Triumph’s Enigma: 1968 GT6+ Garage Find

Let me start by thanking Barn Finds reader George G. for this fantastic find! Why is it fantastic? Because although the Triumph GT6 was an enigma when it was introduced and remains one today for most enthusiasts, for those in the know (and short enough!) this underappreciated GT offers bang for the buck that is unmatched among small European coupes. This one is located in dry Tuscon, Arizona and is being sold here on craigslist for an asking price of only $1,450! Go get it now!

Not only is this a GT6, it’s the “Plus” version offered from 1968-70 that is generally considered to be the best of the best! The GT6 was created to combat the MGB-GT, itself an underappreciated coupe, but offered 6 rather than four cylinders, fully independent suspension (more about that later), fantastic underhood access (that whole bonnet you see tilts up to the front) and a much nicer interior than the Spitfire it was based on. Those are even the original wheel covers in this picture which bodes well for how this car may have been left alone. Don’t worry about that front caution light being missing either; they are available brand new.

The GT6 solved a lot of the Spitfire’s issues by having more (and smoother) power delivery, better fresh air ventilation and a useful hatch/luggage area. This one looks like it needs some assistance, but all parts are readily available and some are even better quality than the original components.

The seller tells us that the engine turns over but doesn’t start and says there is some rust on the floor and rocker panels. I’ll tell you right now, my son-in-law is restoring a 1970 GT6+ that didn’t even have a floor or most of the rockers when we bought it; this would be a much better choice than that one (but it’s thousands of miles away from us). Some reader please buy this car and tell us all about it — I’ll even pay for your Barn Finds membership out of my pocket if you do! There’s some motivation!

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Comments

  1. JBP

    wow a sweet Project, for 1450$ crazy… why is such Always when i dosnt have Money enough.. somebody snapp this up, and lets us see it back in buisness….

    Like 12
    • Tony

      It’s sold.

      Like 6
      • Boatman Member

        Still listed. One of those CLers that don’t take the ad down?

        Like 3
      • Sam61

        One of my uncles had one of these when he came back from Viet Nam. All my uncles had the cool cars…IH Travelall, gen 1 Riviera, Jeepster, 61 vette, Buick estate wagon with the mag wheels and clam gate.

        We were driving a Corvair and a Delta 88 through the 60’s…good memories. Although dad had a Sears mo t orcycle for a couple years.

        Like 2
      • Paul

        where did you see that??? just went to craigslist saw nothing that it is sold??

    • Cobra Steve

      I responded early this morning to the seller via text but no answer as of now. This one is more complete than my ’70 model. Now, if that cursed Renault Dauphine was out of my garage, I’d have space for “just one more”.

      • Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

        My sister had a ’66 Spitfire. Cool little car. In ’72 I bought a new MG Midget. Another cute little car, but you don’t want one as a daily driver. I had my MG for two years and couldn’t wait to get rid of it. I’m a land yacht lover so maybe that was the problem. As a secondary car, they’re great and I’d love to get another one for the weekends. But, I’ll keep my SUV for now.

  2. Marcus

    Not a covertable or even a sun roof/ targa seems a shame !

    • Rx-7 TurboII

      Marcus,

      If you wanted a convertible you bought a Triumph Spitfire, if you wanted a Targa you bought a Triumph stag, if you wanted a hardtop you bought a Triumph GT6, where’s the shame? Triumph offered so many different options for so many different consumers it wasn’t even funny so to say it’s not right that this had no convertible top or no sunroof it’s just silly, it was never designed to.

      Like 43
    • Paul

      people take this body off and put a spitfire body on it.

      Like 1
      • Aribert

        I drove my ’71 Spit bodied GT6 (with a 2.5L and triple Weber’s) yesterday.

        I would question the author with respect to the comments about better interior and ventilation. GT6s are **hot** inside the cabin if it is relatively warm outside.

  3. Vegaman Dan

    If, if, if. Lots of if’s.

    If it were closer.
    If I had space for it.
    If I wasn’t already doing a frame off resto on a 68 Spitfire

    This is a bargain.

    Like 12
  4. hugh crawford

    These were sort of an anachronism when new, but now they are lovely.

    Like 4
  5. ccrvtt

    To paraphrase Vegaman Dan – SCREAMING Bargain!

    Like 4
  6. g Wentzell

    VERY easy to work on, relatively cheap – easy to come by parts, and a lot of fun to drive!

    Like 8
  7. Rube Goldberg Member

    Even though it’s gone, it’s fun to see this stuff come through here, these were great cars. In the mid-70’s, when I had my MGB, a guy where I worked had a car like this, only blue. We did a lot of cruisin’ on back roads. In a drag race, both cars were dead even. Both cars handled about the same, this a little better, but he did spin it out once pushing it too hard in corner, they were front heavy. Hard to find a decent one, either they rusted out or just plain wore out because they were fun to drive, and being a hardtop, many through the winters. Years ago, we didn’t have the aftermarket suppliers like today, fact is, not many cities even had a Triumph dealer and it was difficult to get parts, and many were junked. Great find for someone, stuff like this, you gotta be quick.

    Like 6
  8. Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

    It’s been pointed out on Facebook that I made a mistake in this article, and they were right. This is actually a 1970, not a 1968. I should’ve known that considering my son-in-law’s 1970 is in my shop. My bad! I still hope it’s one of you that bought the car!

    Like 2
    • Boatman Member

      Not your “bad”, that’s what the listing says!

      Like 2
    • Andrew S Mace Member

      As @Boatman notes, it’s what the ad says. Of course, selling a “1968 GTO+6” that’s actually a “1970 GT6+” makes me question the legitimacy of ownership and paperwork, not to mention the quality of education the seller received. ;) (All the original badges are still present on the car and are quite legible!) Frankly, the low asking price concerns me as well, given that values of these cars has gone up greatly in recent years, and it location pretty much guarantees that it doesn’t need much more than a wash and polish to make it a decent 10-footer.

      Compare that to mine, which I parked in the early 1980s, when too many Northeast winters had taken their toll on the body. (It’s still in the barn awaiting attention, along with all the NOS sheet metal needed, should I ever find the time!) But for several of the eight or so years it was on the road, it was my daily (only) driver, including daily commuting, numerous TSD rallies and countless autocrosses (even an FTD or two). With all that, it was actually quite reliable and trouble-free for the most part. Most notably, I never had to touch the engine or gearbox beyond normal tuneups and / or fluid changes!

      Once I finish up a couple of Heralds (ok, it’s more more then a couple — way more, in fact), I do hope to bring mine back to life, along with its near-twin, a ’70 Spitfire Mk3 (both are Jasmine Yellow with black interior). Meanwhile, I also have all the bits needed to build myself a factory-looking 1970 GT6+ convertible; if/when I do that, it might end up being Laurel Green with tan interior like the car featured here (and in tribute to the ’69 Mk3 Spitfire I had before getting my GT6+ and the ’72 GT6 Mk3 I had for a few years in the mid-1980s! :D

      Like 6
  9. moose_feather

    When I decided I had enough money to buy a project and after looking at classic car sites for years I determined a GT6 would be one I’d seek after. I thought they were flying under the radar with their looks and power plant. I think these are somewhat comparable to the Datsun z cars and what they are doing in price a GT6 are bargains IMO. But, when I went tire kickin’ and got up close to one I just couldn’t picture how I’d ever get into it. Maybe in my younger years! I ended up with an Austin Healey and that’s a challenge enough, fortunately no roof. I would still consider one when I clear my garage of other projects. Hope the new owner has fun with it.

    Like 4
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Moose, you’re not alone. Many people have taken GT6s and used Spitfire components to build convertible ones. It solves all the access problems as long as it’s not raining!

      Like 2
  10. Kiwi glen

    The running gear in the GT6 was shared with the triumph Vitesse. I would be looking to see if it had the rotoflex chassis improved handling. These had a taller diff ratio to compensate for a lack of overdrive. It seems weird that you could get overdrive in the Vitesse but not the GT6

    Like 3
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      At least in the US, you could get overdrive, although they’re hard to find…

      Like 1
    • Cobra Steve

      The rotoflex first appeared on the GT6 Mk II, or the Plus (+) as they called it in the U.S., which was for the 1968 model year. The original GT6 (MK I) had a swing axle. When the GT6 Mk III came out in 1971, it also had the rotoflex but only until 1972. The final production year, 1973 (for the U.S.) they eliminated the rotoflex in favor of a “swing spring” set up.

      Like 3
    • Cobra Steve

      To the best of my knowledge, overdrive was always available, at least on the Mk II & Mk III variants. My college car, a 1969 Mk II, had overdrive, and I know for a fact the Mk III cars had it as an option.

      Overdrive-equipped cars had a 3.89 differential ratio whereas the “standard” (non-overdrive) cars had a 3.27 ratio. I have heard, but not confirmed, a “German” option was to have an overdrive-equipped car with a 3.27 ratio which would provide, theoretically, a higher top end. This is how I intend to set up my ’72 GT6 Mk III I am presently restoring for my wife.

      Like 4
  11. Ben T Spanner

    I had 1970 GT6 + as a daily driver for 4 or 5 years. It was one of the most trouble free cars I’ve ever had. I’m 6’2″ and also had a 1967 AH 3000 I had to move the seat frame back, but not with the GT6. I did replace the Delco, (not Lucas), distributor as the bushings had worn. Stromberg carbs are super easy to rebuild and adjust.

    Like 5
  12. David Tidaback

    I remember helping a buddy put a clutch in one of these – what a job! The transmission came out through the interior of the car, which necessitated removing everything else from the interior. When the job was finally done, though, the car was a real pleasure to drive, and quite reliable. Sure brings back the memories!

    Like 2
  13. PairsNPaint

    Had one new – a brown ’70 GT6+. Took off the bumpers. Cut the front springs, put in a Group 44 rear transverse leaf (IIRC had 3 thick leafs instead of 6 and no arch). Big F&R sway bars, 13 x 5.5″ Ansen aluminum rims with B60 x 13″ tires filled the wheelwells so much I had to roll the fender lips. Friend used to say it was so stiff, if you ran over a cigarette butt you could tell whether it was filter-tipped or plain end.

    Trashed the 1-1/2″ emission Stromberg carbs for a set of leaky 1-3/4″ SU’s on a TR6 manifold, had to cut a hole in the hood for the pots to clear – eventually welded in a hood bubble from a TR4. Cut off the stock muffler and put a straight-thru glass pack coming out the middle.

    In 3 years went through 3 clutches, 2 radiators, 2 transmissions, 3 alternators and countless dash switches. Broke down constantly.

    Most fun I ever had.

    Like 2
  14. Cobra Steve

    The Triumph GT6 is one of the most underrated sports cars out there! It shares many parts with the Spitfire and there is a great network for replacement parts out there. Its styling is reminiscent of the Spitfires entered at Le Mans. Some folks refer to it as the “poor man’s E-Type”. Having owned both, I prefer to believe the E-Type is nothing more than an overgrown GT6 as the GT6 has better proportions with less overhang.

    What’s more is Triumphs are affordable and relatively easy to maintain. No bullcrap computers, buzzers, air-conditioned seats and cup holders, self-driving/correcting nonsense for me. Give me pure driving pleasure without the troublesome frills and analog, not digital instrumentation!

    Triumphs and old MGs are actually safer to drive as it is virtually impossible to steer with one hand, shift with the other, accelerate (and brake) with the right foot whilst the left foot is engaging the clutch pedal…therefore, NO TEXTING! The beautiful noises emitting from the engine and exhaust will make the distraction of “hands-free” phones difficult if not impossible, as well.

    A word of caution, though. For those of us who live in the south, be prepared to insulate your right calf and thigh with NASA-quality heat shielding…or better yet, only drive early in the morning or late evening in July and August months!

    Like 7
  15. Dave Member

    Bought one of these in late 1970 when I got back from Nam. At 6’2”, I had to practically lay down and roll into the seat! This was no problem for a 19/20 year old though. The GT6+ was an absolute blast to drive! Especially up and down the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia. However, marriage and the birth of my first daughter caused me to trade the Triumph on something more family oriented! Growing up ruins everything!

  16. Doug Edwards

    A cool car for a person 5’3″. I have a terrible time getting in & out of these cars for midgets.

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars

      Like, even an MG Midget? I thought my Spitfire was spacious by comparison when they were both sitting next to each other in my garage.

  17. Will Owen Member

    Well, I’ve shrunk that critical 1.5″ … unfortunately, that’s all from the hips up; it’s my LEGS that don’t fit in these! If there were room enough to drive spraddle-legged I’d do it, but the reality is that any GT6 I’m in will have to be as a passenger.

    Like 1
  18. Little_Cars

    Faded exactly like my BRG 1970 Spit. Mine was yanked out of a goat pasture.

    Like 1
  19. David

    I had two of these, a ’69 stock, great car, ran it everyday for 4 years, second one was rolled and the engine was marginal, so I fixed the body, flared the fenders and put in a Buick 215 with a Chevy 4 speed and T6-rear suspension. Engine/trans dropped in like it belonged there. Rear was a bit tricky to do. Handling got a little squirrelly but once you got used to it, it was OK. I a straight line it was awesome.

  20. Tom Biss

    I am in Tucson . can I come by and see it?

  21. Paul

    I always thought 69 was the year the 6+ came out, I had one

  22. Cobra Steve

    Page 127 of John Thomason’s “Triumph Spitfire and GT6 A Guide to Originality” he writes the Mk II (the “+” for the U.S. market) was introduced in July 1968. And the fact I have seen some ’68 Mk II models offered for sale throughout the years….

    Like 1
    • Vegaman Dan

      The model year and vehicle year are not always the same. Some regions would only issue a title with year when the vehicle sold, not when it was built, so you could have a car on the lot for months and end up being titled a year after it was built.

      Model year, not vehicle year, is usually a better way to go by looking at styling queues like bumper height, full dashboard versus center only, exterior door handles, etc.

      Like 1
  23. Csinuts Stephen Vaughan Member

    This is a 1970 GT 6 Plus NOT A 68…. I have one for sale , bought it two weeks before my 18th Birthday…. I’m 61 now!

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