Triumph TR6 Buyer’s Guide

The Triumph TR6 is undoubtedly one of the most distinctive classic British roadsters. This sports car has muscular looks, a real chassis and a lovely dark growling six-cylinder in-line engine. Former Top Gear presenter James May called the TR6 'the blokiest bloke's car ever built'. Be warned, this car is only suitable for tough men and women. The type that doesn't mind driving through a rain shower with the top down and replaces the contact points on a pub's parking lot. For all others: the car also has a convertible top and drives a lot nicer after the installation of an electronic ignition.


Triumph TR6 as 'poor man's Austin Healey'?

Thanks to the high production numbers (almost 100,000 have been built between 1968 and 1976), a TR6 is an affordable alternative to the Austin-Healey. The Triumph TR6 is even partly responsible for the big Healey disappearing from the stage. In the late 1960s, British Motor Holdings (the parent company of Austin, MG and Jaguar) merged with Leyland Motors, of which Triumph was a subsidiary. The management felt it was necessary to downsize the range of sports cars, in order to prevent internal competition. At that time, the Austin-Healey was at the end of its development cycle and could no longer meet the stricter requirements of the North American market. In addition, British Leyland already had a recently renewed six-cylinder sports car: the TR6. Thus the brand Austin-Healey disappeared and the TR6 survived the new business strategy. In terms of character, the cars are quite similar: both rear-wheel drive two-seaters, with a six-cylinder in-line engine and a four-speed gearbox with optional overdrive. Yet a Healey in terms of experience is a lot rougher and more spartan than the TR6 with independent rear suspension and a somewhat tamer engine (in US spec, with 2 Stromberg carburettors). Those who do not have the budget for a Big Healey, however, have the best possible affordable alternative with a TR6.

Drive train of the TR6

The six cylinder engines are solid and reliable. If properly maintained, these Triumph engines account for about 100,000 miles before it is time for an overhaul. Thanks to the simple construction, such a rebuild is relatively easy to carry out. The cylinder sleeves are removable and can be supplied new as a set with new pistons and piston rings. Worn out engines can easily be recognized by low oil pressure, high oil consumption and mechanical noises that do not sound healthy.
Gearboxes and differentials have a long service life with normal use and regular maintenance (clean oil of the correct type). Here too, however, it will be time for a rebuild at a given moment. In our workshop we regularly overhaul separate gearboxes and differentials for the TR6 and other Triumph sports cars.
The original mechanical fuel pump's rubber membrane will eventually fail, due to age and / or the effects of ethanol in modern gasoline. Read our article about which petrol to use in a classic car for more advice on this topic. New petrol pumps and overhaul kits are available in our webshop. These are known to be ethanol-resistant.
Fortunately, the TR6 is an easy car to work on by yourself. Parts are widely available for relatively low prices. Small technical problems do not have to be an obstacle to the DIY mechanic. It is much more important to find a car with a healthy chassis and a rust-free body. More information about technical weaknesses of the TR6 can be found in this blog article.

Triumph TR6 body inspection

As far as bodywork and chassis are concerned, there are only two possibilities: either you buy a car that has already been restored, or you buy a restoration project. The proverbial 'fixer' that only needs paint is an illusion. Even the youngest TR6 is now more than 40 years old and after 4 decades there are simply too many areas that can and will give problems.
If your budget is not sufficient for a well-restored car, but you also do not want to start a body-off restoration: be warned. Many cars that have already been refurbished can be worse under layers of paint and underbody coating than a rusty-looking project car. Multi-layer paint jobs are a guarantee for trouble: cured synthetic paints can 'work' with more flexible layers above them. The result is miniscule cracks, under which moisture can creep and rust can arise.

The TR6's most common weak points are the sills, bottom of front and rear fenders and the floor boards. Rust can also appear in areas where mud and dirt accumulate: around the headlight edges, around the inside of the tail lights and at the top edge of the rear wing. The rear of the boot lid and the battery box are also well-known sensitive areas. The chassis is prone to rust on the crossmembers (mounting points of the rear suspension) and the cover plate of the X-cross in the centre. Replacement sections are readily available, at reasonable prices. Keep in mind that structural repair of rust damage can only be carried out properly on a completely dismantled car.


The Triumph TR6 has an attractive, typical British interior with a wooden dashboard and a nice collection of classical instruments. The interiors will already have been renovated on most cars, as the original carpet and vinyl does not have eternal life. The triplex wood dashboard panels are known to disintegrate over time. All parts for renovating the interior are available. Make sure that the materials match the original specifications; Cars with custom-made upholstery, an aftermarket steering wheel and / or a shiny walnut wood dashboard are less desirable in our view than cars with an original interior.

Triumph TR6 classic cars for sale

At Dandy Classics we usually have one or more Triumph TR6 cars available for sale. We are particularly specialized in the purchase and sale of unrestored project cars. Our current stock can be found on the collection page.

Triumph TR3A brake service Dandy Classics workshop

DOT 5 brake fluid in your classic car? Don’t do it!

Although at Dandy Classics we are always interested in innovative products for classic cars, we have a rather traditional approach in our workshop. Our cars were designed to be serviced in a certain way, and one needs to respect that while also taking into account the many innovations in lubricants, coolants and other fluids. Take DOT 5 brake fluid for example. In theory, this is a perfect product for our classics. It is not agressive to paint and does not attract moisture. This means that in principle the brake fluid will never have to be replaced.


A practical story about DOT 5 brake fluid

So far the theory. As often as this is not always 100% consistent with practice. Especially not when a perfectly restored Triumph TR3 rolled into our workshop. As a matter of fact, it didn't roll very well anymore, as the front brake calves were quite tight. The braking system had been completely renewed and / or refurbished by a well-known company during the car's body-off restoration. The hydraulic system had been filled with DOT5.


Adhesive rubber brake parts

When removing the brake pads we noticed a lot of black contamination. These small particles had been dissolved rubber parts of the soft parts of the hydraulic brake system: the master cylinder, brake calipers and possibly the brake hoses. Pollution leads to blockages and blockages in the end lead to sticky brakes. Conclusion: The brake fluid had affected the rubber.


Triumph TR3A brake service DOT 5 fluid


The remedy

In order to switch over to conventional DOT 4 fluid, there is only one solution: Rinse the entire braking system (clean metal pipes inside) and replace all the soft parts. This comes down to a complete rebuild of the braking system. To be on the safe side, we did the same for the clutch circuit.
All in all, a full day's work and big bill for the customer. It's a shame we had to do this on a restored car which already had the hydraulic system completely renewed. In theory, opting for DOT 5 prevented advisable bi-annual replacement of the brake fluid. In any case, replacing the brake fluid every 2 years is a lot more economical than solving these types of problems.

Brake parts for Triumph TR sports cars

We keep a stock of new brake parts for Triumph TR3, which can be ordered in our parts webshop. If you want to rebuild the brake system of your Triumph, please be aware of the harmful and potentially dangerous effects of DOT 5 in your classic car.


Triumph TR2 better than new after epic restoration

The term barn find, although much used these days, does not completely apply to the 1955 Triumph TR2 featured here. We bought this car 3 years ago in Idaho, USA. It had been parked outside under a tarp, awaiting better days.

Triumph TR2 barn find in need of restoration Triumph TR2 barn find unrestored

The short door TR2 was battered up after a rough life as a track car, and was probably stored with good intentions for decades. Although the history has been lost, one could imagine this car having gone through the hands of generations of car enthusiasts with big dreams and little time or means. Who would have thought that it would one day be pulled onto a trailer and brought to the San Fransisco bay area for a container cruise to Rotterdam?.

Autoweek classics Triumph barn findOnce the TR had arrived at our shop, it was featured in an article in Autoweek Classics in 2015, together with a Triumph TR3A in similar condition. A professional photo shoot captured the raw beauty of a worn and weathered sports car for hairy chested amateur racers. But this was still an automobile, not a museum relic. It deserved to be brought back to former glory. This was certainly not going to be a job for just anyone; it needed the dedicated attention of skilled craftsmen.

Luckily, we sold the car to a man who knew what he was up to. As a marque enthusiast, he already owned several other Triumph sports cars. He brought the car to a restoration shop in Zagreb, Croatia.

A nut and bolt restoration was started. Chassis and body parts were bead blasted, and all eaten away metal was either replaced or repaired.  After seeing the first pictures of the restoration, we were very impressed with the level of quality. Definetely a Triumph for the men who brought this car back to pristine condition!

photoshoot restored Triumph TR2

We let the pictures speak for themselves - enjoy the rebirth of a Triumph TR2 in a nutshell!

body off restoration british sports car bead blasting of a Triumph TR2 Triumph TR2 in body shop Triumph body work restoration welding engine block rebuild Triumph rotisserie restoration Triumph spare parts TR Triumph TR2 chassisrestoration assembly TR2TR valve cover chromeTriumph TR2 engine bayTriumph TR2 finishing touch old english whiteTriumph TR2 post restorationTriumph TR2 restoredTriumph TR2 interior Brooklands screens

Photos courtesy of Auto Partes in Zagreb, Croatia.


Triumph TR2 model history

The Triumph TR2 was introduced by the Standard Motor Company in 1953. It was clearly aimed at the lucrative US sports car market, where it quickly became a succes. The TR2 had succeeded the underpowered and conservatively-styled Triumph sports roadster. Developed on a new ladder chassis, using readily available Standard parts, the TR2 offered superior styling and performance for its modest price.

With a production total of 8636, the TR2 is one of the rarer Triumph sports cars. In 1955 it was succeeded by the TR3, which continued to sell very well. Total TR3 and TR3A sales amounted to almost 75.000.


Triumph TR sports cars for sale at Dandy Classics

Dandy Classics buys and sells classic british sports cars. We have a continuously changing stock of unrestored project cars. The TR2 featured in this article was acquired together with a TR3A in similar condition. The latter car is still in the process of being restored, and we hope to publish pictures of the end result in the near future.


Triumph TR3 barn finds for sale


Interested in a similar project? Go to our collection page for an overview of Triumph TR sports cars for sale.



Triump TR6 parts: what are the TR6’s weaknesses?

With today's spare parts availability, mechanical problems on a Triumph TR6 are relatively easy to repair. We at Dandy Classics have many Triumph TR6 parts in stock. Thanks to workshop manuals and various internet forums, even unexperienced mechanics can already perform many basic repairs themselves. But what are the most common weaknesses you should pay attention to when purchasing or servicing a Triumph TR6?

The Triumph TR6 was built from 1968 to 1976. These sports cars are now over 40 years old. Of the cars still on the road today, most will have been restored and rebuilt at least once. In the case of a good restoration, attention will have been paid to all the details of a car. But under a shiny new coat of paint, it is sometimes hard to see if a car is really healthy and solid. During the inspection of the body, be suspicious of poor repair work around typical weak areas: sills, floors, lower front and rear fenders and the  edges around headlights and tail lights. Here, years of mud collection have often led to rust damage.

TR6 Chassis

The main area of attention is the chassis. If there is any rust damage that needs repair, it is best to separate body and chassis. This encloses hidden areas and allows the complete chassis to be bead blasted and properly repaired. Are there any traces of welding? Take note of whether this has been done properly. An important weakness are the rear traverse beams (where the rear suspension's swivel arms are mounted). Good quality replacement sections are available, but they must be well aligned before insertion. Incorrect allignment will have consequences for trailing of the rear axle, which affects handling and tyre wear.

The mounting points of the TR6's differential can suffer from tearing, especially on cars driven fast. In this case it is also easier to separate the body from the chassis, but it can also be repaired from below by removing the differential.

Drive train

As with many british sports cars, TR6 gearboxes and differentials do not have eternal life. Gearshift problems and whining noises are indicators of work ahead. Our workshop performs rebuilds for both gearboxes and differentials of the Triumph TR6.


Wear parts

Parts that wear out relatively often on the Triumph TR6 are:
clutch (and release bearing),
fuel pump (this is a mechanical membrane pump that can dry out)
rear IRS suspension parts (bearings, drive shaft, U-joints).

Triumph TR6 service

Need help with the work on your Triumph TR6? We are happy to assist you in our workshop. Do you prefer to do the work by yourself? The most common parts for TR6 and other Triumphs can be ordered in our webshop.


Triumph TR3 barn finds for sale

New arrival: 2 Triumph TR3A’s for restoration

TR3 Triumph yellow Triumph TR3A 1960 for restoration 

2 new project cars came in this week. Both of these TR3A Triumphs came out of the same barn in Ohio, where they were stored for decades. Currently looking for new owners, who have what it takes to take these cars back to former glory.

More information on the 1959 Triumph (yellow car) can be found here...

More information on the 1960 Triumph (red car) can be found here...