1970 Triumph GT6+ Project

While a Triumph Spitfire is not exactly an everyday sighting anymore, the GT6 hatchback version is that much more infrequently encountered. But an encountering has in fact occurred with this 1970 example which is located in Phoenix, Arizona. Definitely a project at this point but it may make for a nice restoration project. This Triumph is available here on craigslist for $4,300. Thanks to Ikey H. for this tip.

The GT6, based on the Triumph Spitfire, was in production between 1966 and 1973, and about 41K copies were constructed at the Coventry England assembly plant over its eight-year run. This example is actually a GT6+, a designation introduced in 1969 which features a revised rear suspension and a raised front bumper (height alignment) among other changes.

Let’s start this time with the interior, the seller has little to say about it and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a mess with a perforated floor that the seller claims will be easy to replace. The seats, dash, instrument panel, missing door cards, the whole enchilada needs a major rework.

The body, which the seller states as having originally been finished in British Racing Green is now a British Racing Blue and it’s a bit grody. The finish is flat and burned through in places, it’s really not too presentable but it’s usable for the time being. While this GT6 is missing its front bumper and rear left taillight, the rest of the exterior is pretty straight and complete. The seller mentions that the hatch lid fits and opens well – alluding to the overall straight alignment of the body.

Under the bonnet is a 2.0 liter, in-line six-cylinder engine, good for 104 HP. Driving through a four-speed gearbox, this Triumph’s operating prowess is described as,  “ENGINE RUNS GOOD AND GEAR ENGAGES FORE AND AFT”. The fore and aft reference probably relates to the transmission and its shifting ability through the forward gears and reverse; it works as it’s supposed to. With a curb weight of about 1,900 lbs. this GT6 should be a stout performer.

Styling is always subjective and a two-seat roadster converted to a coupe can be a challenge for even the most gifted automotive stylist. The quarter window and C pillar on this GT6 may seem awkward at first blush, but in profile, it actually works quite well. Of course, 1970 was quite a bit before rollover standards, et al took over and added additional complexity to the designer’s task at hand. I’d say Triumph prevailed! I honestly have not seen a GT6 in years and it’s nice to see one that is salvageable. The seller does caution that this GT6 ” WILL NEED TOTAL RESTORATION BEFORE IT BECOMES A DRIVER” so the next owner will have their work cut out for them but this example seems like a good foundation for just such a project, would you agree?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    When I had my ’71 MGB, a guy named Mark that worked at the foundry I did, had this exact car. We used to chase each other on back roads, had a blast. In a drag race, the cars were dead even, handling, the Triumph did a bit better, but with the 6, it was prone to oversteer. I’ve driven many roadsters and never cared for the Spitfire, but the hardtop and 6 more than make up for any dislikes. I’d have to say, the GT6+ was my favorite Triumph. This particular GT6, is what we’d call an ambitious restoration. going to need everything, and Moss will add a new level to their mansion, thanks to you, but a nicer, affordable British sports car, I doubt you’ll find. Great find.

    Like 9
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    I’m with Howard. Don’t find many of the earlier bodied cars with the suspension change in good condition. I like it.

    Like 6
  3. bobk

    Also with Howard, I love the GT6. This one, not so much.

    Like 3
  4. JMB#7

    I never bought one, but between 1983 and 1986, I checked out almost every one I could find in the “Trading Post”. (in 1985 I did buy a TR4A). Most of what I looked at back then were not in much better shape than this one. At the time, I really liked the GT6+ body styling the best. The one that I should have bought was a GT6 Mk3, from Durham NC. The man selling it told me that his daughter’s boyfriend/fiancee (an Army mechanic) rebuilt the engine & drive-line (full documentation on all engine tolerances). She drove it home, and the father said she had no business driving a small sports car. She was sent back to college with a larger American car. Already in primer, the car needed base coat paint. As I recall, he was asking about $1900. Unfortunately that was about $400 more than I was prepared to spend at that time.

    Like 4
  5. PairsNPaint

    Bought one new (my first new car). In three years I replaced two transmissions, three clutches, two alternators and countless fuses and switches. Installed Bob Tullius’s Group 44 springs and sway bars, a manifold from a TR6 with leaky 1-3/4″ SU’s in place of the smog Stromberg’s (had to cut a hole in the hood – grafted on a hood bulge from a TR4). 5-1/2 x 13 Ansen slotted mags with B60x13 tires. Autocrossed the heck out of it. Left me stranded more than it ran. More fun than any car I ever owned!

    Like 5
  6. Guggie 13

    It was 1968 on a dark rainy night I was pulling on to rt 95 north coming out of Philly heading back to my ship on Station Island NY , I pulled upon a red GT6 with my Ford Cortina GT, I looked at the driver of the GT6 , he nodded and we both down shiffed , thats the last I ever saw of him , always had crush on a GT6 ever since Too bad its so far away , now I have the time and the $ for such a project !!

    Like 4
  7. Russell

    And do not forget to check the oil level in those carbs … I loved my TR6

    Like 1
  8. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    My sister had a ’66 Spitfire convertible in red. Always thought that’s why I bought ’72 MG Midget

  9. Kiwi Glen

    I keep my British cars in the garage under car covers. This is not to prevent dust but in the event the garage door is open and it happens to be raining outside they can’t see, hear, or smell the rain. As soon as a British car becomes aware of any moisture it will rust. Original gearboxes are hard to find, I’m nursing mine as 2nd and 4th are pretty worn

    Like 2
  10. Gator Member

    I bought a 69 GT6+ when I got home from my first Vietnam tour. The stock Strombergs were a PITA and the standard British electrical system was a rats nest. Once I rewired it and learned that the carbs had to be tuned pretty much daily, that car was the most fun of any vehicle I’ve ever owned. Even knowing the massive time and money it would require to restore this 1970, I would love to jump on this one!

    Like 1
  11. chrlsful

    so fine when new, a beaut.
    Needs 6 Kiehins:
    https://drivetribe.com/p/mikunis-on-a-midget-an-ambition-f_KOL9qCS7W-n-ORiJ05qg?iid=Ua7JDN_8RyWUvyV9hu8Y2A
    there’s a Lynx adapter for it still made I believe (either in GB or by aussiespeed in OZ). ‘S got frnt discs already, may B a 5 speed? not sure of anything to add, but yes, Moss is gunna make a bit on this one~

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