I Checked-Out this Real Barn Find TR6

1973 Triumph TR6

I’ve been checking out an ad for a local TR6 for a while now. It’s been on Craigslist in Raleigh, NC (my hometown) for a month or two, and as the owner of 2 TR6’s, two other TR6 engined cars and a slew of extra TR6 parts, this looked like it could have been a match made in heaven. It’s advertised as a 1971, but looked like it had 1973 features, and was actually made in June of 1973. Unfortunately, I’ve been in the middle of selling a house, moving to another one and dealing with a lot of job changes all at the same time…so the hobby cars had to wait. I assumed that the car would disappear and I’d see it one day at a local Triumph Club of the Carolinas meeting all fixed up. But the ad stayed up. On January 2nd, it appeared here on craigslist again with a different set of pictures, and I started to write it up for BarnFinds, at least partially to keep me from pursuing it. A few paragraphs into the article, I told my wife why I was writing this particular car up, and she looked over my shoulder at the pictures and said “why don’t you at least go look at it?” Two things were made abundantly clear at that moment, (1) I married the right woman (sorry, guys, she doesn’t have a sister!), and (2) I knew what I’d be doing with my Sunday afternoon.

Triumph TR6

So off I went with my future son-in-law, another budding Triumph enthusiast, to see if this would be a good home for some of my TR6 parts languishing on shelves. A short drive into the country found us at a small former service station. Neil, the friendly owner of the car, explained that he had purchased it along with a Spitfire and an Alfa Spider, and his plan was to restore the Spitfire, sell it and use the proceeds to fund a restoration of the TR6. That was several years ago, and he’s still working on the Spitfire.

Triumph TR6 Interior

Neil kindly left us to go over the car with a fine tooth comb. His pictures had been pretty thorough, but we wanted to see what it looked like underneath as well. Good points included solid rear fenders, a clear (albeit salvage) title, straight frame needing only minor welding in the cruciform section and no welding at all in the solid semi-trailing arm mounts (rare on a TR6). On the other hand, the car was not complete. It was missing a radiator, seats (the ones in the picture are from a mid-70’s Spitfire), dash and major gauges, and the engine was locked up. There was some well-repaired minor accident damage to both front fenders, and the hood and windshield frame were from other TR6’s.

Triumph TR6 Dash

I’ve replaced floors and rockers on a TR6 before; all panels are available, and if you get the British Motor Heritage ones they actually fit fairly well. However, with both doors needing work at the bottom, the left rocker and both floors needing replacing, I just don’t have the time right now to take this one on. It is a nice, straight car needing only reasonable things, and if you are interested I’m sure Neil will be happy to show you the car.

Image courtesy of the Triumph Club of the Carolinas
Image courtesy of the Triumph Club of the Carolinas

It was hard for me to walk away from this one; TR6’s in French Blue are gorgeous! Just look at what this car could look like (this is a friend’s car)! Why not put it in your garage and restore this “last of the hairy-chested” British sports car?

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Comments

  1. Rich

    Nice article Jamie. Any wife that allows you to look at another car is an awesome wife!!!

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Rich, I should mention that she claims three of our British cars as hers :-)

    • MikeH

      I have a wife like Jamie’s. I say “Man I would really like to have that car”. She says “Why don’t you get it?”. Sometimes I need a little restraint, but from her, I get encouragement.

  2. jim s

    so what other 2 tr6 engined cars do you have? are you sure you want to pass on this one? it needs saved, your close, and know how to work on them. nice find.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Jim, I’d tell you, but I’m hoping to take some pictures for a “what’s in MY barn” and I want to leave you guessing :-) I promise to submit that soon! I just don’t have the time right now…might have something to do with that car-enthusiastic wife and the 9 “fun” cars we have right now…

  3. Jeffry H

    Happy hubby, happy wife! She knows what side of her toast the butter is on. Congratulations on what seems like a great relationship.

  4. Tirefriar

    Jamie,
    I have just 2 questions:
    1) what happened to the Alfa?
    2) how can a salvage title be clear? Perhaps you were thinking “clear of the lien holder”? ;-)

  5. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    @Tirefriar — Alfa is still there…looks pretty rough, to be honest. That being said, I’m sure Neil would be open to selling it. As far as the title is concerned–in my mind, any title I can use to title and license a car in my name is “clear”…perhaps I use the terms differently than others. Salvage title in NC just means that the car has had damage in excess of 20-25% of it’s value (I forget the exact number). A “non-clear” title to me means there’s a lien on it or it’s tied up in an estate (i.e. deceased owner, etc…). Sorry if I confused anyone!

    • Tirefriar

      Wow, 2 extremes – NC and TX. In California, the insurance company determines whether the car is a total loss, I.e. Salvaged. It used to be in excess of 70-75 % of the actual car value but now each insurance company tends to use its own set of criteria to determine that threshold.

      In Cali, probably as in TX, salvage titled car is a bad juju. They usually tend to run 50-70% of a similar clear titled car. It used to be that insurance companies would not issue comprehensive policies for salvage titles. Not sure how it is now…

      • MikeH

        Same in Texas, really. The insurance company determines what is salvage and what is not. I had an old Peugeot that was in an accident [not at fault]. The damage was $900. The insurance said the car was only worth 1300 and they wrote it off. They gave me the 1300, I bought it back for $60, repaired it and still drive it. It now has a rebuilt title even though the damage was only cosmetic.

  6. MikeH

    In Texas, a salvage title applies to a car that has had damage in excess of 100% of its value–usually a car written off by an insurance company and sold for salvage. Before it can be on the road again, it must be inspected and issued a rebuilt title. That doesn’t mean it’s a good car, just that it’s a roadworthy car. Of course, if it’s your car and you repair it yourself, the state never knows about it.

  7. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    OK, I got my percentages confused, but the basic idea was sound. For an explanation of NC salvage title rules check out this site: http://www.dmv.org/nc-north-carolina/salvaged-vehicles.php.

  8. BrentF

    This TR6 strikes me as a totally uneconomic exercise in terms of a restoration candidate.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @BrentF — if you are paying for the work, absolutely! Also, it’s almost always less expensive to purchase a restored car than one that needs it. But…if you desire a particular car and have time, but not a big budget, then a project like this gets you into the game without a lot of up front expenditure. No argument that you will probably have more in the car when it’s done than it’s worth , especially if you have the work done for you (although TR6’s are rising in value). But for a certain segment that actually want to do the work themselves, this would be a viable candidate. Thanks for commenting!

  9. gunningbar

    Seems a shame to rip out a dash and seats! But…who knows…nice find.

  10. Chuck F 55chevy

    I ran across this one, almost submitted it, not a bad price because TR6s are going up, most prices are negotiable. I thought my TR8 was the last of the hairy chested Brit sports cars.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Chuck, the phrase “last of the hairy-chested British sports cars” refers to a period road test of the 1976 TR6 (last year of production)…the quote was from the test.

      I have to agree with you on the TR8, having owned a really nice 5-speed coupe and driven another one from San Antonio to North Carolina. Wonderful, highly underrated cars!

  11. Dave I.

    As someone with way too many projects (’73 Volvo 1800ES, ’78 J10, ’64 Baja Bug, and a couple of bikes), way too few funds (see previous list), a lust for a TR-6, and a close proximity to Raleigh… I curse you. *sob*

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Dave, it’s an uncurable sickness (car lust). My sympathy and empathy :-)

  12. Cameron Bater UK

    My father has a TR6 (and has had for about 20 years or so now) that is in simmilar condition overall, we still have a complete dash in ours though that is where the posatives stop, all the mechanics are (as us brittish say) “Duf” whats not seized is wealded on with rust.
    We think ours was once Old English White but a distinct 2 tone Brown under white is now thew case, this means there isn’t anything to really save. it is our intention to restore her to former glory, perhaps with a few modifications, we intend to put a Volvo M46+OD gearbox on it however we can’t reach a verdict on engine, Dad wants a Rover (Buick small block) V8, his friend thinks that its atrocious to fit anything other than a straight 6 and I’ve suggested a V6 (as long as its not a PRV (Pergoet, Renult & Volvo) V6).
    Our intention is to make it a gentlemans track day car, suitable for wicker basket picknicks on holiday whilst also working as a track day thrasher.

  13. delboy

    I mentioned to my darling wife just the other day that the last time I splurged an unreasonable amount of money was seven years ago when i bought a Mercedes E220.

    “That was not waste of money, that was an absolutely necessity”, she said.

    I love her even more now…!

  14. Jack

    What’s everybody think of this TR-6…. http://r.ebay.com/jg8hQw

  15. Marvin

    I have a TR6 that I have had for almost 30 years. Its been towed more places than it’s been driven. This sounds like a good parts car. What is his ball park figure for the car. It may be worth a road trip.

  16. Jf

    My wife says, “Are you crazy? You don’t have a garage large enough to park it (’75-’76 Lincoln Continental Mark IV), or enough years left (80) to enjoy it. Hey, you’d think that after 61+ years of marriage, I could at least get one last wish for good behavior.

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