Triumph Sports Cars

engine swaps and other performance upgrades, plus "factory" V8s (Stag and TR8)

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Ianp
Ian Porteus
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
(7 posts)

Registered:
07/03/2010 11:27PM

Main British Car:
Soon to be TR6

TR6 To buy or not to buy...need help with the answer
Posted by: Ianp
Date: July 04, 2010 12:40AM

Hello all.
I have wanted a TR6 since I was a teenager. The time has arrived to buy one...maybe.

This forum is terrific, I have already learned a few important things by reading some of the old threads. There are many other questions I need answering though, before deciding to buy one or not.
About me: I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. My mechanical skills are more than the average person, as I went to a “vocational” high school and took autobody, automechanics, welding, machine shop, sheet metal and 4 other shops. I even painted a car, once, in 1982. I worked as an electronics and Quality Assurance technician, so have done a lot of prototyping, light machining, wiring and am familiar with hand and power tools and spray painting (albeit on small enclosures, not cars). I was a QA inspector on the refurbishment of 2 nuclear reactors at Pickering nuclear generating station (it took 2 years for my brothers to stop making mushroom clouds over Toronto jokes), so you know I have an eye for detail and am a stickler for doing things right and have no tolerance for lazy, slipshod work.

The TR6 I'm after is a daily driver in good condition that drives comfortably at highway speeds and requires minimum time and money maintaining/fixing. My apartment didn't come with a garage, so I can only do a limited amount of work on it myself, and don't have the equipment to do much on it anyway. With my other vehicles I have done basic tune ups, oil changes and minor repairs, although I am confident of doing more complicated work given a good set of instructions.

I have read the buyers guide on a couple of sites.
My concerns with the TR6: A person from the Toronto Triumph Club said in a recent email that “$ is the operative word”. This worries me.
I have heard that these cars require a lot of time and money for maintenance. Is this accurate?
I do expect to have to do more maintenance on a 35-40 year old car than on a modern one. The engine and trailing arm mounts seem to be the areas that cause the most problems.
Having to tune the carbs. Is this very difficult to do, and does it have to be done often?
A vague question: In general how much work is needed to keep a good condition TR6 on the road?
Does a newly properly rebuilt engine require much more maintenance than a modern engine?
I'm considering a modern engine mainly because I think it would require less time spent on maintenance than an original. I won't be doing any racing, just need enough power to run comfortably on the highway.

The options for buying I see are:
Buy a Ratco or Fastcars frame, a body shell and interior from somewhere and basically have a reproduction vehicle made with updated parts and engine.
A less expensive option would be to buy Triumph from BMW, build a factory, hire staff and have them build me one.
Buy a newly rebuilt TR6.
Buy one that needs a little work and have it done properly.
Buy a vehicle in good condition and have a modern engine put in it. In an earlier post Alan Atkinson said the LY7 engine is cheap and fits without cutting. Who makes the LY7?

There is no hurry, I am doing extensive research before going ahead with this. Being employmentally challenged for far too long, I am starting a 1 year Paralegal Diploma course in August , so won't be buying anytime soon, unless a really good deal jumps up and bites me on the bum (and the good fairy deposits many $ in my bank account).
Sorry for the novel. Your thoughts and advice on how to proceed will be greatly appreciated.

Ian
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/04/2010 10:28AM by Ianp.


WedgeWorks1
Mike Perkins
Ellicott City, Maryland
(460 posts)

Registered:
07/06/2008 08:07AM

Main British Car:
1980 Triumph TR8 3.5 Litre Rover V8

authors avatar
Re: TR6 To buy or not to buy...need help with the answer
Posted by: WedgeWorks1
Date: July 04, 2010 09:28AM

Welcome fellow Nuclear QA! I too did the rounds as QA/QC for 5 years in the US at BWR plants. While not working outages I restored British Cars. The information your getting from other Triumph owners seems to be on the $$$$$. I have seen the prices of TR6s go from 3K to 4K for decent drivers needing TLC to 9 or 10K for the same cars in this day and age. My opinion is to find a well maintained or restored TR6 if your going the original route. The rear suspension if work can become a fun project. The front suspension is not as bad. Frame rot and body tub rot can make a project turn into a restoration. The original 6 engines are nice and do have a throaty growl to them. Carbs are like any other Zenith Stromberg british.....if they are not broke then dont fix them! Transmissions of going original are dependable and most desirable are the overdrives. If your going to do an engine swap really research and ask questions; 4, 6 or 8 cylinder? New or Old? 4, 5 or 6 Speeds? With upgrades and more power/toorque the rest of the car may pr may not handle it so now you have opened up a new can of worms of suspension, brake and rear differential upgrades......once you go down that road its hard to turn back!


tr6turbo
Dale Knapke
Sidney, Ohio
(165 posts)

Registered:
08/24/2008 09:44PM

Main British Car:
1972 Triumph TR6 Ford 2300, 4 Cyl Turbo

Re: TR6 To buy or not to buy...need help with the answer
Posted by: tr6turbo
Date: July 04, 2010 10:21AM

We need all the TR6 guys we can get to go against all the MG guys here. I am very partial to the TR6 and welcome aboard. I agree with Mike abut starting with a very solid car even if it costs you more to get started. In the long run it will save you money. Good luck with your project.


Ianp
Ian Porteus
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
(7 posts)

Registered:
07/03/2010 11:27PM

Main British Car:
Soon to be TR6

Re: TR6 To buy or not to buy...need help with the answer
Posted by: Ianp
Date: July 04, 2010 10:47AM

Hi Mike and Dale.

Thanks for the advice.

I modified my post after reading your comment Mike. I would be swapping a modern engine because I think they would be more reliable than a rebuilt original. If I'm wrong on the reliability of a rebuilt engine, please let me know. I won't be doing any racing, so only need enough power to drive comfortably on the highway, which around here is about 120km/h (70mph). Any swap would have to be worth it reliability wise, and I wouldn't want to start making a lot of modifications to the car because I would have to pay a shop to do them, which will get costly fast.

Ian



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/04/2010 10:51AM by Ianp.


motek
George Smathers
Spokane, WA
(118 posts)

Registered:
09/12/2009 02:45PM

Main British Car:
1967 Morris Minor (48 hp @ crank!), 1971 TR6 302

Re: TR6 To buy or not to buy...need help with the answer
Posted by: motek
Date: July 04, 2010 03:56PM

Ian,

It sounds like you know what you are doing but I don't think you can do much without a garage. Mine has been sitting in my third bay since August. I've been working on it every weekend for the last year and I don't see it being done until Spring.


George


BWA


(321 posts)

Registered:
04/13/2010 08:13PM

Main British Car:


Re: TR6 To buy or not to buy...need help with the answer
Posted by: BWA
Date: July 04, 2010 09:37PM

I guess I might as well post my two cents worth. At the end of April I bought a 76 with 80000 miles on it for $6500 (CDN) and I felt it was a decent deal as it had very little rust and the previous owner had all the documentation on work that had been done on it. I have a double car garage and a certain number of tools as well as mechanical ability. I have already fixed a lot of minor things on this car by improvising or buying the parts. I did have a local shop do some major work on the rear-end; welding the diff mounts and reinforcing them, new urethane bushings, tube shock conversion, and new u-joints. This work cost me $2200.00; in retrospect I feel I could have done a bunch of this work myself. The welding I still would have got done by someone else as I have no welder or any welding experience; that will change soon as I am going to buy a mig welder and learn how to weld. The rear-end still requires more work as it has to be aligned; the right rear tire has too much negative camber and rubs on the inner fender when the car turns a hard right corner. This problem is is made worst by it having 205-70r-15 tires which are the right diameter but are too wide. The shop that did all the work took it to an alignment shop and they could not align it as the frame was too much out of square; this car was never in an accident. I think that this car was like this from the beginning, the guy that owns the shop who is a Brit commented that the engineers at Triumph were not the brightest lot! Anyways I will be taking this car back to the shop one more time and they will be fitting Good adjustable swing arm brackets on it and the alignment problem will go away, this will cost me another $600.00. After this the car will not darken the door of one of these repair shops. I plan on driving this car till the engine or tranny craters then I will put in either a Ford or Gm V6 in this car. The goal is to expunge all the crappy things that make these cars so unreliable.
My suggestion is buy a car that has a good body and fully documented work that has been done on the suspension (especially the differential mounts) and have fun driving it as you plan your engine transplant. Learn how to fix the little things and keep the the beast running with as little repair shop time as possible. I am starting to hang around with a guy that has restored many sports-cars and he is a wealth of information. You should do the same. I have researched the possibility of rebuilding the engine and tranny with the idea of getting more horsepower from the engine and believe me it is not cheap. If you want I will send you my spread sheet. The issue of rebuilding is getting complicated as not all parts are equal; stuff from China is making its way into the TR parts market and this stuff is substandard.
Don't wait till you are 57 like me to do this, seize the moment!


Ianp
Ian Porteus
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
(7 posts)

Registered:
07/03/2010 11:27PM

Main British Car:
Soon to be TR6

Re: TR6 To buy or not to buy...need help with the answer
Posted by: Ianp
Date: July 13, 2010 03:47PM

Thank you Byron and George.
Your experience is very useful to me.
I am going to get the best car I can afford, and maybe buy one which is already modified. I have no interest in doing a restoration, and work done at garages is simply too expensive. As I said in my original post, the car is for driving, not building or fixing.
The Toronto Triumph Club has their monthly meeting on the 19th, so I will be going there to meet some owners and get a look at some of their cars.
Another concern I have is whether I will be able to drive the car in winter or not. I can't afford 2 cars, but some tire makers have winter tires for sports cars. We don't get that much snow in Toronto, and the roads get cleared quickly when it does snow. Definitely something to ask about at the TTC meeting next week. I would love to hear from anyone who has driven their car all year round.
We'll see what happens as I continue researching.
Here's an article from Canadian driver.com about driving a sports car in winter:
[www.canadiandriver.com]
I'm going to start a thread about driving a sports car in winter in the Pub forum.

Ian.



rficalora
Rob Ficalora
Willis, TX
(2637 posts)

Registered:
10/24/2007 02:46PM

Main British Car:
'76 MGB w/CB front, Sebring rear, early metal dash Ford 302

authors avatar
Re: TR6 To buy or not to buy...need help with the answer
Posted by: rficalora
Date: July 13, 2010 04:34PM

I've always liked TR-6's. Been watching one in a garage not far from me for a few years. Rarely moves; never seen it on the road. Looks great from the road. Owner has a Miata that he seems to use a little.


BWA


(321 posts)

Registered:
04/13/2010 08:13PM

Main British Car:


Re: TR6 To buy or not to buy...need help with the answer
Posted by: BWA
Date: July 14, 2010 12:14AM

If you plan on driving in the winter get a car with a hardtop. In my youth I owned a 1962 Sunbeam Alpine with a hardtop and I drove it in the winter when I went to college. This was an experience as Alberta winters are very cold! I had to cover the radiator with card board with a little 3" diameter hole in the center. The heater barely put out enough heat to defrost the windshield; being a dedicated sportscar buff I motored on in blizzards and -10 F temperatures. I am sure the TR6 has a better heater and defrost system and the big 6 generates more heat.
My biggest concern about driving a TR6 in the winter in Ontario is the amount of road-salt they use. When I was looking at various TR6's I checked one out that had been an Ontario car and from 50 feet away the body looked great until you looked at it close up and you could see all the rust was covered over with bondo and it was painted with a beautiful red paint job. I just thanked the owner for his time and walked away. If you insist on driving a TR6 in the winter get those plastic rear fender well splash guards from Moss Motors and hopefully this will cut down on the salty water from getting up by the tail-lights. The other thing to do is make sure the underside of the car is sealed up as best as possible with paint and undercoating and make frequent trips to the car-wash in the winter.


Ianp
Ian Porteus
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
(7 posts)

Registered:
07/03/2010 11:27PM

Main British Car:
Soon to be TR6

Re: TR6 To buy or not to buy...need help with the answer
Posted by: Ianp
Date: July 15, 2010 02:19PM

Thanks again Byron.
The wheel arch splash guards look like they would work well. I would also add mudflaps if it looked like there was still a way for salty water to get into the rear panel, and get the car rustproofed.

If I can find a reliable and reasonably priced method of rust prevention I see no reason not to drive the TR6 in the winter, except on the few days we get storms, and then most cars are best off the road, anyways.

Ian


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