Which is a shame cos real car guys not only cherish and maintain these cars they drive them also. Albeit, in my case, not much anymore cos if it gets damaged I can’t afford to replace it.

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  14. mike

    good story,a few i wish i still had.but i still own my first car..1968 ford corina gt…bought new in sept.68..drive her every weekend weather permitting…

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  15. rancho bella

    Welp, if you are going to do a TR6………..it might as well be an early one.

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  16. Barzini

    Yes, there are a few cars I wish I could get back, including a loaded, orange 1969 Firebird 400. But I have more regrets about the ones I did not buy. Just before closing the deal on a 1966 GTO, the seller and I would not budge on a small detail so it fell through. That same $800 car in 1980 would take about $28K to buy today. I learned a lesson about compromising so something good came from it.

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  17. tom holeman

    i bought a 65 fairlane from my uncle in 81 for $250. drove it for four years then retired it and a year later found another same make and model but red with black interior paid 40 bucks for it wrecked it 2 years later sold both for a loss to a guy who pulled the motors and trannys for his 65 falcon. Found my original one while looking for another one to restore but the guy in the junkyard refused to sell it whole or as parts ( he later killed himself ) his family junked and scrapped all the cars in the yard so i can only dream of someday getting a 2 dr coupe to relive those days

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  18. Dolphin Member

    You’d know this kind of feature would get our juices going. Great story.

    A few cars I wish I still owned:
    1957 Desoto convertible (almost as long as a ’59 Caddy)
    1959 MGA (much shorter than a ’59 Caddy)
    1962 Austin Healey tri-carb
    1967 Ferrari 330 GTC
    1970 Datsun 240Z

    I can’t afford to buy back the Ferrari but I can afford, and bought, another ’70 240Z.

    The list of cars I never want to own again is far long to go into here. Best to move on anyway.

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  19. jim s

    great story, have fun restoring and driving it. there is a MG midget that i wish i still owned and would buy back. not sure another one like it would do. as for all the others i could buy something close and be happy, i think

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  20. Ben C

    My 1970 Tr6 was a restorarion of a car I owned when young. Wish it was my original car, but alas not to be. Great memories though ! Good to see another early 6 on the mend. Wish I could find my Renault R12tl. Red with black 1975. Miss that Frenchie terribly. Will have to take the TR out to soothe my soul….

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  21. SoCal Car Guy

    The one that meant the most, my first car and high school car, a hot rodded 1956 Ford Ranch Wagon (two doors) is sitting in the back corner of my garage. I don’t know why I kept it after blowing up the last in a string of modified (i.e. street racer) engines, but I’m sure as hell glad I did. There are several that i still have warm fuzzies for: a ’69 Barracuda fastback with340/four-speed/3.91:1 posi/power steering and power disc brakes, and factory A/C; ’60 TR3A, second owner, sold new on SoCa/ black with red inside (commission number TS60096L — if anyone recognizes the number please lemme know, I don’t want it back but would sure enjoying seeing it again. And then there’s the one I know I am going to seriously regret selling, probably within the next few months: a 1999 Pontiac Firebird Formula WS6 with the 1LE autocross/comp-prep package. 1999 was the last year GM offered the original 1LE package and only 20 Firebirds had it (only 235 or 236 1LE ‘Birds were built between 1988 and 1999. It drives and handles like a race car, rides like a go-kart and is one of only two cars I’ve ever owned that “talked to me” all the time when driving (the other was an ’81 BMW Alpina C1 that I gave to my son for his high school graduation present, and he still owns it). The 1LE is going to be sold to fund resurrecting my ’56 Ford wagon, which means more to me than any of the 70-plus other cars I’ve owned — and it’ll once again be a hot rod, just done better and smarter (and a whole lot faster!) than many years ago.

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  22. Michael R

    Sure do! A 1929 Model A Ford Fordor Sedan that I bought in 1993. In 2005, I had to sell it to help pay some bills. I regretted having to sell it, but needed the money. Now, I wish like everything to be able to get it back or get another one. LOVE those cars!
    By the way, I am open to barn finds etc. Not much into the pristine ones.
    Thank you!
    Michael R.

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  23. Don Andreina

    Owned some nice cars, would have most of them again. The one I regret selling the most is the 1966 Jaguar 420G with manual & o/d. What a fun, gorgeous beast…

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  24. C Bryant

    I could start off here and go to the wee hours of the morning.I’ve been driving my wheeled “weapons of choice” for 54 years now and have had great fun over the years.Cars have been good to me.
    I think the one that might have been the one I would have enjoyed the most was a 59′ Bocar.Thirty some years ago I had just been to the drag races in Kearney ,Nebraska, was riding around town afterwards looking for something automotively interesting and saw a Model A 2dr sedan sitting in a yard.It was time to stop and check it out.The closer I got I could see that it was lacking a fair amount.I went up to the door to ask the owner what he was asking for it and said I’d think about it.He said he needed the money and if not that,he had another car in the garage I might be interested in.He peeled back the door and there sat what I thought was a Buick Apollo,a kit type car from the 60s but on closer inspection,found out it was a Bocar.I asked what it was worth,he told me $200 bucks and I didn’t hesitate closing the deal.Kept it a couple years and when I offered it in Hemmings,I had over 100 offers by phone and mail.What I sold that for,I paid off my house .Sold it to a guy that had one in the early 60s but when he went into the army his dad made him get rid of it as it sat crossways in the front of their garage and they couldn’t get by when they had both cars pulled in.I’ve seen different reports on numbers and I’ve always taken the correct number at 39 built before the factory burned down in Denver. There’s one really nice one for sale in England,have talked to the owner and he wants 240,000 bucks for it.It is really nice and thats about what they are worth.They were cover cars on Motor Trend,Sports Car Illustrated and a couple other mags at the time plus they did a feature on them in Automobile Quarterly.Honest 160 mph car in 1960 on 6/70-15 street tires.That took guts.They had even put one wheel on wrong and the knockoff came off at speed and the car was so well balanced that they got it slowed down to 60 or so before the car settled on it’s wheel drum
    I’ve been blessed over the years with over 500 collectible cars(not all at the same time!) and there’s a hell of a lot of interesting stories with about half of them.I’ve been truly lucky to own a 68 L-88 corvette,a 53 Corvette(#160) a real nice 54 Pennant Blue Corvette,a 65 Shelby,etc.Paid a lot of child support with what I made off those cars,and I mean alot.People ask if I ever regret getting rid of them and I used to tell people that God made more then one of them.No regrets whatsoever.

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  25. Scott Allison

    Nice story!
    I miss my 77 El Camino Classic – Black, with red/white interior. It had the swivel bucket seats, console, and all the power options.
    I also miss my 71 GTO and 88 Chevy Cavalier Z24 convertible.
    Now I have my 75 Stingray, and 07 Xterra. The Stingray has been taking awards at the local car shows, so I am having a lot of fun with it.

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  26. Chris A.

    If I could find it, I’d buy back my1959 Mercedes Benz 220S ponton with tan interior. It was our honeymoon car 45 years ago and I’d buy it back in any shape it is in. Unusual color, Brazilian Nut brown. It has another unusual option, namely double heater boxes on both sides. I removed the American market white steering wheel and knobs, substituting the Euro market dark brown wheel and knobs. Once I cleaned up the cooling system and replaced a rusted and leaking engine side plate it was dead reliable. Beautififul car that I sold to my Dad and bought a 1968 Chevy Nova 6 two speed auto and paid for law school. Dad never told me who he sold it to as he knew I’d buy it back. But I still have the owner manual and parts books along with a shop manual. Great car, great memories.

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  27. Mike C

    My favourite car was a ’63 Ford Cortina 1500 GT mk1. Had to sell it – getting married – no takers in ’68 – & a local scrapyard was advertising to buy them – so I sold it for £240 ( I was only asking £280 in the local papers. Scrap guy told me if he didn’t sell it as is to rally car enthusiasts within a week he would break it and sell ti for parts. A week later, i saw the bonnet (hood to you guys) on another Cortina. Scrap guy must have broken it up for spares.

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  28. John

    Of course you realize that you are now LEGALLY OBLIGATED to provide us with pictures from the resto and of course final pictures upon completion. We also reserve the rights to the first litter of puppies.

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  29. Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

    This is almost eerie…

    I’ve been a Triumph fan from the time I was 14. I’m now 50, and am blessed enough to have a wife that puts up with me having several of them, including a nice ’73 TR6 in memory of the ’72 I had in high school and college.

    One of my hobbies is looking for Triumphs on Craigslist. Yes, sometimes that hobby has turned into car acquisition, but not lately; I thought I was done with that.

    About two months ago, I was looking through the NC ads on my phone and saw a sad looking pimento red TR6…and then I looked closer.

    Back when I was 17…I couldn’t afford a good upholstery kit for the 6, which had truly shredded seats. But I COULD afford a set of RX7 buckets from the local junkyard ($35 if I remember correctly). And this car had them…and then I looked closer at the pictures…and it had the hose tap that I put in place of the heater valve when I couldn’t afford one of those, either. It was MY CAR!

    After yelling loud enough to wake the entire family, my ever-loving, kind wife gave me permission to pursue it. To make a long story short…an acquaintance that I hadn’t seen in over 20 years had the car-he bought it from the person I sold it to about a year ago upon that man’s death. When Rick recognized who I was after I explained that it was my old car (no point in trying to conceal that point, I’m a pretty honest guy) he immediately said “we have to get this car back to you,” lowered his price without me asking and I picked up the car that weekend.

    As a side note…my wife is getting my ’73 TR6 so that I can start on the ’72. There’s a picture of my wife sitting on the trailer with the ’72 on our way home at this link: https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/v/t1.0-9/p526x296/1981929_10203318385423002_936880858_n.jpg?oh=87ac116109a3d294fd474091d0fb1e23&oe=53F448F9&__gda__=1407697610_21658bc9e98cd5650de230a46df8289f.

    Thanks for letting me share the happy thoughts! Good luck with the ’69!!!

    Like 1
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Wow, that is an awesome story Jamie! That would be very exciting to stumble across your old car on cl. Please take plenty of photos and keep us updated on your progress. I’m sure everyone would love to read about it. Thanks for sharing!

      Like 0
      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        You’ve got it :-) Love the site, BTW! Keep up the great work!

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    • Jim

      You are one lucky man !! I would recommend buying a lotto ticket in the near future.

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  30. Sprocket

    My 1970 k-5 blazer with 350 4spd and factory posi
    Was a needed a full resto but man that thing was quick for a 4wd

    I’m lucky as I have my Dads Austin Healey and my mom in laws 68 Cougar both one owner cars. Both unrestored although the cougar hasn’t run in 19 years

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  31. Norm

    I have a 1971 TR6 I got out of a garage in Washington.
    Live in Reno too. Would like to get in touch.


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  32. Al

    I still dream about reacquiring my 66 Alfa Guiletta Sprint GT and 71 Alfa 1750 GTV. Traded in the 66 to a Alfa dealer in Vestal, NY for the 71. The 66 was dark blue with tan interior while the 71 was Ocre gold with black interior and I traded that to a Chevy dealer in Utica, NY on a 76 Camaro. I saw the gold one about a year later – repainted black! UGH! Anybody out there have any info on either or both?

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  33. Zeke Hanscom

    Skeptical about the 1969 part, luggage rack unknown not an early aamco, flag decals were not a thing until 73 to 76. Not sure about the VIN, but at least the scuttle cover and windscreen frame are the same color as the body. Can’t see the steering wheel or dash.

    Like 0

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