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Triumph GT6 1966-1973 The Triumph GT6 is a 6-cylinder sports coupé built by Standard-Triumph, based on their popular Triumph Spitfire convertible. Production ran from 1966 to 1973. Development...
Triumph GT6 1966-1973

The Triumph GT6 is a 6-cylinder sports coupé built by Standard-Triumph, based on their popular Triumph Spitfire convertible. Production ran from 1966 to 1973.


Development history
In early 1963 Giovanni Michelotti was commissioned by Standard-Triumph to design a GT version of their recently introduced Spitfire 4 (also designed by Michelotti).

An unmodified Spitfire 4 was delivered to Michelotti's design studios in Italy and late in 1963 the prototype Spitfire GT4 was returned to England for evaluation. The styling of the vehicle was a success but the extra weight of the GT bodyshell resulted in extremely poor performance from the Spitfire's 1,147 cc (70 cu in) Standard SC engine, and plans for producing the Spitfire GT4 were shelved.

Michelotti's fastback design for the Spitfire GT4 prototype was adopted by the Triumph racing programme for the 1964 season, as it was deemed to provide an aerodynamic benefit over the standard Spitfire body shape. Fibreglass copies of the Spitfire GT4's fastback were grafted on to the race-modified Spitfires destined for competition. The Spitfire racing programme was successful, and in 1965 resulted in 13th overall and a 1st in class at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans (beating their main rivals, the MG Midgets). The Spitfire's competitive success and the continuing commercial success of the production vehicle led Triumph to re-evaluate its shelved plans for a GT version of the Spitfire. To overcome the lack of performance inherent in the heavier body style the Spitfire's 4-cylinder engine was replaced with the more powerful 2-litre (1998 cc) Triumph inline 6 originally derived from the SC and then in use in the Triumph Vitesse (which shared a similar chassis with the Spitfire and Triumph Herald). The car was further developed and refined and eventually launched as the Triumph GT6 (dropping the "Spitfire" prefix) to emphasise its GT styling and its 6-cylinder engine.

Contemporary Triumph marketing advertised the GT6 as being developed from the "race winning Le Mans Spitfires" to capitalize on their aesthetic similarities, whereas the Le Mans Spitfires and the GT6 were actually two entirely separate development programmes (the GT programme pre-dating the racing programme). However, the marketing spin was so successful that many people erroneously believed the Le Mans Spitfires to actually be GT6s.
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Triumph-TR7 1975-1981
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Triumph 1300 / TC / 1500
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Triumph Herald 1959-1971 / Triumph 12/50, Triumph 1200, Triumph Courier
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Triumph Stag 1970-1977
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Triumph 2000
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Triumph-Dolomite
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Triumph TR4 1961 - 1965
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Triumph TR3 Club
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Triumph TR5/6 Club. Triumph TR6 1969-76 // £15,000-25,000 So many two-seater open-top sports cars. So much fun to be had for remarkably reasonable money. How to choose between them? Easy... for ...
Triumph TR5/6 Club.

Triumph TR6 1969-76 // £15,000-25,000

So many two-seater open-top sports cars. So much fun to be had for remarkably reasonable money. How to choose between them? Easy... for me, it's the Triumph TR6.

All TRs have risen in value lately, but thankfully they're not out of control. The TR2, 3 and 3A are incredibly characterful but later cars are more practical. The TR4 is a lovely looker and far, far better than its ancient four-cylinder would have you expect, while the 5 and 6 give you the super-smooth 2.5-litre six-cylinder, which makes for a more relaxed and enjoyable drive at the expense of a little chuckability. The TR5 has the more classic looks but the TR6 is just as good to drive - and it will be a third cheaper.

All but the American TR6s had Lucas fuel injection. Stories about the system's unreliability may have been true back in the day, but everything is fixable. The fuel pump will likely already have been swapped for a Bosch unit, eliminating most problems. The difference between the quoted initial 150bhp and the 1973-on 125bhp may seem alarmingly significant, but changes to the way power outputs were measured mean there's little real difference.

Alternatively, the injection might have been ditched in favour of sidedraught Webers or similar, which is fine, while the US-market cars came with twin Stromberg carburettors as standard, with less power.

Parts availability is almost at MGB levels (very good) and construction is as uncomplicated as it gets, with separate chassis and relatively simple body panels. Uneven door gaps mean either a saggy chassis or poor restoration, and the worst areas for rust are usually around the rear suspension mounts, the differential mounts, the sills and under the battery.

Mechanicals are tough, easily fixed and uprated (much enjoyment to be had there). Overdrive makes a huge difference but wasn't standard fitment until 1974, and a hardtop is useful as long as you can store it.

There are still plenty of bargains in this category, especially down at the sub-£5000 end (think Spitfire, Spridget, MX-5 and even Scimitar SS1) but for a really usable sports car that can be driven all day -1 once drove one almost non-stop for 48 hours - at a decent price, it doesn't get much better and more enjoyable than the TR6.
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