1975 TR6, Viewed 5/10/2014

1975 TR6
Illustrated view of a 1975 TR6

I found this car on Kijiji. This is a 1975 British Racing Green Triumph that underwent a frame off nut and bolt restoration close to 10 years ago. The asking price is (Cdn) $18,000.

This car was a little further off than the last one (about an hour and a half), but sadly the day did not dawn in brilliant fashion, but with heavy cloud and the threat of rain. Regardless, Evelyn and I got into the car and headed out… I could see that this car was going to be a horse of a different colour as soon as I saw it in the driveway. In spite of the grim weather, it gleamed in the dull light, and it looked – to all intents and purposes – “new”. The seller had done the work on this car over a period of 5 years and his efforts showed. The exterior was close to flawless – even the wheel wells were done in BRG and were basically spotless. The interior was tan in colour and presented very nicely indeed. I did the standard under car look and the trailing arms looked good as did the “T” plate up front. This car had had minor mods done in the resto, and boasted new wiring (non-Lucas) new rear springs, which lifted the back end the smallest amount and removal of all emissions controls. Oh – and being a 1975, it has the (undesirable, to me) bumper over-riders. The car also came with a hard top, but one without glass…

The only possible issues I could see with the car was that the convertible top was a little tatty due to always being folded away and there was a little rust in the engine bay (again – painted in the exterior colour) where some brake fluid had spilled. Other than that, this car WAS pristine. So, to the drive…

Hopped in, choked it and started the car (cold day). Idled it for about a minute and the pulled way. The brakes on this one were much better than the previous, but still, were less than confidence inspiring. The engine ran beautifully, but the throttle appeared to have 2 positions; “idle” and “go”, which didn’t make for a great deal of tractability. I was wearing a pair of Blundstone boots and found that the pedals were small enough and close together enough to give me the feeling of being “ham footed”. The car was something of a shock: I had expected its handling and performance to be on par with its incredible looks, but this was not the case. The car flexed over bumps and although the engine had a beautiful sound (exacerbated by the Monza exhausts), it was sullied by all the creaks and groans that the body made as it flexed and bounced over the road. I know that TRs tend to be a little agricultural, but this was still a surprise. Finally – the car DID make a lovely sound, but, with the top down, it was LOUD… probably too loud. Evelyn and I had to shout to converse.

Have I been spoiled by my Mercedes? I had thought that as the Merc was a “basic” (entry level) Mercedes that all cars of this vintage would have similar characteristics – solidity, smoothness, pliability, tractability, and a positive feel generated through the seat, the throttle and the wheel… but again, the TR was a shock – steering that flailed a little, a throttle that seemed to be an “on/off switch and a chassis that bucks, creaks and flexes… We did not drive far, probably about 3km, before it started to rain, at which point I did a U-turn in order to get the car back to it’s owner as dry as possible.

But what now? Do I want a TR6? I’m conflicted – this is a car I have always fancied and I am surprised to find it is not what I thought…. Now I have only driven 2 of these cars… but so far the experience isn’t knocking me out.

Ratings for this car:

Value for money: 8/10
Driving Impression: 6/10
Body: 10/10
Interior: 9/10
Engine: 6/10 (the engine was great – the delivery was wanting though).
Handling: 5/10 (My 1971 Mercedes sedan handled better than this… and that – to me – isn’t right).

Evelyn’s Rankings:

Cool factor: 6
This car is in really good shape all around.
Comfort: 3
Price: 4
Likelihood that I’d join Bruce on a Sunday drive in this: More than likely, only coz it was nicer than the first. Would still prefer driving on country roads given the tight, small feel of the car.

I did not make an offer on this car. I think that the price was fair, and the car was exemplary… but I am beginning to wonder if it is actually what I want… I am deeply surprised by this as I was committed to the idea of a TR6…

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