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Triumph TR5-6

Triumph TR5-6 Published: 6th Aug 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph TR5-6
Triumph TR5-6
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Why should I buy one?

The later six-packed alternatives have been regarded as Big Healey heir apparents ever since the awesome Austin was killed off. That’s an entirely fitting accolade to mark the last of the ‘real’ hairy-chested TRs. The addition of the six-cylinder saloon engine gave this ageing sports car not only a shot in the arm, but also changed its character. Fuel injection – a real advance for a British car maker back in late 60s – was its unique selling point, yet if anything, these later TRs are even easier to own than the earlier models.

What can I get?

The TR6 was announced in September 1968, replacing a short-lived (TR4-looking) TR5 which was barely on sale for a year, making them much rarer and coveted – you’re looking at £50,000 for a top TR and 30 grand minimum for an average alternative. The TR6 successor was a simple yet clever top-and-tail facelift although mechanically was virtually identical to the TR5 which meant a full fat 150bhp of power until January ’73 when it was derated to 125bhp. For 1974, the gear ratios were standardised with the Stag’s box of cogs and now included standard overdrive, while a subtle front bib spoiler not only complemented the front end look plus also aided high-speed stability. Fuel-injected TR6s were discontinued in ’75 but carb-fed US models continued up to the following July because they were still selling well and where almost 78,000 carb-fed variants were exported. A fair number were subsequently returned to Blighty with many reverting to RHD. In terms of prices, a US TR250 or TR6 is worth a useful £10K less.

What are they like to drive?

TVRs excepted, the TR6 remains the last of the brute force he-man type of British sports cars and was ‘vintage’ even when it was new but still feels quick enough in real world situations. The detuned 125bhp engine isn’t quite so macho, but provides better flexibility (as does a swap to carbs) and is not that much slower than the 150bhp variants mainly because this power figure is now viewed as optimistic. On the other hand, emission-strangled US cars (engines designated CC and – after – October ’72 CF) developed less than 105bhp; TR4 pace in other words. That heavier ‘six’ up front means that the later TRs aren’t as agile as the earlier four-pot forebearers. As the TR5 didn’t surprisingly sport anti roll bars, the TR6 fares better though most cars will have been overhauled and uprated to some degree by now. Where that big six scores is with its high speed cruising thanks to its smoother nature and higher gearing.

What are they like to live with?

The main difference between the TRs lies in the engine and whether it’s still fuel injected as many were converted to carbs due to the infamous reputation of the Lucas design; unjustified as established experts can now make the system work efficiently and reliably – and well worth keeping. New chassis frames are available but can be expensive. In common with all TRs, specialist and club support is simply brilliant and it’s an easy car to care for at the kerbside.

We reckon

A great sports car classic, which takes over from the Healey, the TR6 can be half the price of the much rarer TR5, and for many, it’s the better all round buy.

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