TR6-Powered 1964 Triumph Sports 6

Standard-Triumph did a lot of mix-n-match work with platforms and drivetrains in the 1960s, but one of the combinations they didn’t produce was the Herald/Vitesse/Sports 6 platform with their largest 2498 cc inline six engine. That hasn’t stopped enthusiasts from doing it on their own, as this 1964 Sports 6 illustrates. It’s listed for sale here on eBay, where bidding is incredibly low at the moment but the reserve has not been met.

The Sports 6 was the North American version of the Vitesse (I have no clue why the name change was made for our market) and was a dismal failure during its two years of production. As the seller notes, only 679 cars were sold in the US during its 1963-64 life. In addition to receiving a small, 1596 cc version of the Standard-Triumph inline six engine, aluminum bumpers rather than white rubber ones, and a slanted-eye bonnet (hood), there are very few differences between the Sports 6 and the Herald. The styling was the work of Giovanni Michelotti, as were most contemporary Triumphs.

The seller points out that the floors have been patched with fiberglass and that’s evident from this undercar shot. However, the car appears to have been refinished to a high standard and the many detailed pictures reflect this. Unfortunately, the rare overdrive fitted to the transmission is non-functional at the moment.

The interior is where this car really shines! While some items are non-stock, all appear to be in stellar condition and certainly are to a higher standard than new.

As mentioned above, the engine has been replaced with a 2498 cc unit out of a TR6, giving a bump in horsepower and torque to the car. However, the longer physical length of the engine and the electric fans fitted to the cooling system as a result have created a clearance issue for the bonnet. As a temporary measure, the bonnet has been shifted forward on its adjusters, but some modifications will be necessary to complete the fettling. Honestly, all this car needs is some sorting; the seller details eight items in a list that they feel need to be fixed. I wish it were me tacking those items, because this car would provide years of enjoyment afterwards. Do you agree?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Mama Mia, a Herald on steroids! My old man had a Herald he picked up cheap when I was a kid. I remember, it was a lackluster, underpowered thing, but this takes it up a notch. Lots of foreign car makers changed their car names for our market, look at Japan, with names like “Sunny”, or “Fairlady” didn’t cut it, and good ol’ American “Sports 6″ just had more zing than Vitesse”,,,what the heck is that? Being a ragtop, I’d have to think performance would be impressive, and 100mph+ should be no problem, if you got the grapes to go 100 in a Triumph Herald. Cool find.

    Like 4
  2. RGSmith1 Member

    You’ve done it again. I really enjoy seeing these “oddball ” cars that I have never seen or heard of before. Keep up the good work!

    Like 8
    • 370zpp

      Yup. Same here. No recollection of ever seeing this one before.
      Interesting ride.

  3. Blyndgesser

    Heavy lump under the hood, flaky swing axle suspension under the tail, what’s not to love?

    Like 1
  4. matt

    matt
    I bought a used J type OD for my TR6 from a man who had a complete car and transmission for sale as a package with the OD as an extra. I sent a note through Craigslist and told him I would like to buy it if the buyer of the car did not want it.
    Point ? I bought it.
    I drained the transmission, gently took a pump filter access plate off and changed a filter and some pump o-rings, then machined a v-belt pulley to spin the transmission and test the OD for operation: I spun it with an electric motor and sent electricity from a battery to the terminals and read the hydraulic pressure to prove out the engagement and operation. Test pressure and hook-up is described in the manual. So, maybe the new owner can do a light rebuild on this unit…
    Changing the transmission is done from inside the car and it is a lot of work, so testing is very important to save having to do that twice.

    Like 2
  5. RJ

    All that work to install the engine – but kept the Zenith-Strombergs?

  6. chrlsful

    WoW a quick glance seemed to reveal my ol 2 gen Rambler American (400 series) same motor (i6: 200/3.3/3000) vert. A closer look said “Yeah, Brit version.” (ie smaller). I don’t think they outfitted it with better cornering suspension tho (usual european difference).

    Nice grab, Jamie~

    Wish I still had that rambler…boxy, right sized, climate crisis vert (can now drive it 9 mo, ol daze only 4 or 5 here in this prt of NE usa…

    Like 1
  7. ken tilly UK

    The UK Vitesse came with either a 6 cyl 1596cc overhead valve, or a 6 cyl 1998cc overhead valve. Power for the 1596cc was 70 bhp @ 5000 rpm and the 1998cc gave 95 bhp @ 5000 rpm. Not bad for such a lightweight.

    Like 2
    • Peter W starkey

      Yes I beleive it used the same power plant as the GT 6 ,which was the same block as the tr6 , so dont understand why it was difficult to fit in the chassis .

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        Peter, although the 1998cc GT6 engine and 2498cc TR6 engine are closely related, the blocks are not the same. In particular, the crank pulley/fan arrangement at the front of the engines are different, making the effective length different.

        Like 2
  8. JEFF S.

    With just 8 hours left, I predict reserve will not be met. Nice car if it could be purchased for under $10K. But, I am not sure that is possible in today’s market. I do not know these cars very well, but I did purchase a 1977 MGB brand new, when I was 22 young and single. Fun car, but had to get rid of it once I got married and had my first kid.

  9. James A. Mogey

    I bought a Herald convertible which looked really good, After a week, as I stepped in one morning, my foot went right through the floor. At that moment I realized why those shiny, new rubber floor mats had been installed. It was fun to drive, though, and my first drop head coupe. I felt like a movie star.

    Like 1
  10. Willowen Member

    When my mom came up to Alaska in ’65 she gave me a $700 limit to buy her a car, and I found a nearly-new Herald convertible for about that. It proved to be an excellent year-around car, except for needing an extensive starting ritual on sub-zero mornings, and I liked it well enough to wish I could afford a Sports Six when they were briefly available.

    Frankly, I think dropping in the bigger engine was a bad idea, and pretty much ruined a car that already needed a lot more work on its body and frame. The two-liter puts out all the grunt those swing axles can handle, for my taste anyway, and spending that money on needed repairs would have been the right way to go. This is just sad.

  11. Dennis Zozula

    I remember that in a Herald if you turned the wheels to lock you couldn’t drive forward from a standstill at least not easily.

    • ken tilly UK

      Yep, they could turn on a dime and parallel parking was a doddle. Mine was a saloon but during the summer months I would undo the sun visors and two nuts at the rear, and remove the roof, thereby turning it into a convertible for a few months. The only time I got wet was if I had to stop for any reason.

      Like 1
  12. Gerard Frederick

    After the TR-3´s, Triumphs were throw away junk for the most part. Wouldn´t touch with a 10 foot pole.

  13. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Current bid:
    US $7,680.00
    Reserve not met
    [ 49 bids ]

  14. Bryan Cohn

    Late to the party here but lets see if we all have this right: Poorly repaired rusty floors, bonnet that does not fit due to poor engine swap/install, OD that doesn’t work, air cleaners that don’t fit and an asking price that far exceeded its value. Check and check!

    Whomever did the engine swap choose poorly as the 1998cc engine from the GT6 is a bolt in and IT FITS. Its also a lighter lump and on triple Webers and a header makes more than enough power to make your day exciting.

    Whomever thought slathering on fiberglass was the right way to fix rusty floors is banned from working on cars forevermore. Front floors are available for $161 each. Drop in replacements are only $85 each! So the box for “Repaired by a Hack Mechanic Trying to Flip a Quick Profit” is fully checked.

    That it got bid up to $7500 is rather astounding to me. Proof that a fool and his money are soon parted.

  15. Willowen Member

    My take exactly, Bryan. There are so few of these still roaming our part of the world, and to see a hack job like this, leaving little if any hope for a decent re-doing, just makes me want to cry or go hit somebody. Might as well have taken a chainsaw to it!

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