Restore Or Part Out? 1976 Triumph TR6

The TR6 has always been my favorite vehicle out of the Triumph TR range. The squarer styling and deeply offset wheels with chrome trim rings make the car appear far more aggressive and purposeful than its predecessors. This TR6 was once a beautiful car, but the ravages of time have taken their toll on it. You will find it listed for sale here on eBay. It is located in Temple, Texas, and is being offered for sale with a clear title. At the time of writing, bidding is sitting at $1,750.

While the body looks essentially straight, there are a number of dings and dents that are visible. There are also a few small rust spots in the vehicle, along with a puncture hole in the trunk lid. The trim looks to all be present and in reasonable condition, as is the glass. What we have no idea about is the condition of the frame and the floors. The soft-top also looks like it is badly deteriorated, and will require replacing.

Quite simply, the interior is either going to require either a re-trim or replacement. The big ticket item is going to be the wooden dash, which has deteriorated well beyond repair. The passenger seat is going to require new padding, as the padding on the back looks to have collapsed badly. The door trims will need to be completely replaced, as the cards themselves are badly warped. The whole thing is just a really sad sight.

We get no shots of the engine, but we do know that the lovely little 2.5l straight-six does not run. It appears that the owner has not attempted to check whether it turns freely. He took the car as a trade and was told by the previous owner that it was running 6 years ago, but that it doesn’t run now because it needs new fuel lines. Given the general state of the rest of the car, the condition of the engine is going to be crucial in determining the viability of the Triumph as a restoration project.

I always try to look at cars like this in a positive light and assess their potential as a restoration project. The simple fact is that I believe that this TR6 may be destined to be a parts car. Restoring the interior is going to be an expensive exercise, while the body will need some rust repairs and a repaint. The condition of the frame, floors, and engine are also questionable. When it is possible to buy a nice, original Southern Californian car with a full service history for $12,000, to me that seals the fate of this TR6.

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  1. Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

    Adam, I think this one will come down to whether or not a potential buyer is willing to do work themselves. If so, Triumph parts are relatively inexpensive and available and club support is huge…so it comes down to the desire to pay oneself for labor. If you are willing to admit that labor is “free” and see it as a learning experience and/or only trust your own wrenching, welding, painting, etc. it’s a very viable project. However, if you are thinking about a checkbook refurbishment, look for a better car! Nice writeup!

    Like 12
    • Adam Clarke Adam Clarke Staff

      Thanks so much for that Jamie. I honestly hope that someone does restore it because I really love these. I’ve always wanted one myself, but aspirations and reality don’t always seem to meet.

      Like 8
      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        I freely admit I’m biased, there are currently three on my property, although one of them is due to be transported to someone else shortly. Anything I can help with from here? If you need parts, let me know…

        Like 3
  2. KawiVulc

    Agreed, these little guys do look like they mean business. It’d be nice to hear somebody sweated their way to a nice driver with this one but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be very likely.

    Like 1
  3. Lynn Dockey Member

    Run away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Ralph

    $12,000 vs $1750 is still a pretty big spread, would it cost 10X the price of this car to make it pristine? Probably, if thats what you want, but if this was always a TX car then there could be a good chance that there isn’t a bunch of cancer hiding underneath, and if you’re handy with the tools, this could be nice cheap project.

    Like 5
    • The Walrus

      Don’t be so sure. 40+ years of even occasional rain is still alot of rain… every time it has rained with holes in that top, water has infiltrated the carpet and Sat there for months…

      Like 4
  5. CCFisher

    I’m starting to think the writers are trolling for comments. A Charger that’s nearly been reclaimed by the earth is presented as a project, while this complete and solid (looking) TR6 is a parts car. There aren’t many out there still wearing those ridiculous 5-mph bumper guards.

    The wood dash is $300-$400, and a complete interior kit is around $1600. If the undercarriage is reasonably solid, this could easily be a viable project

    Like 12
    • Steve R

      The seller says it “would be good for parts” in his ad. They are just relaying the sentiment of the seller. I don’t know about you, but when the one person who has the most to gain by talking the car up, refers to it as a parts car, it’s wise to listen.

      Steve R

      Like 5
  6. Vegaman_Dan

    I would buy it if it were local. $2K for the interior to fix up as there are easy kits available. $500 for a new top made custom. Body work isn’t a terrible difficulty and I’ve handled far worse rust. The chrome condition of bumpers is a bigger cost than really anything else.

    I’d jump on it. For less than $5-7K in costs including paint, you’d have a good profit. But even better, you’d have a car you wouldn’t want to sell. In that case, this is expensive!

    Like 6
  7. Stephen Sharp

    Thank you! someone who understands a half way doable car is worth far more than that rusted out and damaged Mopar hulk…

    Like 5
  8. ccrvtt

    This car elicits an immediate gut response for me because it’s a TR6 and also because of the color, which makes no sense. But I’ve had these reactions before with other cars that will undoubtedly get repainted some other color from what they are now.

    I found a TR6 in downtown Indy some years ago while walking the dog. Parked in an alley on the Old Northside, it was maroon and rust. The deck was perforated with rust holes, there were more on the hood, the interior looked a little like you could play a realistic game of Jumanji in it. Every visit for the next few months the dog and I would go look for the rusty old Triumph.

    In my wildest fantasy I would resurrect that hulk and make it into a beautiful runner. In my reality that miserable mess is probably still rotting away in that alley.

    But the car in question is in far better condition and of course, blue is my favorite color. Something to keep in mind is that not every restoration has to be a 99-point concours effort. A presentable and fun driver can be accomplished for a lot less investment.

    Like 11
  9. BOBH

    Show me a well kept TR6 with all records for $12K. They aren’t out there.
    Regardless if the engine turns over or not it should be disassembled and refurbed. That’s not a huge expense.
    Miata seats fit great and are a good upgrade. New dash $275.
    These are simple cars. Easy to maintain. Loads of support on line. Multiple parts sources.
    To the guy who said run away. You’re speaking from ignorance. Or you work for Japlonic, same difference. Lots of potential there. I already have a 1975 version. No problems.

    Like 3
  10. Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

    Just in case any of you ARE interested, a quick TR6 “what to look for” primer: 1) Use a crowbar to try to slide the front crank pulley forwards and backwards (there’s a convenient cross member right there to lever on). If it moves 1/8″ or more, the thrust washers are in the oil pan and odds are you are either going to have to source another block/crank OR have a friendly machinist do some work. 2) Check the structural integrity of the frame where the brackets that hold the aluminum semi-trailing arms bolt to the frame. CAN be fixed but is fairly expensive/time consuming to do so. 3) Unless they have already been reinforced, one or more of the differential mounts will probably be bent/broken. Again, fixable but more welding, kits are sold to beef them up or make your own from sheet metal. 4) Lower front suspension brackets on early cars (’69-72 or 73?) are weak and can crack. Later cars have reinforcements and just like the differential mounts, you can either purchase a kit and weld or shape your own from sheet metal. 5) Most cars have at least some rust where the battery is located on the firewall. Easy to fix if you have welding capability. Oh, and if the brakes function, have a hard pedal but are largely ineffective at stopping the car, the PDWA valve (google it) has become de-centralized and you are probably trying to stop the car from the rear drums only. There are other innate problems, but these are the first ones to check. All four fenders bolt on AND are being made from original tooling if you need a new one, same with trunk lids and hoods (not sure if entire shells are being made any more but they were for a while. Reproduction improved frames are available as well. If you like TR6s, there’s really no reason not to get one, and if you don’t mind working and putting money in over time, pretty much any car CAN be restored. My advice on this car was that it was a great project if you wanted to do it yourself but not so much if you were writing a check; just get a car that’s been restored already. Oh, and the sub $12k great cars are out there still. I recently bought a 1969 for a lot less that is a good clean away from being show-worthy. My wife and I have to choose between it and my 1973 as to which one to keep. It should be a fun spring season deciding! I’m hoping she likes a different one from me and then we keep both… :-)

    Like 10
  11. Chuck F 55chevy

    Definately not a parts car unless the frame is rotted underneath, not too likely if a long time Texas car. Good ones under $12k can be found, but they sell quick, this one should go for more than $1,750.

  12. Doug

    My first inclination, after determining that the frame is sound, would be to remove the 6 and replace it with a Rover/Buick 3.5 -4.1 aluminum V8. That engine was used in the later TR-8 as well.. I own a 69TR-6 / Ford 302, which is a fun car, but there are serious space issues that make it hard to work on, and it’s difficult to keep it from running hot in midsummer. I bought the car with the V8 in it. If I had had the choice, I would have gone with the R/B engine instead of the Ford.The Rover/ Buick engine is smaller and significantly lighter. One thing to be aware of is that there is only one rear gear ratio available for this car, unless one wants to spend $1, 000 plus to upgrade from 3.69:1 to 3.5: 1 , or retrograde from independent rear suspension to a solid axle, which is why I recommend a 5 speed. These babies with a V8 transplant are great fun !

    Like 2
  13. Derek

    The body isn’t that rusty, so the chassis probably isn’t too bad either. The dashboard’s only there to hold the clocks in place and it’s doing that. Make the engine work (not difficult) and go thrash it senseless.

    I’d prefer a 4A, but…

  14. 88V8

    Had one for ten years.
    Parts are cheap and plentiful, so there’s no point parting it out as all the parts can be had new in the US and the UK.

    Factory rear ends 3.54 or 3.7 or 4.11.
    R200 lsd is a drop-in with a kit from Richard Good.

    An overdrive car does 27mph/1000rpm and has seven gears. Five-speed is a
    retrograde that never made any sense.

    Although I love a V8, the six is a super engine. Mind you, mine was Lucas injected, no emissions nonsense on UK cars.

  15. JMB#7

    If the frame is OK, then fix it to driving condition and enjoy. I have seen much worse. Most Triumphs I dealt with blew enough oil on the under side to be self rust proofing.

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