Dust Does Not Make It Real: 1976 Triumph TR6

dusty-1976-triumph-tr6

People like to see the tomb. But once the dusty sarcophagus has been removed, the whole scene loses some of the adventure. The same goes with barn finds. We love to see photos of them as found, but when it’s time to sell, it’s also time to clean them up a bit. As a buyer you want to know what you are getting. That’s why you don’t go car shopping in the rain or at night. Still this 1976 Triumph TR6 does make a good case for buying a car before the dust has been removed. Find it here on eBay for $8,900 or best offer.

1976-triumph-tr6-interior

The seller’s asking price does seem high, but that all depends on what you are really getting. This TR6 was supposedly parked in a warehouse back in 2000 with only 67k miles on the odometer. That’s great, but what about before that? Has the car been restored at some point? What does the seller mean by 95% original? The fact that it has been parked for 14 years is interesting, but we would need more proof of originality than that to pay the “barn find” premium that the seller is asking here.

tr6-hardtop

Don’t get me wrong, this does appear to be a great car. It is complete and includes all the tops. We are also guessing that after draining the tank and cleaning up the fuel system, you may have a running and driving car. We would want a little more history from the seller before sending in an offer though. Oh, and some photos of it without the dust. They say it is killing them to not wash it up, so we are officially giving them permission to do so now!

fender-stripe

We don’t mean to nitpick, but there are a few little issues we can see that have us concerned. Could these problems be the 5% that is not original? Take this fender shot for example. It looks good with no obvious signs of rust. The Redline tires are a nice touch too, but what about that black strip that goes from the middle of the headlight down to the fender? We could be wrong, but we have never seen anything like this applied by the factory. It could have just been a previous owner’s way to make it their own… or could it be hiding something?

info-plate

One way to check if a car has been repainted at some point in its past is to look at any of the metal plates that are riveted to the body. They are normally inside one of the doors and under the hood. Since the seller hasn’t provided any photos of the engine, we will have to examine this one located in the doorjamb. We can’t see any tape lines on it that would indicate a respray so this could be the original orange paint! But then again, it wouldn’t be too hard to drill those rivets out and then replace them after the job has been done.

stapled-door

Finally, we found one more little problem. Can you see them? There are staples along the bottom of this door panel. We would normally overlook such a small botch job, but when combined with the stripe, it makes us nervous. We are not trying to sound negative by discussing all these little niggles, but we do hope that it can serve as a reminder for you the next time you are car shopping. We can all get caught up in the excitement of a “barn find”, but we have to remember to stay cool and inspect everything before laying out our hard earned cash. Sometimes cars are not what they first appear to be and it is best to know what you are getting into.

Now, I just need to learn to follow my own advice…

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Comments

  1. paul

    The sellers notes don’t make any sense it’s been sitting in his wharehouse for 14 years but he wants to leave it the way he found it with all the dust? He thinks it has no rust, so he’s had the thing for 14 years & he doesn’t know the answer to that? I really want to wash it but I want people to see the way I found it? I am glad it ran well when parked with all those tools in that large black tool box did he try to start it?

    • Don Andreina

      That’s not 14 years of dust. Closer to 4.

  2. Brian

    At nearly 9 grand, I’m out – as in I’m done looking and walking back to my car – out.

    Oh no, for $8,900 you’ve bought you admission ticket to “nitpick land”, maybe ever a season pass! Please enjoy your day and thank you for coming!

    Seriously though, this is a nice car, but it’s been sitting along time and, frankly, you could do better for the money. I wonder if the seller is stuck on this price or is he just an optimist looking for a starting place. After all, we all have our dreams!

  3. jim s

    why all those photos but yet none of the engine area or underside. the sellers location is in a area where they use road salt, i think. this is going to need a PI by someone who knows a lot about TR6s.

  4. jim s

    as a side note… i just today looked at photos and video of a very nice looking maita and got all worked up until. 3/4 of the way thru the video i saw a rust hole in 1 of the 2 rails that run on the botom of the untibody. that maita is going to be a ill handling nightmare at best. and i do not know how much more rust there is. way to easy to make a mistake and way too many people who will take you for your money and move on

  5. Jim-Bob

    Hey! It ran when parked….what could possibly go wrong? In all seriousness, I think barn finds are neat, but in no way are they worth a premium over a similar car that has been in constant use. You have to wonder why it was parked. Was the Prince of Darkness possessing the very soul of this Triumph, making the use of anything electrical near impossible? Did the engine lose oil pressure? Also, even if everything was perfect when it was parked, it isn’t perfect now. I just put my truck back on the road after a one year hiatus. It had been started and warmed up 2x a week for the whole time but yet I still wound up spending north of $400 to make it roadworthy again. I had to replace the rotors, pads, shoes, a wheel cylinder, the trans mount, one engine mount, 4 tires (used) and the battery (also used). Notice how most of the parts are rubber? For this car you would likely also need all the brake hydraulics, a front end rebuild kit, a water pump, all the cooling hoses, fuel lines, clean out the gas tank, engine seals and gaskets, carburator rebuilds, fuel pump, a rear suspension rebuild kit, new shocks, and numerous other things that will fail shortly after you get it running again due to dried out grease (alternator anyone?). After all that is done, you would then get to sort out everything else in the car that is less than perfect. Sorry, but a TR6 is just not that valuable of a car that this one is worth the kind of risk that a $8900 price tag assumes.

    • Richard V

      And watch out for the infamous excessive crankshaft end float resulting from the thrust washers being so worn that they spit themselves into the oil pan. This results in the crank thrust surface riding directly onto the main bearing journals of the block resulting in expensive welding up of the surfaces and machining. Saw a number of those during my British car repair shop days. Otherwise, a fun car to drive, I even owned a ’74 but lost it in a divorce. Last I heard it had been stripped of most valuable bits and was left to rot in someone’s back yard.

      • Jim-Bob

        I wasn’t aware that these had that problem too. The last car I played with with that issue was a friend’s Eclipse GSX (4G63 turbo). It had so much end float that the crank would move about 1/8 of an inch! Shame though, as both the TR6 and AWD Eclipse are very fun cars to drive. It wouldn’t stop me from owning either car, but it would make me push and pull on the crank pulley to see if it had that issue.

        I’ve always thought the TR6 was a very nice looking car and have wanted to drive one since I was a kid. There’s just something about it that’s hard to improve on in the looks department.

  6. Rick

    It’s the same sickly butterscotch color as the rs camaro in the earlier post tonight!

    • Brian

      Hey, butterscotch is “far…out”! Gregg Brady woulda loved it!

  7. JeffG

    Paint code #84 would be Topaz Orange. This car doesn’t look orange enough to be topaz orange. It could be re-painted.

    • Catfish Phil

      Could be the color temperature of the lights and white balance setting on the digital camera. My ’75 Spitfire is Topaz and I recognized the color right off, especially seeing the VIN plate.

      Remember clutch hydraulics will need to be gone through, too. Hopefully the battery box is okay as well.

      I think the car is over priced but if it has minimal rust, it would be a nice purchase. I’d get it in safe, running condition and just enjoy it.

  8. Dolphin Member

    Agreed that $8900 is high for this ’76, despite the low miles. The late year (the early years are best) and the 14-year storage period cancel out the benefit of low miles for me. There are many decent-to-really good TR6s available in most places to choose from.

    Googling ‘TR6 purchase inspection’ will bring up a number of sites with good information on how to evaluate these cars that I read when I was looking to buy one some years ago.

    A major issue is the crank thrust washer, as Richard V said. There is even a web page devoted to this: http://britishcarweek.org/tr6_1.html

    Another big issue can be the frame, especially where the rear swing arms attach to it. Also the differential mounts can give big trouble. You usually think body-on-frame construction as being a plus, but not necessarily with the TR6. The separate fenders can trap water and material where they attach to the frame, with rust the inevitable result, altho the car in this listing looks like it would probably pass inspection on body & frame issues.

  9. RickyM

    Love the last line of the article! We have a saying here at work about our Directors; Don’t do as I do, do as I say!

  10. Charles

    I want to see this car running first. Too many assumptions here…

    The 82 Trans AM that I bought a couple of years ago was kept in an air conditioned garage from day one until I loaded it into my car trailer and brought it home. The car was started and run every week, and was never allowed to just sit and decay. The engine purrs like brand new, with no leaks, and no smoke. The transmission shifts perfectly and the car is tight like a new one. There are NO shoddy repairs anywhere on the car.The car came with every receipt from the buyer’s agreement on the day the car was purchased new, original factory window sticker, factory invoice, owners manual, warranty forms, every oil change ticket, and every repair that was ever done on the car. We washed the car and trailered her to the F Body Gathering which is the largest Camaro/Firebird show in the southeast. The old car won first place in its class.

    The first owner had the oil changed every year. He usually had stuff repaired when it broke, and the car is not modified in any way. It is certainly a survivor. The car is completely original with 24,400 miles on it, but even so a 32 year-old original car is not going to be road worthy unless it has been maintained for all of those years. Granted the car is exceptionally clean but it still has the OE Goodyear Eagle GT’s on the ground. To get her ready to drive on the highway it will take a set of tires, brake rebuild, rad hoses, heater hoses, fuel hoses, belts, thermostat, and antifreeze. After $1,500.00 to do the work listed above, the car will still have problems with the air conditioning that blows everything out of the heater vents, and power windows that moan and groan when rolled up or down. So even on a car that is running, and has been started and run weekly, it is still going to take $2,500.00 to get her on the road, drivable, and safe. This is not a complicated car at all, so a TR6 could costs a lot more. An 82 TA is not much more than a Camaro with Pontiac sheet metal with a small block GM engine, T200 trans, which are all pretty common stuff.

    A TR6 is a complicated car. The engines are expensive to repair. A friend of mine owned a beautiful red Spitfire that looked perfect. The car was parked when the engine failed, and was never repaired because of the costs of parts. This TR6 has too many unknowns. It is possible that the car was parked because it had suffered a major mechanical failure. I would rather have a running, driving TR6 with more mileage on it than an unknown car that has been sitting for 14 years. This car could be a money pit. It amazes me that everyone who has an old car sitting in the back of a barn or garage thinks that they have the next Mecum record holder.

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