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Six-Cylinder Sports Car: 1972 Triumph GT6

If you have had a yen for a Triumph GT6, you may want to take advantage of recently weaker sales results on these pretty coupes to take the plunge. After achieving prices in the mid $30k area in late 2021 – even $40k at times – all model years are fading a bit. Here on eBay is a 1972 Triumph GT6 Mk III, bid to $9105, reserve not met. This car runs and drives well, so you could brave an excursion home from New Port Richey, Florida if you win the bidding. The GT6 was Triumph’s way of expanding its market share: what better way to achieve higher sales than to turn the popular Spitfire into a coupe? Giovanni Michelotti was tasked with this design challenge in about 1963. The resulting fastback was stunning but intolerably slow when equipped with the Spitfire’s four-cylinder. Fortunately, the Vitesse was already scampering about courtesy of a perfectly good six-cylinder, furnishing a solution. Triumph enlarged the Vitesse’s six-cylinder, added a hood bulge to accommodate the higher profile, and created the elegant but tough GT6.

The engine is a 1996 cc in-line six-cylinder good for a top speed of about 112 mph and a zero to sixty time of just over ten seconds. All GT6s had the same engine, but by the time the Mk III was produced, improvements to aerodynamics and the motor itself had slightly boosted performance. The transmission is a four-speed manual. Handling was Triumph’s albatross, thanks to the company’s predilection for using swing-axle rear suspension in the early 1960s. By the time the Mk III was produced, the suspension was fixed, but the damage had been done. The car’s primary competitor was the MGB, which although slower, vastly outsold the GT6. This car’s engine and carburetors have been rebuilt, along with its suspension, brakes, and fuel system. The exhaust system is also brand new. I’m intensely fond of British cars, with all their fiddly bits, so I can’t resist photos like this close-up of the engine. Beautiful!

The interior photo doesn’t provide much to criticize or praise. Velcro patches have been applied to the top of the dash (holding a radar detector?), the instrument panel has two shades goin’ on, and there’s an after-market gauge where there once was a vent. No photos of the seats are provided but the seller mentions that the carpets, door panels, seals, and windscreen are new.

The car has been painted to a better-than-driver standard. Panel fit is good and might improve more over time as the seals relax. Bonus points for the full repaint of the engine bay and the underside of the bonnet. The area around the master and clutch cylinders is pristine – and it will stay that way for about five minutes unless the new owner is very diligent. As seen in the first photo, the car is missing its bumper covers. No doubt the new owner will find another thing or two to fix, but this car is underbid, given its condition. Not even a project GT6 sells this cheaply. Hopefully, she finds a new home before I feel compelled to bid!

Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Always been a fan of the GT6. Nice car here.

    Like 7
  2. Nevada1/2rack Nevadahalfrack Member

    In HS we had a science teacher that got his new teaching contract so traded in a frumpy, staid, easily forgettable something for a new BRG GT6. Parking my ‘61 Midget next to it made it look all the better!😆 Good looking car and sounded great going down the street.

    Like 6
  3. Gregory Moore

    If I’m not mistaken, “By the time the Mk III was produced,” Triumph reverted to the old swing axle rear suspension to save money. The car you want is the MKII, or GT6+ as it was known here.

    Like 4
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      Not quite. The Mk III has what’s called a ‘swing spring’; the early cars had a swing axle, fixed spring arrangement. The swing spring was supposed to alleviate the early handling issues.

      Like 1
      • Dave Gutknecht

        MkIII is a Swing Spring with longer axles (+1″ on either side), this reduces the occurrences of the wheel tuck.
        MkII uses Rotoflex rear suspension. Replacing Rotoflex donuts with quality parts is the current challenge. Many are upgrading to CV Joints. But this is the best suspension setup to make improvements to.
        MkI was fixed spring with shorter axles. These can be modified with longer axles from the MkIII.

        Like 2
  4. Steve Fiegel

    I had one of these in 1980, my bride and I drove it to Las Vegas from Grand Junction, Colo in January. At anything over 80mph it’s windows would flare out and freeze you. My wife had to bundle up in a blanket, still loved that car though.

    Like 2
  5. Andrew S Mace Member

    It was ONLY the last (1973 model year) of the MkIII that featured the “swing-spring” and longer axles. The 1972 models continued with the “Roto-flex” suspension introduced on the 1969 Mk.II/+ models. A simple camber compensator can go a long way towards “taming” the early fixed spring rear suspension of the original GT6.

    The eBay listing doesn’t specify whether the engine rebuild was to stock for 1972 specs or if parts were used to bring it back to earlier specs. I had a 1970 with the stock 95 hp engine as well as an equally stock 1972 with the “Emissions” 79 hp engine. The 1972 worked noticeably harder to do what the 1970 did with ease!

    Like 0
  6. Nick Tusa

    I had a ’73 GT6 which was a fun driver and very reliable. It’s problem though was cockpit heat. Living in South Louisiana, one would need a continuous IV to keep from dehydrating while driving in Summer’s heat. If only they made a 6 cylinder Spit but with the GT6 MkIIs rear suspension…

    Like 3
    • ROARRR Member

      ALMOST Simple: swop the spit body on a GT-6, Had one, now, GT’s are worth much more thqn Spits, A spit engine’s fastback was raced back then to fit the GT 1.5L class I recall,

      Like 1
  7. Garry Ford

    I bought a new 1963 triple black Spitfire. In the deal I had Koni shocks installed
    I added a camber compensator and had the rear spring reworked to allow for negative camber on both rear wheels.
    It made a great autocross car with those mods.

    While in HS I worked part time in a body shop for, mainly, foreign cars.
    A 69 GT 6 came in that had been rolled. I bought it and then bought a 67 GT6 body from a guy who was building a Spit 6. I put that body on the 69.
    While planning a trip from Pa to FL (in mid summer) I decided I needed AC. Much to my delight I called a Triumph dealer in Alexandria VA and was advised that Triumph had a complete AC unit, with Triumph part number, to fit the GT 6. And he had one in stock. I still have that car to this day.
    Has anyone else ever seen one ?

    Like 6
  8. Darwin Tansey

    Radar detector hahaha. Because that car is so quick.

    Like 0
  9. Greg in Texas

    Reserve not met. Only just under $12k was top bid. eBay getting weak buyers a while now. That’s easily a $20k car. Everything accessible and simple, easy updates to ignition and fuel system. Desirable Straight 6. Good luck finding a better driving project that’s a driver already. Maybe the Royal Monarchy unpopularity dinging British car values? Doesn’t make sense. 5 project cars and other machines, no room. Maybe lots of us have same hurdle. Hope next listing they do some advance publicity.

    Like 0

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