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Triumph TR5-6

Triumph TR5-6 Published: 16th Dec 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph TR5-6
Triumph TR5-6
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Why should i get one?

If the earlier TRs have a touch of the Morgan about them, the later six-packed sportsters were rightly regarded as the heir apparents to the late lamented Big Healey; a fitting accolade to mark the last of the ‘real’ TRs. The addition of the brawnier six-cylinder saloon engine gave the ageing TR not only a shot in the arm, but also changed its character, from bright and breezy to smooth and speedy. Fuel injection – a real advance for a British car maker back in late 60s – was the main talking point yet, if anything, these later TRs are even easier to own than the earlier TRs.

What can i get?

The TR6 was announced in September 1968, replacing a short-lived (TR4-looking) TR5 which was barely offered for a year, making them much rarer and coveted. The TR6 was a 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 spoiler 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 it was the Yanks that really took to the TR where almost 78,000 carb-fed variants were exported. A fair number were subsequently returned to Blighty with many converted to RHD. For the record, a little under 14,000 PI models were made: 7900 for the UK market.

What are they like to drive?

Morgan Plus 8s and most 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. By today’s standards the TR6 is only diesel hatchback fast 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’. In other words, don’t get hung up over what engine is fitted. On the other hand, emission-strangled US cars (engines designated CC and – after October ’72 – CF) developed less than 105bhp.

That heavier ‘six’ up front results in a TR that’s not as agile as the earlier four-pot forebearers and with a wooden and fidgety ride demands, as Autocar remarked in its road test, you take a firm hand to it and show it who is boss – just like a Big Healey! 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 only big difference between the TRs lies in its 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 experts can now make the system work efficiently and reliably. Up until a decade ago a sporadic supply of new TR6 bodies were made by BMH but sales were slow leading to a full range of panels being supplied instead. New chassis frames are available but can be expensive indeed. In common with all TRs, specialist and club support is simply brilliant.

We reckon

The last of the great TR Triumphs that’s a better, safer buy now than when they were new, the TR6 has been a coveted classic for decades and will always remain so meaning bargain buys are largely a thing of the past – as for TR5s… But when you consider how much Big Healeys can now sell for, they still represent fine value – and serve up good old fashioned hairy-chested (as opposed to medallion man) fun.

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