Triumph or Adversity: 1974 Triumph TR6

The TR6 is my favorite of the Triumph TR series of sports cars. There’s just something about the styling that has attracted me to them since I was a teenager. Located in Fontana, California, this TR6 comes with a clear title and is listed here on eBay. The seller has set a BIN of $8,500 on this Triumph but there is the option to make an offer. At first glance I thought that this might be quite a good project since it has previously undergone a restoration, but further inspection raises some question. Have a look and see what you think.

I am an optimist, but looking at this TR6 gives me an awful sinking feeling. As you can see from the first shot, the car appears to have spent a fairly long time outside. I know that it’s in California, but I’m sure that I can see a number of signs that any new owner may be facing a fair injection of both elbow grease and greenbacks to revive this one. The owner installed a new top some years back, but this photo indicates that it may not have been 100% weather-proof. The rust on the wheel and the deterioration of the wood are not good signs. The timber on the dash is beyond economic repair, and will need to be replaced. The body also has a couple of small issues with paint cracking that the seller identifies, but we are given no photos of these.

The seller states that the majority of the interior will come back with a good clean, I can identify a number of issues that will need to be addressed. Apart from the issues with the dash I can see that the vinyl on the door cards is badly wrinkled, and that this is bad enough that it may need replacing. There is also something a bit odd going on with the carpet as it doesn’t seem to fit the car properly.

The top was new some years ago and according to the owner it was a top quality item with the zip-out rear window. This may be able to be brought back to life with a good clean, but I’m really not too confident about that as the windows look distinctly opaque and the actual roof material has a flat and tired look to it.

The engine is a bit of an unknown quantity. The original engine suffered some expensive damage while this TR6 was still seeing consistent use. The owner purchased a competition engine and installed it in our feature car. There is no mention of what modifications have been made to the engine, but the owner states that it performed really well. Unfortunately we don’t know the state of it now as it hasn’t been run in 10 years. The seller also suggests that the new owner may need to rebuild the brakes and the clutch before driving this little Triumph. Also, the fact that I can see plant-life growing up into the engine bay is less than encouraging as it appears to be nice and green. This suggests that it is getting plenty of water….from somewhere.

For this little TR6 to make any sort of economic sense then the owner would have to accept an offer well below his current BIN price. I have actually been able to find a number of running, daily driver quality examples in California below the price of this one. It has the potential to be a nice car, but there are just too many question marks for this lovely little TR6 to make rational sense. To me that’s a real shame.

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  1. Beatnik Bedouin

    I think you’re right, Adam, this one is going to be a major restoration and probably worth a lot less than the asking price.

  2. CanuckCarGuy

    Aside from Jaguars, the TR6 is my favourite British convertible… the price seems extremely optimistic, unless there are details missing from the ad.

  3. Brian Smith

    Silly price. I just saw a much nicer drivable and in desirable colors early TR6 on Craigslist for $3000.

  4. Ian F

    Agreed. One too many zeros in that asking price for my tastes.

  5. Gary

    Brian. What was the location of the drivable TR6 on Craigslist for $3,000? That may be a great deal. I would think that $3,000 is probably in the ball park for the TR6 in this listing. Then if you did most of the work yourself, including the bodywork and drop about $8,000 into the car then you would probably have a nice $10,000 TR6. So even at $3,000, this would need to be purchased by someone that enjoys the actual restoration process.

    • Brian Smith

      Not saying. Might go get it. Agree price is too good.

  6. Papa Jay

    For $8500.00 you can get 2 decent TR’s and a lot of parts. Sounds like he wants reimbursement for the work he wasted his time doing.

  7. Doug

    A dash and other body parts& upholstery items are available from The Roadster Factory – they have an extensive online catalog. New brake calipers and master cylinders are available from Moss Motors at quite reasonable prices – I paid just over $200 for a set of calipers, pads,hoses, & hardware, delivered. I should have ordered a master cylinder at the same time and saved a few quid on shipping…..

    If you find one of these with a bad engine but in otherwise reasonable condition, the Buick / Rover V8 makes a nice conversion. The Ford 302 can be made to fit, but it’s a pain, and unless vents are cut in the inner fenders, it will tend to run hot. ( Personal experience ! ) Also, the ONLY rear gear ratio for this diff is 3.69:1, so an overdrive trans is the way to go. Others have installed various V6 engines with success has lots of examples of how folks have modified British cars for better performance.

  8. Wrong Way

    I totally agree with you Adam! There are too many nice ones out there with the same price, some a little more expensive! When you add up the cost of bringing this one back to life it doesn’t make any sense!

  9. Stephen Brodie

    I bought one of these new in ’74 and drove it to 18,000 miles. Had trouble getting someone to make the carbs work properly. With overdrive mine would only do 117mph my brother passed me in his 240Z at about 140 so they are not a serious performance machine stock. An early Ford 289 /260 /221 would make this a proper sports car but you couldn’t pay more than 3K with a dead engine to make this workable. The cast iron six in these were heavy dated tractor engines which were antiques in the 70’s and this one with open carbs would certainly have problems, No Thanks at half the price.

  10. Wrong Way

    Yay,Steve,sometimes it’s not about speed it’s about having a original stock car! It’s about preserving things for what they are so the young people growing up and checking out classic cars can see original not pictures or read about it! I just thought I would give you another way of looking at classics! I am not wanting to insult or argue or anything like that! Have a great evening!

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