Hagerty.com

The Triumph GT6 has a lot going for it, and for now it’s temptingly affordable


#1

Picture in your mind a sloping fastback roofline, ’60s curves, a purring straight-six engine, wood-laden interior, and competition pedigree. Ingredients that usually make for an expensive vintage sports car—something like an Aston Martin, Jaguar, or Bentley. Now think smaller. The truth is you’ve never really had to be a blue-blood to afford such a car, because there’s a certain little Triumph that checks all the boxes.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/02/07/triumph-gt6-temptingly-affordable

#2

And there’s the problem…costs as high as a new Camry for something that will never have popular appeal. They didn’t sell many because it was a little too quirky in design and still is today. Maybe if it was retromoded with a new GM V6 it would be a bit more acceptable.


#3

But who wants a camry for a weekend toy? All these brits are a bit quirky, Ive owned my share of British cars and a bunch of USA muscle. Just makes them interesting and a conversation piece at your local car cruise. Seen some V6 conversions as well as V8 conversions in these and MGs, Austin Healeys, etc… You get a faster, better running car, but if its not done right, you have too much power for what the stock suspension, etc. was meant for. Its all in what the buyer is looking for and what someone wants to pay.


#4

The GT6 is a car that I would love to own, but they don’t accommodate tall people very well. They are great handling cars with some minor upgrades. They can get warm in the summer which is why I like them as a classic “winter driver”. Park the leaky convertible for the winter and drive this warmer, dryer, stiffer sports coupe until spring. I agree with the writer, they are undervalued - probably the best classic car buy out there right now - if you can find one! The GT6 is a driver’s car for those who want to hear a great exhaust note, smell a little oil and feel the road. I’d drive a Camry if I had to, but for completely different reasons.


#5

Jorr, I have the solution for the “tall” problem! Year ago I bought a rolled-over GT6 and discarded the body from the firewall back. It’s been replaced with a Spitfire 1500 body, but I kept the 6’s doors so I have a six cylinder, well suspended, wing windowed GT6 convertible. With the top down, the headroom is unlimited! It’s a car I’ve loved and held onto for many years. I’m glad to see the market finally realizing how cool that car is, even if I don’t have the hard top version.


#6

Please note one glaring error in the article: " An even bigger change came in 1970 with the Mk III, which had … another revision to the rear suspension to cut costs and simplify." That “revision” did not come until the 1973 model year, when Triumph adapted the Spitfire’s swing-spring revision to the GT6.


#7

I am pleasantly surprised to see an article on the GT6! I have a 1973 MKIII and its a great car to drive. I am 6’4" and its a little snug, but when you are in your in! Yes its Hot on a Hot day, so I enjoy evening drives when the sun is on its way down. As this article suggests these cars were forgotten with little to no value for decades. The result: most survivors were treated with low budget repairs, paint, and maintence. Held together with Love!

My biggest advice to anyone looking to buy a GT6 is to really look underneath. Yes for the usual rust and corrosion, but more to see what’s really there. I didn’t, and I wish I did. My car had a chassis swap at some point with the donner being a Spitfire and not a GT6. The rear suspension was hybrid with some creative engineering preformed. Lots of creaks, moans, and vibrations when driving at high speeds.

Just my luck, a MKIII frame came up for sale and now rebuilding the chassis and driveline. Will be ready to hit the road again this spring and hear that lovely exhaust note for a fraction of the E-Type, 240Z or M3 price tag!


#8

Ouch! I’m still getting over selling my BRG GT6 MKI. The rear suspension has an interesting history: First, the simple (and dangerous) single, transverse leaf spring. Second, the more sophisticated, A-arm like pieces were added, and finally…Almost back to the original configuration but with the “swing spring” function added. This is what I finally put in mine, along with a small “spacer” to give the rear a little negative camber and she was good to go…
Moved to the deep south and with no A/C, succumbed to the ever present heat and humidity and sold it…

Hmmmmm…Maybe I should see if I can get her back?!

Glad to see this little car getting some long overdue credit.


#9

I was never a fan of a two-seater that was not an open car; such cars as the GT6, MGB-GT, 240Z, etc., do not appeal to me. That said, the styling was nice on the GT6, and the last editions had an even further improvement in the rear-end styling. And, the L6 adds to the appeal; it is very unclear to me why anyone would want to swap in a ubiquitous V6.


#10

I had one of the first to be offered by our dealer in Rochester, NY, way back when. A light fast and true GT. My wife and I traveled many a rural road in Up State NY. and throughout the New England. A wonderful ride.

Jim


#11

Great car, I have always wanted one. Drove the tires off my TR6. My only problem with this article is the affordable part ? A good quality GT6 is not exactly afortable, at least in my area of the country. To me, anything in the $15-20 thousand range is a big investment for most folks. I do most of my own work, but the cars I come across seem to be a bit to rusty for the price being asked. I will still keep my eyes out for a GT6, I’m sure one will end up in my garage at some point. Great article though.


#12

My first new car was a ‘68 GT6, wire wheels, wood dash, all the things that made a sports car the dream of a 20 year old who just became employed full time. OK, so a blown head gasket at 17,000 miles was a bummer (And cost me 6 cases of beer, the going cost when you had five pals offering advice) and the warranty was only 12 months/12,000 miles, so no help from BL, but was it ever fun! That archaic rear did bite my brother once (Fortunately before it bit me) so I tread a bit more softly after that. I fit too, and at 6’ 1" and 185 lb. it surprised many folks. With delusions of exotics, I traded it in on a '65 E-Type 4.2. Which would I rather have back…the Triumph!


#13

I owned a 71 Spitfire for 2 yrs, then moved up to a 73 GT6. The GT6 was the nicer of the two. A lot of fun, comments from others, and hours of work.That was 30 yrs ago when I didn’t mind the hours of small repairs. Rust is a huge problem, keeping the carbs calibrated and suspension probs. I sold it back in 81 for $2000, two weeks later the new owner called to tell me that at 60 mph the front wheel flip on its side and he slid down the freeway grinding the bottom of the front fender. The tie rod or knuckle broke on the passenger side. If you buy one their a cute car for the money and fun to drive, but require more up keep than most cars. Daryl


#14

E-type comparison? Not. Sorry but this is the ugliest of Triumphs, and doesn’t deserve to be regarded as collectible IMO. I love Spitfires and TR’s but this thing is an unfortunate product of corporate desperation.


#15

Money pit does not mean Triumph GT … it means “ANY BRITISH CAR” from the 50’s and 60’s. However, the best way to view a British classic, is to watch as you drive down the road. It is inevitable that you will see one sitting on the shoulder, waiting for a flatbed. More than likely, the owner will accept “ANY” offer for it, right where it sits.
At least, if you have an Austin Healey 3000, you can still find an abundance of parts, albeit expensive. They are worth the fun, but definitely not worth the frustration.
Collectible value: be careful; the values are set by most auction houses and we all know how honorable some of them are. Definitely makes for good press releases. Almost like the Beckett collector car book, valuing collectible (???) sports cards.


#16

My first car was a '67 GT6. Wonderful car when it worked correctly. It had a Herald gearbox that could not handle the power (rebuilt mine twice, first time within first 800 miles). Mine was first GT6 in Italy when second gear went out Triumph garages could not repair because they had no manuals or parts. Old Citrroen mechanic in Naples fixed it. Also had two of the wire wheels fall off . And it had Smith gauges and Lucas electronics…had to replace several electrical items and gauges. The epitome of Lucas - the Prince of darkness and the parts falling off this vehicle are the finest that British engineering can make. Would never, ever recommend this car to anyone…but it was pretty.


#17

I realize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but calling it the ugliest of Triumphs is a bit harsh. When I saw one for the first time, I spent about 10 minutes walking around it and promised myself I would own one someday. Yeah, the swing axles sucked, so I replaced mine with Rotoflex and a good sway bar and now it handles great. The stories you hear about having to replace the Rotoflex joints every 2 years are bull hockey. And the wire wheels with their tiny splines were a bad idea. By now nearly all of them have been replaced with steel Spitfire wheels or Minilites. As for replacing the 6 with a GM V6, why would you want to? Admittedly mine has been tweaked but it is anything but underpowered and when I start it up at a cruise night, people turn around to see where that sound is coming from. I have owned mine since 1978 and it is the only car I own that has not come home on a flatbed. As long as you keep up with basic maintenance, they are perfectly fine cars and an absolute blast to drive fast. The GT6 gets no respect even from other Triumph owners (see comments above). I have several friends who own them and we drive the heck out of them. I drive it to out of state events a couple of times a year and have never had any problems I couldn’t deal with. Keep bad mouthing them, it keeps the prices down for those of us who appreciate them. I sold a '73 GT6 to a friend several years ago, maybe I should offer to buy it back.


#18

When I first saw them I thought they had too much after thought to their design. But now there is something interesting about them. Perhaps it the capturing a time in design. It certainly is not another jelly bean design. I like seeing the grille, but I did not know of the various versions that followed with improvements, but lost the grille. So now I have evolved and appreciate them for what they are, and I think they are interesting in their own right. Many of the older Triumphs I have driven are odd with the weight on the front wheels. at speed they can be terrifying. My answer to that is put an Alfa 2 liter running gear in it. I am sorry if that offends. There is a 54/55 Healy with one of those conversions running around my town and it goes like blazes. Forget the Chevy V6.


#19

Funny what you remember: “when driving our test GT6 at night in the rain with the lights wipers, defroster and rear window defogger on, our test car coasted dead to a stop, and we were unable to restart it. The generator could not keep up with the current draw and it drained the battery.” Consumer Reports in their first and only test of a GT6 mk III.

What the author casually mentions is the GT6 withdrawal from market due to emissions control-weakened engines. That’s like saying GT6’s disappeared because their tires went flat. A spaceship from Mars landing and sharing heretofore unavailable technology would have been less newsworthy than the introduction of the Datsun 240z to the entry-level sports car market at that time.

The 240z simply changed the way everybody thought of inexpensive sports cars: as used to being underpowered, under suspended, un reliable, The english car companies caught in a similar meltdown to Detroit at that time were simply Pearl Harbored by the Japanese invasion. Paul Newman gave up racing TR6’s and went to Datsuns in a new york minute at the time.

From resting on their laurels 50’s to becoming the patron saints of sports car mediocrity overnight is what happened to Triumph, Austin Healy and Morris Garages when the 240Z arrived and no reply was forthcoming from the British.

and even when ultimate performance in a beginner sports car was no longer demanded, the Mazda Miata was a better british-style sports car than the British ever made.

i never owned a Datsun 240z or miata, but soldiered on in a sunbeam alpine, tr6, mgc-gt and TR8; before i finally realized that there is no replacement for displacement and joined the vette club. i did drive a used 260z back from washington dc for a local used car dealer in the early eighties; the smell of gas wafting through the cabin from the rust holes in the top of the fuel tank, so Datsun Z’s were no saints either.


#20

My first car. Bought a wore out 68 in the early 70’s. Worked on it on the weekends to be able to commute to college (35+ miles) during the week. Loved every minute of the commute and the wrenching sessions. LBCs are like interesting fun women, they have character and are fun! If you want transportation get a Camry. Nothing worthwhile comes without work. Sold it to buy a 6 months old 74 Midget in 75, started to grow up and need a little less wrenching sessions. I keep thinking of adding a GT6 to our LBC fleet; 60 Bugeye; 66 AH BJ8; 69 MGC; 62 FHC E-type and a 54 AH 100 with a stock 283 Chevy (great cruising car)… People without the LBC character flaw just don’t understand. Great article…