1973 Triumph TR6

Estimate: £19,000 - £21,000

The Background

There’s a lot of heritage tied up in the elegant lines of the TR6. Harking back to an era when British roadsters were among the most desirable motoring propositions in the world, this particular model represents the zenith of Triumph’s TR series. The model line dates back to the 1950s; the TR1 was essentially a prototype, refined and developed into the production TR2 which hit the showrooms in 1953. This gently evolved into the more powerful TR3 in ’55, and then a crisp new Michelotti body design ushered in the TR4 for 1961. The format was gradually but relentlessly honed and refined throughout the sixties, with each fresh iteration boasting modernised styling and mechanical improvements, until we arrive at the rakish TR6 of 1968. This thrust the bloodline firmly toward the future, with a front-and-rear restyle by Karmann imbuing the roadster with a contemporary look that has aged remarkably well.

Interestingly, while this is a thoroughly British offering in terms of design, heritage and realisation, the real success of the TR6 was in the export market: of the total production run of 91,850 cars, only 8,370 were sold in the UK. (These things were particularly popular in the US!) Each one boasted the venerable 2.5-litre straight-six, as found elsewhere in the larger saloon models, and an early TR6 is perhaps the best entry into this intriguing genre of British motoring history – because not only does it look the part, but it’s built to handle too… and that muscular horsepower is amusingly exploitable on demand. If a 1970s drop-top is the formula you desire, the TR6 makes an irresistible case for itself.

The History

The current keeper has owned this car for around four years, and the reason he bought it is precisely the reason that you’re looking at it now: essentially, that it’s the best example available. It wants for very little, it’s an original-spec classic in fabulous condition, ready to be pressed into casual B-road use, show entries, or even daily driving. Prior to his ownership, the TR6 underwent a full and comprehensive restoration back in 1999, in which the body was beautifully restored and the engine rebuilt.

 Prior to this turn-of-the-century makeover, the car had enjoyed a cherished and pampered life – the current mileage of just 81k is genuine, backed up by documentation that shows the miles creeping up ever-so-gradually year on year. At the time of restoration it had covered around 76,000 miles, meaning that the rebuilt motor has driven only casual mileage since. 

The Triumph has been garaged since its resto, and looks as fresh today as it did when it left the paint booth. Indeed, it’s this gently usage that’s leading to the sale now – the car just isn’t getting driven a lot, and the owner feels that the time is right to sell it on to somebody who’ll enjoy the TR6 as it deserves to be enjoyed. 

The Paperwork

The documentation which accompanies this TR6 does much to inspire confidence in its honest history; while the paperwork doesn’t go right back to its birth, it stretches as far as the early 1980s where we can see that the mileage was around 25,000. The old MOT certificates are present, showing the mileage increasing annually in line with expectation, so the numbers on the dash can be believed.

Photographs of the restoration in 1999 are also available – being physical photos rather than digital copies they have aged somewhat as one might expect, but they tell the story with clarity. The owner has also kept fastidious records of the TR6’s servicing since then. And as a fun extra detail, the car was featured in a magazine in 2012, a copy of which is also present.

The Interior

The focus of the restoration was to turn the car into the best version of itself and maintain factory specs, so you won’t find any aftermarket bucket seats or modern audio installs here – this is all as Triumph intended. The doors close with a pleasing thunk, the windows operate as they should, and nothing is loose, missing, holed or stained. 

There are one or two cosmetic imperfections which the owner points out would be items to replace if the new keeper were to pursue concours trophies; there’s a little surface damage around the glovebox lid, and the driver side door pull could perhaps benefit from replacement. The radio doesn’t work – although with the glorious sound of that straight-six, perhaps you don’t need it?! Overall, however, this interior is a period-perfect snapshot of British roadster culture.

The Exterior

The photos of the car tell quite a story, and we can assure you that the exterior really is as good in person as it looks here on your screen. We’re talking proper show car quality – the restoration has been carried out to a supremely high standard. The paint is flawless, the panel gaps are perfect, there’s no hint of corrosion anywhere throughout the body. The chrome is faultless with no pitting, dents or corrosion, the lamps are all good, the seals are fresh. And it’s the same story underneath – there’s absolutely no structural rot, and it’s evident that the car has never been in an accident, everything is straight and true.

There’s no hard-top present, but the soft-top hood is in excellent condition; there’s also a new tonneau cover. The wheels are in perfect order, shod in 205/70 tyres with excellent tread. Quite simply, this TR6 really is astonishingly tidy.

The Mechanicals

The engine bay is superbly presented, with the paintwork looking as-new and the completely leak-free engine sporting a chromed cam cover and satin-painted inlet. The documentation details photographic evidence of the engine rebuild, and the car has only covered a few thousand miles since… and you can believe it. The engine starts and runs perfectly, with the trademark growl you’d expect from those shiny twin pipes.

The four-speed manual gearbox operates as it should, engaging cleanly and operating correctly with overdrive on demand in 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

The chassis of the TR6, which was the subject of years of refinement by Triumph, sports a semi-trailing arm independent rear end along with rack-and-pinion steering, and this setup provides a surprisingly modern feel – this particular example feels as tight as a drum, with the handling offering a pleasing mix of control and softness, the steering being firm and precise, and the brakes pulling straight and strong. It’s recently received new front discs and pads, as well as a clutch pressure plate, master cylinder and slave cylinder; the brake master cylinder was also replaced. So in terms of the oily bits, everything here is tip-top.

The Appeal

If you’ve been hankering after a classic soft-top, the charms of the TR6 are undeniable. And if it’s a TR6 in particular that you’ve been looking for, this is surely the one you want. With its superb restoration having been lovingly maintained since, it’s near-mint and would take very little effort to bring the car close to concours condition. But don’t think of it as a show pony. That sublime six-pot motor is in fine fettle, wearing impressively few miles since its rebuild, and it’s just as playful as you’d hope. This car really is the full package: the chassis is remarkably sophisticated for its age, allowing you to fully exploit the power on tap, and at the same time the ride is comfortable and pliant, making for a superb grand tourer as well as a highly amusing sports car.

This TR6 is, in terms of spec and equipment, exactly as it was when it left the factory; it’s been carefully restored to correct specs, and is every inch the 1970s cruiser. With a trustworthy history and unparalleled road presence, this is the perfect combination of ‘show’ and ‘go’.

Note: The pictures in this listing have been provided by the seller.

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Auction Details
  • Year 1973
  • Make Triumph
  • Model TR6
  • Colour Red
  • Mileage 81,948 Miles
  • Engine size 2498
  • Seller Type Private
  • County Northern Ireland
  • Country United Kingdom
  • Auction ends
Bidding history
10 Bids from 4 bidders
  • Ch•••• £19,000 04/08/20
  • JR•••• £18,750 04/08/20
  • Ch•••• £18,500 04/08/20
  • Ch•••• £18,250 04/08/20
  • Sc•••• £18,000 01/08/20
  • St•••• £16,500 31/07/20
  • Sc•••• £16,000 30/07/20
  • St•••• £15,500 29/07/20
  • an•••• £15,000 29/07/20
  • oz•••• £250 29/07/20

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