I drove a Jaguar E-Type Roadster not long ago that was £400,000. Admittedly, it was a painstakingly rejuvenated and enhanced Series III by E-Type UK, but, even so, all E-Types are big money these days, even the unfettled ones. And don’t talk to me about Aston Martins from that period. I couldn’t find any drop top DB5s or DB6s that weren’t POA, which as far as I can tell means Pee Off [unless you’re outrageously] Affluent. It’s all a bit depressing if you’re a regular person seeking a bit of open-topped glamour with a six-cylinder soundtrack for the summer.
But that got me thinking. When I was growing up at my parent's place, our old next-door neighbour had a Triumph TR6, which I thought was a spectacular-looking thing. It was red with chrome wires, and when he started it up to fiddle with it – he seemed to do more fiddling than driving if I recall – I’d hear it and run out the house and bound across the hedge to listen to it. It sounded fantastic, and the fact that the mechanical fuel injection was rarely in tip top order – so it idled like a post knocker – made it even better quite frankly. That lumpiness was like a tricky-cammed race car and the air around was filled with hydrocarbons. Now, being surrounded in a bubble of the TR6's smog was probably worse than sucking on a fat Cuban, but to me it was perfume.
Then there’s its looks. The TR6 is a very handsome car, don’t you think? Sure, it’s not swoopy like an E-Type, but that’s okay. It’s just different. I love the cleanness of its lines that, to my eyes, have a certain Italian delicacy to them. They’re not Italian, though. The TR5 was penned by Michelotti, but the TR6’s creators were, in fact, German. The TR6 was produced on a shoestring budget by Karmann, which developed it from the TR5 to create something quite different and contemporary looking out of what was essentially the same car. And with a splash of German efficiency thrown in for good measure, the job took just 14 months.
The engine was a carryover from the TR5, which itself was a development of the 2.0-litre ‘six’ from the Triumph 2000. The block was modified, though, and it had a longer stroke to boost its litreage to 2.5. It also came with a different camshaft and uprated conrods and pistons plus, of course, that often troublesome Lucas fuel injection – the first British production car to have such witchcraft. This CP car produces 150hp, while the later CR models, from 1973, had a calmer camshaft that gave the engine greater flexibility but reduced peak power to 125hp. If you swap the Lucas fuel pump for another bit of Germanic efficiency, a Bosch unit, there’s no need to travel around with an ice pack to stop the thing overheating and grinding to a halt.
According to the advert, this car was once abandoned in a London street and had a tramp living in it – that can’t have been pleasant bearing in mind there’s not a lot of room inside a TR6. Since then it’s been a fully restored and has won various concours events. I assume the quoted 500 miles on the odometer is all it’s done since it was finished. Most importantly, it’s not £400,000. Nor is it £200,000 or even £100,000, for that matter. It’s yours for £46,000. In today’s overheated classic car climate that doesn’t seem too bad for blasting around the countryside in a soft-top British classic with a six-cylinder parp, does it?
Specification | Triumph TR6
Engine: 2,498cc, straight six, naturally aspirated
Transmission: four-speed manual (with overdrive), rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 150 @ 5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 164 @ 3,500rpm
First registered: 1971
Recorded mileage: 500
Price new: £1,300 (approx.)
Yours for: £45,950
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