Bargain Brit: 1974 Triumph TR6

By the time production ended, the Triumph TR6 was the most successful vehicle of the “TR” series, with 94,619 cars rolling off the production line. Today it is a real battle to find a reasonable example for sale for under $20,000, but if you have been searching, then it is possible that you might have hit the jackpot. This 1974 model is a tidy looking car that would seem to need little work to return it to a high standard of presentation. It is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $9,500, but the reserve hasn’t been met. The owner has set a BIN of $12,500, which seems to be a very competitive figure.

Finished in Emerald Green, this Triumph is a very promising looking proposition for any person interested in owning a classic British sports car. As you can see from this photo, the floors and frame look incredibly clean and solid. Externally, the panels also appear to be rust-free, and while the owner states that it could do with a paint job, it actually looks relatively presentable as it currently stands. The Beige soft-top looks to be in really nice order, with the rear window being free of any clouding issues. Continuing the positive theme, the distinctive deep-dished factory wheels appear to be free of stains, while the trim rings are free from any nasty scrapes. The external trim and chrome also has a nice shine to it, but I’m sure that I won’t be alone when I say that if I bought the car, then those enormous bumper over-riders would probably finish up getting “accidentally” lost.

The interior of the Triumph seems to present just as well as the exterior. The only deviation the I can spot from original is the fact that the vehicle has been fitted with a CD player. Otherwise, it all seems to be as it would have rolled out of the factory back in 1974. The cream upholstery on the seats and door trims looks to be in remarkable condition, as this can be prone to developing a “dirty” look over time. That would tend to suggest that the car has been well cared for throughout its life. The carpet looks to also be in nice condition, but for me, the condition of the dash is a real highlight. When new, the walnut veneer imparts a true look of class to the interior of a TR6, but it is extremely common for these to suffer major deterioration as time passes. This can manifest itself in a couple of different ways. Sometimes, the finish on the veneer will crack and peel, while sometimes the veneer itself will start to delaminate and separate from the dash. Sometimes an owner will cop the double whammy, with both problems occurring at once. In this case, the dash has suffered neither of those problems, and it appears to be in very nice condition.

Filling the engine bay of this little British classic is a 2,498cc 6-cylinder engine, which, for the US market, breathes through a pair of Zenith-Stromberg carburetors. By 1974, tightening emissions regulations saw this engine producing 101hp, while back in the UK, the same engine was pumping out something closer to 150hp. Anyway, the power from that six is fed through a 4-speed manual transmission to the rear wheels. As a bonus, this TR6 is fitted with the extremely desirable electric overdrive. With independent suspension on all four corners of the vehicle and a confidence-inspiring set of front disc brakes, the TR6 certainly compensated for any power shortfall by providing great handling when the roads became twisting. This handling is further improved by the fact that the TR6 has been fitted with the optional rear sway bar. As far as this Triumph is concerned, there seems to be a lot of good news. The carburetors have recently been completely dismantled and received a full rebuild. In addition, the brakes have recently been renewed, both the master and slave cylinder for the clutch have been replaced, and the exhaust has also been renewed. The owner states that the car runs and drives very nicely and that the overdrive unit works exactly as it should. What he also says is that the car does have a minor oil leak that does little more than deposit a couple of drops of oil on the ground when the vehicle remains parked for an extended period. As he rightly points out, this is commonly where oil can “weep” from around the drain plug in the oil pan. However, as most of us who have had any real involvement with classic British cars will attest, this is a pretty common occurrence, and shouldn’t be a real problem unless the amount dropped begins to increase noticeably.

The owner states that this 1974 Triumph TR6 is not a $25,000 car and that he has set both the reserve and BIN at realistic figures. The more I look at this car in the photos, the more I would like to get a look at it in person. I am aware that photos can sometimes flatter to deceive, but if this particular TR6 is as good as the photos would seem to suggest, then I think that it could represent a fantastic buy at the BIN price. I suspect that this one will be finding its way to a new home fairly quickly.

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Comments

  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    BRG, clean but not concours ready, a perfectly enjoyable fair weather driver, again with an extremely sensible price!! It should sell quickly even now in the winter at this BIN price.

    Little_Cars, is this the electric overdrive with the switch on top of the knob for the spindly/hollow “gear selector” like the ‘74 Spitfire? (I broke the handle several times).

    Like 4
    • Howard A Member

      Still I say, my idea of a good price differs greatly from most. I don’t see the O/D switch on the shift knob, I thought that’s where they all were. I hate to be the eternal buzzkill, I thought of a Triumph, but after driving one, that quickly changed. I think they are the poorest British built cars.

      Like 3
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        Good eye, Howard A.-the Triumph crest is the only thing on top of the shifter.
        How is this an OD then?

        Like 1
    • Rx-7 TurboII

      The overdrive switch on the 6 is always on the left side of the column behind the turn switch….nice car but after 20 years of lbc’s, I cant own another without bad memories. Lol

      Like 5
  2. Kent Jeffries

    Overdrive switch on these is located on the column. It was be an additional lever placed behind the turn indicator

    Like 3
  3. Tom c

    As I enter my fifties I feel these older European sports cars calling my name. I can see myself in the summer cruising around the Michigan countryside with the top down , the wind blowing through what’s left of my hair.

    Like 7
    • On and On On and On Member

      Make sure you have a garage and tools handy to keep this going. They are not known for dependability and longevity. Buy a Volvo, they are. If you really want a rag top buy a old VW bug or Karmann Ghia. If you want to get an easy to work on cheap to buy and operate American car with European flair buy a late model Corvair convertible. I did and really glad I did after living with it for awhile. Really.

      Like 4
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      When you get one, give me a call and pick me up. I’ll be your riding mechanic.

      Like 1
      • John Oliveri

        Ha

        Like 1
  4. ClassicCarFan

    Yes, the OD was activated by a column switch ( an extra toggle lever ) on the earlier cars. It did change to being fitted in the top of the gear knob, like the Spitfire, later.

    Note, although you commonly see it described as an “electric” overdrive the Laycock OD on these cars is a hydraulically activated. The only electric part is the control system for the solenoid to open the hydraulic valve.

    The OD shares oil reservoir with the manual transmission and has a high pressure pump powering hydraulic pistons to engage/disengage an epicyclic gear set. It is in effect like a partial mechanism from an auto transmission.

    Like 6
    • Rx-7 TurboII

      No tr6 had the overdrive switch on the shifter knob, that was spit and stag only. I have spoken…lol

      Like 8
      • Howard A Member

        I think you are right, MGB went to the shift knob too, but can’t find a TR6 one, thx.

      • Tim

        Yep. It was the earlier TR2-4 that had the shift knob option. However, some people did fit that option later to TR6’s, as it was more discreet than the extra column stalk, and somewhat easier to use as you need to disengage the overdrive before changing gear.

        Like 2
      • Britcarguy

        Tim – TR2 and TR3 had a dash mounted OD switch. Early cars had a push-pull switch to the left of the heater switch. Later cars had the ugly, but easier to activate toggle switch in the same location. Column-mounted overdrive switches started with the TR4.

        Like 1
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      That explains why mine failed as it did, then-you can’t shift it quickly or it’ll quit!
      The 1956 Ford F35 short school bus I drove as a senior in high school had a 2 speed rear end that I was told by another driver made it an overdrive-obviously a confusing discrepancy..and remained so until the ‘74 Spitfire w/OD purchase. My mentor (a former B36 Peacekeeper crew chief) had his own commercial garage and educated me as best he could-a difficult task indeed, looking back now.

      Like 2
      • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

        B36 PeaceMAKER-geez I hate autocorrect sometimes

        Like 2
  5. ClassicCarFan

    This car does have the OD as stated. You can clearly see the bottom of the OD unit in the underbody photo. That ribbed rectangular part on the bottom is the filter cover.

    The OD is definitely a real bonus to have as an option if you really intend to drive it much on open roads.

    Like 3
    • Howard A Member

      Badge under right tail light says “Overdrive” as well.

      Like 1
      • Dave

        My first TR6 had that badge and was not an O/D car. That badge is cheap and easy to install. I added O/D to my second TR6 and have yet to add the badge….Hmmm…

        Like 1
    • Dave

      O/D drops RPM by 500 to 700. Mine does 70mph at 2800revs vs. 3400. Much more comfortable, especially with the top up. The TR6 O/D shifts on the column to the left side behind the turn signal. If I had one complaint, it’s that I’d have made the turn signal handle the longer one vs. the O/D.

      Like 1
  6. ccrvtt

    From what I can see it’s a beautiful car, but if you really want to sell it CLOSE THE HOOD and take it outside for some decent portraiture.

    Like 1
    • Chris Munn

      Down here in NZ, we had the British spec Lucas injection as standard which was problematic for many. Someone fitted a small block Chev in period and was apparently a successful mod.

      Like 1
      • Tim

        I have a nice solid California car that needs a repaint that has the SBC in it. Not currently running, and wondering whether to retrofit a 2.5-6 back into it. The SBC crate motor was rated at 180HP, so not sure……

        Like 1
  7. Forklift man

    I have owned aTR3 and bought a brand new TR6 in 1975 Hardtop air conditioning everything TR6 was the worst car I ever owned drove to Daytona Beech didnt think I was going to make it home immediately sold upon arrival but on a lighter note I am currently looking for a good Tr3 that wont break the bank better car and easy to fix!!

    Like 1
  8. SMS

    My mother has a number of sports cars when I was a kid. She had a 74 TR6 and used to let me drive it after I washed it. Got me interested it TR’s. Had 6’s, a 250, and a number of 3’s.

    They do take more servicing than most cars. Some of that is due to the nature of sports cars having stiffer suspensions rattling stuff to death. Had a Miata, which is a great choice for a reliable sports car if that is what you are looking for.

    My favorite was the TR3 and the TR6 was a close second. Just like having owned a number of motorcycles and my favorite being a ‘56 Matchless. It is all about the look, feel, sound, and experience.

    This TR looks like a great car to have and enjoy for a reasonable price.

    Like 5
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Good choice on bike preference , SMS!

      Like 1
  9. Skippy

    In my early collector days, I went through a lot of Triumphs and early MGs. They are incredibly easy to work on, which is good because they always seemed to need something. They are a bit…primitive, though, compared to, say, early Alfa spiders or 80’s BMW convertibles that have not peaked yet. Today, I would recommend buying a nicely restored one because the well established British parts vendors have inflated parts prices beyond reason. (the European vendors are still pretty reasonable, though). This looks like a good candidate at a middle-of-the-road price.

    Like 2
  10. John Oliveri

    I love these, and I’ve never owned one, friend of mine had one in the mid 70s, I think his was a 72, quick lil mother, lot of great rides in it, he spun it out on a turn in Manhattan, went thru a low wall, bank window, cops didn’t believe he was calling from inside of a bank, with the alarm going off, cell phones were quite a few years off

    Like 5
  11. Dave at OldSchool Restorations Dave at OldSchool Restorations Member

    @Adam Clarke ..@BaT

    Very good write-up Adam.

    Like 1
  12. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended:Dec 15, 2019 , 10:12AM
    Current bid:US $9,800.00
    Reserve not met
    [ 4 bids ]
    Price:US $12,500.00

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