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Triumph GT6

Triumph GT6 Published: 11th Jan 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph GT6
Triumph GT6
Triumph GT6
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Dubbed the poor man’s E-type, while the Triumph GT6 will always be cheaper than the Jag. It’s starting to gain on TR6 residuals

With its long flowing bonnet hiding a potent straight six engine, a pert rear end with a useful rear hatch welded together by low svelte hull, Triumph’s GT6 is justifiably compared to Jaguar’s E-type but without the high cost and complexity.

Historically, prices have always run in parallel with the Spitfire but, of late, the GT6 has distanced itself from its little brother and viewed as a classic in its own right, commanding values as strong as the traditional TR sports cars and shows no signs of levelling off. This year could be a great time to own this economy E-type that serves up its own driving thrills.

Dates to remember

1966

A development of the racing Spitfires, the GT6 débuted in October, using the Vitesse’s 95bhp 1998cc straight-six engine and four-speed manual gearbox with optional overdrive.

1968

Mk2 is announced benefiting from a TR5 cylinder head to liberate an additional 10bhp. More importantly, the rear suspension is substantially modified with the adoption of superior rotoflex rear suspension in place of the swing-axle layout to improve the coupés wayward handling.

Styling changes included the higher bumper design of the Mk3 Spitfire along with louvres in the top of the bonnet and the front wings giving this Triumph a real E-type like air. Rostyle wheel trims replaced the disc wheels while interior ventilation was also greatly improved and a heated rear window was now standard. American versions of the Mk2 were badged GT6 Plus.

1969

A Mk2 saw upgraded interior trim, reclining seats but there was also a beefed up structure to meet the new US crash test regulations.

1970

In line with the Mk4 Spitfire, the GT6 Mk3 gained major styling changes, including much smoother (de-seamed) lines and a tail that aped the Stag.

1973

Late in the day, the GT6 gained the superior if simpler Spitfire rear suspension, new instrumentation, standard brake servo and cloth seating.

Buying advice

Essentially, it’s like a Spitfire to own albeit chassis frames aren’t available new (a Vitesse one is too big although you can modify a Spitfire type but it’s involved) although nearly all panels are available new and are fairly easy to fit. Check under the false boot floor where the metal floor meets the wheelarch. The bottom of the hatch aperture fills with water then rots out and the double-skinned leading edge of the roof where it meets the front windscreen also needs a check. Other areas are arches, doors etc. Poor shutlines signify poor past repairs to the chassis (jack up the car and watch door gaps if poss). Transmissions are weaker than Spitfire. If the car has Rotoflex suspension, make sure the couplings are okay but the main concern is condition of the single rear spring. At the front end, it’s the trunnions.

The ‘six’ is basically sound but leaks oil and the cylinder heads can crack. Crankshaft end float, if excessive, see thrust washer drop out (watch pulley movement as aid works the clutch pedal).

What makes this classic so special to drive and own in 2019?

The E-type analogy works quite well; while it’s no match for sheer power, the GT6 motors nicely enough (not that much slower than an average TR6 or MGC) and the Triumph’s compact size (the cabin’s a snug fit) makes it feel livelier and more agile than it is. Overdrive is a boon when cruising and the GT6 rides better than the Spitfire. The only real fly in the ointment is the tail happy handling that particularly concerns the earlier non-rotoflex cars – but there are all sorts of mods to eradicate this – Mk3s handle obediently enough with modern radials.

Best buys & prices

In total some 41,000 GT6s were made , the most popular being the Mk1 strangely with the Mk3 the least (13,042 sold) and sales actually amounted to a fraction of what the Spitfire achieved only slightly bettering the Vitesse, so rarity is on its side. The Mk3 is the nicest and easiest to drive and own, the earlier mounts are the most thrilling and dearer to buy. Great GT6s have been known to sell for as much as £20,000 – a big rise of late – and specialists say it’s becoming hard to meet the newfound demand.

From £6000 target price £12,000



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