Vehicle Profile: 1969-1976 Triumph TR6

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The 1969 through 1976 Triumph TR6 was known as the quick, nimble, what-a-blast-to-drive and totally British sports cars of the day.  The Triumph TR6 was mostly unchanged throughout the 8 year production run. (unfortunately the end of a great era for Triumph and all true British sports cars, as we knew them).  The Triumph TR6 was only produced as a front engine, rear-wheel drive, 2-door convertible sports car.

The new-for-1969 body was only slightly redesigned by the famous Karmann group of Germany (while maintaining many components, both body and chassis wise, from the previous TR4/A and TR5/TR250 models). The front-end was widened and modernized, while the rear-end was given an angular, “Kamm-back” styling (which was becoming popular at the time). The only engine available was the 2,498cc (152.4-cid or 2.5L), in-line, 6-cylinder with twin “SU” (or later Stromberg) carburetors, producing around 105hp (the European market, and “British” only versions were available with P.I., or “petrol-injection” and produced in the area of 150hp). This torquey little, OHV, pushrod design, 6-cylinder, was coupled to a fully synchromesh, four-speed, manual transmission (and an optional, electrically switched, “overdrive” transmission was also available).

The wheelbase was a mere 88 inches, the overall length was only 155.5 inches, the total width was 61 inches and it was only a short 50 inches high.  It weighed a paltry 2,300 lbs (+/-). The Triumph TR6 was a great little “Sports car” package, that could reach 0-60 in approximately 8.2 seconds, run through the 1/4-mile traps at around 16.3 seconds and attain a top speed of around 120 mph. Nothing earth shattering, but a lot of fun, none-the-less!

The interior of the Triumph TR6 was typically “British” in styling and appointments. It had plenty of odd switches and levers, full instrumentation and comfy, sporty seats. It was cozy, yet, actually roomy enough for a person over 6-ft tall. It had the typical wood veneer dash board of the day, plush carpeting all over the place and a nice-feeling steering wheel. With the redesigned rear-body area by the aforementioned Karmann group, there was a lot more room for luggage and/or groceries than in most previous sports cars of this size.

For mid-1973, and again, due to U.S. Government safety mandates, a huge pair of (and most people agree ugly) black rubber bumper “over-riders” were added to both front and rear bumpers (to meet the 5 mph impact ratings). The Triumph TR6 was of steel frame/steel body design for its entire production run and had a semi-trailing arm rear, independent suspension with coil springs and knee-action, lever-style shocks. The front disc brakes and rear drum brakes were more than adequate, with the power assisted booster system. The steering was handled nicely by a rack and pinion style system, with huge 15-inch wheels/tires (Redlines were the cats-ass) all the way around.

Sketchy records indicated that some 96,000+ Triumph TR6 cars were produced from 1969 through 1976 and over 83,000 of those ended up in North America. That made the TR6 the most popular and most produced Triumph in the TR series history (the TR series ran from 1953 through 1980).  The Triumph TR6 is a very desirable and somewhat valuable and unique collectible vehicle in today’s market. Many of these cars have rusted away to nothing, leaving very few original units out there in good condition.

Classic car owners help Hagerty teach young driver to shift gears

Scottsdale, Arizona – resident Jim Bauder admitted “a lot” of hesitation about turning over the driver’s seat in his immaculate 1958 Triumph TR250 to someone who never before had manipulated a manual transmission. But, Bauder said, “I taught my three children to drive a stick and had only one failure” — when his daughter burned up the clutch. Undaunted, Bauder fixed the car and his daughter tried again, and became so skilled at coordinating clutch pedal and shifter that she not only moved to San Francisco, but bought and drove a stick-shifted Honda Civic.

We share Bauder’s experience, and that of other Phoenix-area classic car owners who offered up their manually shifted cars — including a 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spyder Veloce, a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and a 1960 Ford Galaxie — when Hagery Insurance called for cars and car owners to participate in the Hagerty Driving Experience, which the company says is “a rare opportunity to receive hands-on instruction on how to drive some of the most unique and iconic classic cars on the road.”

The program starts with classroom instruction and then moves outside for a lesson on routine vehicle maintenance — including checking air pressure and fluid levels — before anyone turns a wheel.

Hagerty launched the program to celebrate the inaugural Classic Car Appreciation Day in 2011. Hagerty makes arrangements to block off a section of private pavement — here in the Phoenix area, it was the driveways in front of the Scottsdale Automobile Museum. Hagerty staff provide classroom instruction and lunch.

In addition to clientele’s privately owned classics, the program has become supported by the Ford Motor Co., which provides some brand new cars for the youngsters to drive as well. Driving starts with the car owner or instructor at the wheel. After a couple of laps, instructor and student swap seats.

Yes, the students often chug the cars to a stall. But the car owners are impressively patient.

“He helped me a lot and was very supportive,” 17-year-old Paul Heinrich said after repeatedly stalling out Mark Esbenshade’s ’58 Alfa.

For his part, Esbenshade brushed off any strain on his car’s components. “Hey, somebody taught me to drive stick” he said.

Students and their parents offered various reasons for seeking such instruction, though only a few had manually shifted cars at home.

Dorrie Sibley said she brought her 16-year-old son, Breslin, because someday he might be out with friends who’ve been drinking and regardless of the vehicle they’re in, she wants her son to be ready to step in as designated driver and get everyone home safe and sound.

Hagerty has several more such sessions planned this year: April 13 at Houston, June 7 at Denver, July 12 in Orange County, Calif., Aug. 2 at Toronto and Sept. 21 at Las Vegas. If you get a call about offering up your car, please don’t hesitate to respond in the affirmative.