The Truth About Cars » triumph http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:47:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » triumph http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1979 Triumph Spitfire 1500 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-triumph-spitfire-1500/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/junkyard-find-1979-triumph-spitfire-1500/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862769 09 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe low-value British or Italian sports car that sits in rough condition in a yard or driveway for decades, then takes that sad final journey to the local U-Wrench-It— it’s been a staple of the American self-service wrecking yard landscape for what seems like forever. The MGB and Fiat 124 Sport Spider are by far the most common examples of this breed, followed by the TR7, Alfa Romeo Spider, and the Triumph Spitfire. So far in this series, we’ve seen this ’65, this ’67, and this ’75, and now we’re getting right to the end of the Spitfire’s 19-year production run with today’s ’79.
06 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLike just about all junkyard convertibles, the interior of this one is pretty well roasted to oblivion by many years of outdoor storage.
07 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s possible that someone plucked this tube header before the car got crushed (I shot these photos last October in Northern Californai, which means this car is probably shredded metal bits in a shipping container in Shenzhen at this point), but there’s not much demand for smogged-up 1500s these days.
05 - 1979 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThose horrible 5 mph crash bumpers! Even in this apparently rust-free condition, nobody was willing to rescue this forlorn British Leyland machine.

The emergency run to the hospital in a Spitfire seems like a risky proposition, but it worked out fine in the commercial.

From the land of British Racing Green.

For the man who has lived long and well, it offers a respite from boredom.

This ad offers a more accurate portrayal of real-world Spitfire driving on American highways.

Chicks dug it, though, especially after pulling .87 Gs on the skidpad.

British Leyland had something for everyone!

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Crapwagon Outtake: Honda’s Turbo Triumph http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/crapwagon-outtake-hondas-turbo-triumph/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/crapwagon-outtake-hondas-turbo-triumph/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 13:20:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=857497 download

 

Honda is gearing up to launch the all-new, turbocharged Civic Type-R, but they’ve actually made a boosted Civic before. And it was badged as a Triumph. The last Triumph ever, in fact.

Banovsky’s Car of the Day tells the story of the Triumph Acclaim Turbo, a badge engineering job between Honda and British Leyland that saw a fancy Civic (known as the Ballade) fitted with a turbocharged and built in a British Leyland factory. It was apparently one of the most reliable British Leyland cars ever built, but only three remain today. And it was also the last car to ever wear the Triumph badge.

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Junkyard Find: 1967 Triumph Spitfire Mark III http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1967-triumph-spitfire-mark-iii/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/junkyard-find-1967-triumph-spitfire-mark-iii/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 14:00:11 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=737417 05 - 1967 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSome old cars have managed to maintain a steady trickle of fresh examples into self-serve wrecking yards since I began crawling around in such yards, back in 1981 or so. The kings of this phenomenon are, of course, the Fiat 124 Sport Spider (in a few years of this series we’ve seen this ’71, this ’73, this ’75, this ’78, and this ’80), and the MGB (so far, this ’67, this ’71, this ’75, this ’79, and this ’79 with Toyota 20R power). The MGB’s British Leyland cousin, the Triumph Spitfire, has been a rarer but just-as-steady find for me; first this ’65 and then this ’75, and the prehistory of this series gives us this Spitfire-sibling ’67 GT6 as well. What these cars have in common is near-scrap value when in rough shape, respectable price tags when in nice condition, and a tendency to be hoarded by guys who plan— someday— to turn the former condition into the latter condition. Eventually, reality sets in and a car that sat in a driveway from the time of the Chowchilla Kidnapping until a few months ago takes its final trip. Here’s a rust-free, fairly complete, restorable early-ish Spitfire that I saw last month in a Northern California yard.
06 - 1967 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEvery time I write about a junked car like this, readers proclaim that the chrome pre-5MPH-crash-rule bumpers must be worth tremendous sums. However, these yards are prowled seven days a week by guys who make their livings buying parts that are worth much more than the flat-rate price charged by big junkyard chains (e.g., BMW E30 limited-slip differentials, Lexus Nakamichi amplifiers), and they never buy these bumpers. An overdrive transmission from an MGB or Spitfire is another story; that will be gone within two days of the car hitting the yard.
01 - 1967 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinLikewise, Jaeger and Smiths gauges aren’t worth a whole bunch (though some VDO gauges— and I ain’t saying which ones— are always worth grabbing).
04 - 1967 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mark III got the new-for-1967 1296cc pushrod four, making an optimistically rated 75 horsepower. A junkyard shopper wanted the SU carbs, but the engine is doomed to the shredder and subsequent trip to China via the Port of Oakland.
02 - 1967 Triumph Spitfire Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars are fun to drive, they look cool, and they make fine projects thanks to the abundance of cheap used parts. Someday, though, the flow of those parts will dry up… and then we’ll all be sorry that we didn’t buy pre-Malaise Spitfires when they were cheap.

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Junkyard Find: 1965 Triumph Spitfire http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1965-triumph-spitfire/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/junkyard-find-1965-triumph-spitfire/#comments Tue, 19 Nov 2013 14:00:40 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=655762 12 - 1965 Triumph Spitfire Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBy far the most numerous British sports car in junkyards these days— and, in fact, for the last few decades— is the MGB. We’ve seen many of these cars in this series, but today’s find is just the second Junkyard Find Spitfire, after this ’75. The Spitfire had a long production run, 19 years total, but Spitfires just weren’t anywhere near as sturdy as their MGB cousins and most of the non-perfect examples got crushed long ago. Still, every so often a forgotten project gets evicted from a garage or back yard, and that’s probably what this happened to this battered ’65 that I spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area self-service yard last month.
07 - 1965 Triumph Spitfire Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Mark 2 Spitfire was built for the 1965 and 1966 model years and was replaced by a version with a 1296cc engine instead of just 1147cc.
16 - 1965 Triumph Spitfire Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThere’s not much demand for tiny pushrod engines these days, nor is anyone likely to buy these cute little SU carburetors.
14 - 1965 Triumph Spitfire Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMany, many years in the California sun for this car.
10 - 1965 Triumph Spitfire Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt doesn’t seem very rusty, but Spitfires just aren’t worth enough to make this one worth restoring.
17 - 1965 Triumph Spitfire Down On The Junkyard -  Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThese cars like to break axles, so perhaps some Spitfire owner will pull the ones on this car.

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Junkyard Find: 1980 Triumph TR7 With V8 V6 Swap http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1980-triumph-tr7-with-v8-swap/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/02/junkyard-find-1980-triumph-tr7-with-v8-swap/#comments Mon, 20 Feb 2012 14:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=431680 We’ve seen a couple of “poor man’s TR8” race cars in the 24 Hours of LeMons: you take a TR7 and drop a junkyard V8 out of a junked Land Rover into it. This works better than both the “really poor man’s TR8″ (a TR7 with Buick V6 swap), in the sense that it sounds a lot cooler, and is (slightly) more reliable than a Triumph Slant Four-powered TR7. Plenty of folks did this swap to their street TR7s as well, and I’ve found an example in a Denver self-service wrecking yard.
For a crash course in the history of the TR7/TR8, check out the latest Ate Up With Motor essay. It’s all there.
Somebody got the intake from this wrecked ’80, but the rest of the engine is still there. The junkyard next door always has several complete V8-equipped Rover SUVs, which no doubt make for easier engine extractions than you’d get with this car.
The interior in this car is in very nice shape, so let’s hope that some TR7 owner grabs the good stuff before the whole mess gets fed to The Crusher. Hey, look— manual tranmission!

Note: As several readers have pointed out, this car does not have a V8 swap. It has a V6 swap. I failed to look closely at the engine, no doubt because I was so preoccupied with mental images of angry, just-got-off-the-picket-line British Leyland workers assembling this car with pickaxes and monkey wrenches.

10 - 1980 Triumph TR7 with V8 Swap - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Lucas Electrics' Greden 01 - 1980 Triumph TR7 with V8 Swap - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Lucas Electrics' Greden 02 - 1980 Triumph TR7 with V8 Swap - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Lucas Electrics' Greden 03 - 1980 Triumph TR7 with V8 Swap - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Lucas Electrics' Greden 04 - 1980 Triumph TR7 with V8 Swap - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Lucas Electrics' Greden 05 - 1980 Triumph TR7 with V8 Swap - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Lucas Electrics' Greden 06 - 1980 Triumph TR7 with V8 Swap - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Lucas Electrics' Greden 07 - 1980 Triumph TR7 with V8 Swap - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Lucas Electrics' Greden 08 - 1980 Triumph TR7 with V8 Swap - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Lucas Electrics' Greden 09 - 1980 Triumph TR7 with V8 Swap - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Lucas Electrics' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Junkyard Find: 1975 Triumph Spitfire http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/junkyard-find-1975-triumph-spitfire/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/junkyard-find-1975-triumph-spitfire/#comments Fri, 18 Nov 2011 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=419096 A less-than-perfect Spitfire, like the MGB, typically spends a decade or three as a get-around-to-it-someday project car under a tarp in the driveway… and then it’s off to the junkyard when reality finally sinks in. I haven’t seen a beater Spitfire for at least a decade now, so this is one of many smoked out of its hiding place by high scrap-steel prices.
53 horses. Do we really need to talk about that?
This one has been picked over pretty well, which indicates that some other Spitfires— ideally, pre-huge-crash-bumper examples— will benefit from this car’s sacrifice.

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Quattroporte, Stretch Limo, Model T, and More: The Greatest Gathering of LeMons Cars In History! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/quattroporte-stretch-limo-model-t-and-more-the-greatest-gathering-of-lemons-cars-in-history/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/quattroporte-stretch-limo-model-t-and-more-the-greatest-gathering-of-lemons-cars-in-history/#comments Fri, 03 Dec 2010 15:30:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=375299
With nearly 180 entries, the 2010 Arse Freeze-a-Palooza will be the biggest 24 Hours of LeMons race in history, and it also promises to have the highest concentration of never-belonged-on-a-road-course awesome machinery ever gathered in one location. At this moment, I’m wearing the LeMons Supreme Court judicial robes and busting cheaters, which means that I’m finally allowed to share some of these fine machines with you and not ruin their grand entrances at the track.

We’ll start with a car we’ve been waiting for years to see at a LeMons race: a Triumph Spitfire. The going rate for a LeMons-grade Spitfire currently stands at about negative 200 bucks, but for some reason no team has been willing to run one… until now! Yes, the Sex Pistons will be running their punked-out ’80 Spitfire this weekend, and they haven’t even swapped out the Triumph Slant Four with a– how shall we put this nicely?– less terrible engine.

We’ve already made it clear to the Sex Pistons that they’ll need to blast the X-Ray Spex in addition to “Never Mind The Bollocks.” In fact, let’s hear some Spex now!


We’ve also been waiting quite a while for our first LeMons Mini Moke, and now it has finally happened. The two-time Index of Effluency-winning madman behind the Air Prance SChitroën and the Mr. Bean Austin Mini (which will feature blow-through turbocharging this weekend) has obtained the World’s Most Horrible Mini Moke and converted it to– get this– a replica of the Apollo Lunar Rover. Could it get any better than that?

Normally, such a feat would be impossible. However, at this race even a Mini Moke Lunar Rover can’t be assured of a slam-dunk Organizer’s Choice award, not when it’s facing off against the likes of the Fiaguzzi Fiat 600, which features a Moto Guzzi 1,000cc engine swap. Yes, the legendary Italian Stallions have replaced their X1/9 for a much cooler Fiat, and they’ve done this to it:

There’s nothing wrong with the 600 that nearly doubling the displacement can’t fix, right? Let’s see how it looks at a recent Thunderhill track day:


If there’s one thing we love in LeMons racing, it’s Italian cars. And the more needlessly complex an Italian car is, the more we love it! That’s why the Maserati Quattroporte has long been one of our Holy Grails, and Pendejo Racing has brought one this weekend.

You may remember Pendejo Racing as the team that brought the most radically depreciated LeMons car in history to the last Arse Freeze-a-Palooza; they claim the inflation-adjusted purchase price of their ’80 Quattroporte beats even the S600. All we know is that this car makes us deliriously happy.

Can you think of any reason that a full-stretch Lincoln Town Car limousine doesn’t belong on a crowded road course? Neither can we! The veterans who have been running the Lemon Demolition CRX (and the People’s Curse front-end loader) since the early Altamont races have caged this beast and painted it pink for its bachelorette-party theme. Best of all, I’ll be suiting up and driving the Rolling Chicane Racing Town Car this weekend, because members of the LeMons Supreme Court have a standing invitation to take the wheel of this excellent race car when and if time allows.

Prior to this weekend, the oldest 24 Hours of LeMons car was the Rocket Surgery Renault 4CV (unless you count the ’51 Chrysler Saratoga– a Carrera Panamerica car we allowed as a last-second replacement for a dead LeMons car in Lousiana– which we don’t). That record was annihilated at the ’10 Arse Freeze; make way for the Beverly Hellbillies’ ’31 Ford Model T! Assembled by Black Metal V8olvo crew chief Hellhammer, who knows a thing or two about cheap Model Ts, has horse-traded enough parts to squeeze a ’31 T body, a Model A frame, a Pinto suspension, and a Ford 302 into a LeMons-grade $500 budget. The team will be stacked with the same Spec Miata demons who drove the V8olvo to victory at the last Buttonwillow race, so this glorious heap might actually have a hope in hell of contending! Even if it falls apart on the second lap, it will all be worth it.

We’ve seen the Angry Hamster Honda Z600 before, but enough has changed between its last thrown-rod-a-minute race experience and today that we consider it a new car. The best-engineered LeMons car in history now has a Honda CBR1000 engine in place of the series of extremely fragile Honda V65 Magna engines it once ran. Will the Hamster finally live up to its incredible power-to-weight potential? We shall see.

There’s more! Sharing the track with the Quattroporte and the limo will be this black-bumper MG.

And this Shelby Lancer! I’ll try to post the usual timelapse video of the BS Inspection tonight, if the effort of inspecting 180 cars hasn’t made me completely incoherent by that time. Check in later!

LBW10-Preview-01 LBW10-Preview-02 LBW10-Preview-03 LBW10-Preview-04 LBW10-Preview-05 LBW10-Preview-06 God Save Our Spitfire! LBW10-Preview-08 1980 Triumph Spitfire 24 Hours of LeMons race car LBW10-Preview-10 LBW10-Preview-11 LBW10-Preview-12 Fiat 600 with Moto Guzzi engine swap LBW10-Preview-14 LBW10-Preview-15 LBW10-Preview-16 LBW10-Preview-17 LBW10-Preview-18 LBW10-Preview-19 LBW10-Preview-20 LBW10-Preview-21 LBW10-Preview-22 LBW10-Preview-23 LBW10-Preview-24 LBW10-Preview-25 LBW10-Preview-26 LBW10-Preview-27 LBW10-Preview-28 Town Car Stretch Limo 24 Hours of LeMons race car LBW10-Preview-30 LBW10-Preview-31 LBW10-Preview-32 LBW10-Preview-33 LBW10-Preview-34 LBW10-Preview-35 LBW10-Preview-36 LBW10-Preview-37 LBW10-Preview-38 LBW10-Preview-39 LBW10-Preview-40 LBW10-Preview-41 LBW10-Preview-42 LBW10-Preview-43 LBW10-Preview-44 LBW10-Preview-45 LBW10-Preview-46 LBW10-Preview-47 LBW10-Preview-48 LBW10-Preview-49 LBW10-Preview-50 LBW10-Preview-51 LBW10-Preview-52 LBW10-Preview-53 LBW10-Preview-54 LBW10_Preview-Moke-01 LBW10_Preview-Moke-03 LBW10_Preview-Moke-02 LBW10_Preview-Moke-04 LBW10_Preview-Moke-05 LBW10_Preview-Moke-06 LBW10_Preview-Moke-07 LBW10_Preview-Moke-08 LBW10_Preview-Moke-09 LBW10_Preview-Moke-10 LBW10_Preview-Moke-11 LBW10_Preview-Moke-12 Mini Moke 24 Hours of LeMons car LBW10_Preview-Moke-14 Beverly Hellbillies Ford Model T 24 Hours of LeMons race car Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]>
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Piston Slap: TR4 Compression Depression…Or Not? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/piston-slap-tr4-compression-depression%e2%80%a6or-not/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/piston-slap-tr4-compression-depression%e2%80%a6or-not/#comments Wed, 28 Apr 2010 15:57:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=354573

Ken Dowd writes:

I’ve got high compression readings of over 190 lbs on all cyls on my TR4.  The head has been reworked twice that I know of, about .050 has been shaved.  I got these readings after putting the engine back together with all new sleeves, pistons, rings and a head/valve job.  I CCed. the head at 55cc and crunched  the numbers on several online compression ratio calculators and figured my compression to be about 9.5:1   Compression ratio on the stock engine is 9:1. Would you expect to see such  high compression readings with such a small increase in compression ratio?

I’ve searched the world over and cannot find a spec for compression on a healthy 2138cc TR4 engine.  Do you have any experience with after market solid copper oversized (thicker) head gaskets to bring down compression? That is the only thing I can come up with. Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Sajeev answers:

Some people would kill to have this problem. Because this isn’t a problem: TTAC’s award winning 24 Hours of LeMons team made it a point to bump up compression with hotter cylinder head on our ’72 Datsun 240Z. As long as the cooling system is up to snuff, this is a good thing.

An extra half-point of compression is easy to compensate for, netting more power in the process.  Over 190 psi (assuming its still under 200 psi) of compression is fine for most motors, unless there’s a problem with this motor that isn’t common knowledge. But let’s assume everything’s kosher.

Assuming the TR4-spec timing curve is retained, you might need more CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) from the carburetor to make your Hot Rodded TR4 play nice. Minor adjustments (or a high performance part) for your vintage carburetor will make it happen. I am sure a speed-shop can custom tune your carb with an A/F (Air/Fuel) gauge to ensure maximum power with a safe ratio of air and fuel.  But I’d go to the drag strip on “Test ‘N Tune” days, bring your carb/distributor adjusting tools, and tweak to avoid detonation while searching for what tune gets you the fastest time slip.

What I’m trying to say is, you can have a lot of fun with this “problem” you uncovered.

But let’s revisit your concern, thicker head gaskets are a great way to lower compression.  Everyone from backyard grease monkeys to the whiz kids at RUF do this so an engine is more accepting of forced induction. It’s definitely your Plan B if carburetor/ignition tuning doesn’t work out.

(Send your queries to mehta@ttac.com)

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Curbside Classic: Triumph TR-6 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/curbside-classic-triumph-tr-6/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/curbside-classic-triumph-tr-6/#comments Tue, 27 Apr 2010 14:31:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=354314

For decades, British roadsters had a spell on Americans. And the rivalry between the MG and Triumph, the two leading exponents of the genre, was legendary. They each had loyal adherents to the respective marques, and the stiff competition kept the improvements coming, even if not exactly at a breakneck pace. But by about the time this TR-6 first appeared in 1969, the race was essentially over: the new MGC was DOA, and the MGB was quickly slipping into its ossification period, while the Triumph reveled in its final incarnation of the classic formula: old school, but with a healthy kick of life in it yet.

The TR Series began with the 1953 TR-2. Always a notch more powerful and expensive than the corresponding MG, the TR-2 established not only the TR formula, but was the very basis for the whole series until the all-new TR-7 appeared in 1975. The TR-6 is a direct descendant of that hoary and rough-riding TR-2, including its old-school body-on-frame (BOF) construction.

Meanwhile, the MGs enjoyed a much more vigorous rate development, given that in 1953, the MG’s TD was still very nineteen-thirties in look and feel. MG’s went through at least three major new platforms, and the MGB was a substantially more modern unibody design than the corresponding TR-4. Not that it made much difference.

Triumph’s underdog status always led to creative and incremental solutions, and the TR range continued to evolve in ways that most directly addressed its most immediate shortcomings. The 1961 TR-4 had a handsome new body designed by Michelotti, and rack and pinon steering. In 1965, The TR-4A was blessed with an independent rear suspension to tame the very much alive rear axle. And in 1967, the TR-5, oddly called TR-250 in the US, finally replaced the rude old four cylinder with a much smoother and lusty 2.5 L six. And yes, it’s true; the old four really was a design that was also used in a Ferguson tractor engine, for what its worth. The Brits liked a bit of sportiness while plowing the field.

The TR-5 is my personal favorite of the bunch including the TR-6, since I’m rather fond of the earlier Michelotti design, which looked its best with the revised grille on the TR-5. With its 150hp fuel-injected engine (not in the US), it had quite brisk performance for its day, not to mention a lovely exhaust note. And with the overdrive, one had seven gears to play with. Triumph’s first sports car, the Roadster, was an attempt to compete with Jaguar’s XK series, at lower cost. The TR-5 and 6, with their six cylinders and more refined suspensions, finally approached that goal of a poor mans Jag.

Even though I’m not so hot about the TR-6′s styling, which was obviously a low-budget face and tail lift done with help from Karmann re-using the TR-4′s center section, it has its charms, especially if British Roadsters are one’s thing. It’s clearly the most vibrant, appealing and civilized of its era, given the how the MGB became such a pathetic thing, with its hippo-nose, jacked up suspension and feeble 77hp four. The TR-6′s arrival was embraced; the MGB’s decline could only be endured, at best.

The TR-6 appeared in 1969 with generally enthusiastic reviews, as the old TR magic was still to be found in the right settings. Since US bound TR-6s had a desmogged engine with only 104 hp to the British market’s 150 hp, acceleration in that era of Detroit muscle cars was hardly breathtaking. But it had a useful torque curve, and certainly sounded right, especially with the top down. Ergonomically, the Triumph was obviously still old school: a narrow and cramped little cabin; getting in was more like sliding into a sleeping bag. But there was that handsome dash board (literally) to savor as a compensation to the lack of comforts.

The TR-6 was the best selling of the TR series so far, and some 95 k were made from ’69 through 1976. The fact that 86k of those were exported gives a pretty clear picture what the intended market for the TR-6 was. They might just as well have put the Stars and Stripes on its flank instead of the Union Jack.

The beginning of the end happened about the same time this TR-6 first appeared in 1969, and reflected the relative dynamic qualities of the two parent companies that had just merged to form British Leyland. The much smaller Leyland was essentially called on to bail out the moribund BMH (formerly BMC). Leyland was clearly the better managed of the two, but it quickly got bogged down in the mind boggling morass of over 100 companies that made up the new company, making everything from appliances to tractors (real ones, that is). Soon, the government would have to bail out the sinking conglomerate.

It was clear that Triumph, as part of the original Leyland would get preference over MG in the sports car segment, and an all-new TR-7 would soon see the (dismal) light of day as a replacement for the the TR-6. But that’s the story for another CC. TR-6s like this obviously nicely restored one enjoy an enthusiastic following. Its engine is easily upgraded for a bit more punch, and its ride is much less punishing than its predecessors. Just the ticket for as summer’s day drive into the mountains.

Top Gear TR6 segment here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL0JQJNnLWo

More Curbside Classics Here

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