Sunday, August 12, 2012

History of the Classic Triumph TR6

In 1969 Triumph produced the successor to the TR4-5-250 and dubbed it the Triumph TR6. Fans had been anticipating a new revision to the venerable British sports car line for some time. And in October 1969 they got it. The Triumph TR6 was mechanically identical to the Triumph TR5 and Triumph 250, except for the addition of wider wheels and a front anti-roll bar

The most impressive change, and the one that makes the Triumph TR6 stand out as one of the finest looking British sports cars, was the hood and front end design. The decidedly masculine hood, grill and bumper come together to give the sports car an intimidating look. Intimidating enough to make all other European and American sports cars of the day look positively wimpy.

Under that manly hood, the Triumph TR6 featured a 150 bhp, 2.5 liter 6-cylinder engine that was carbureted in the U.S. to meet emissions standards. In the mid 1960's the U.S. began to regulate fuel emissions. For Triumph to import the TR6 under newly minted Federal regulations, they had to tone down the power from 150 bhp in the UK to 104 bhp in the U.S. Why Triumph kept a carbureted engine and did not move to the more efficient fuel injection is a point of speculation. Part of the speculation is that the car could be priced cheaper with a carburetor than with fuel injection, and that Lucas electrical was not up to the task of producing precise enough metering to allow the enhanced engine output to meet emission standards. the last thing Triumph wanted was to ship a batch of cars over to have them rejected at the port.

As with the Triumph TR4, TR4a and TR250, the TR6 was configured with Lucas electrical components and wiring. This classic British Sports car could push 1/4 mile in 17.9 seconds, and could cruise comfortably at 109 mph. Even for such a large engine, and not much insulation, the Triumph TR6 was surprisingly smooth, quiet and easy to control. The benefit of tight rack-and-pinion steering allowed for quick, responsive turning. At normal performance the TR6 could comfortably cruise at 3370 rpm at 70 mph. In fact, drivers had to push the engine to 5200 rpm in order to redline it. with quick shifting the driver could easily quick shift to 4th gear, then slip it into overdrive for that extra kick.

Despite this setback, the Triumph TR6 had plenty of power, and was a surprisingly fast and nimble sports car. It swept down the road at 1/4 mile in 17.0 seconds from a standing start. Impressive as hell for the day. the engine would purr along at 3370 rpm at 70, but would pop into shifting excellence at 5200 rpm.

Triumph added a front anti-roll bar that provided extra stability over the TR4 and TR250.

One of the styling features of the Triumph TR6 were the prominent wheels. The red band and deep set wheel wells provided a distinctive look to this classic British Sports Car. The combination of the anti-roll bar and wider wheels gave the TR6 corning stability at high speeds and extra feeling of security even on bumpy roads. Stopping power was handled by a disc-drum combination that handled the weight of the TR6 nicely.

The interior of the TR6 was designed to be masculine and sleek. The standard Triumph polished wood dash holds the instrumentation is easily visible accessible areas. The tach is tach directly in front of the driver and the rest of the dials not too far away to the right. The pedals are not situated well for heeling-and- toeing, the throttle being too high for that; headlight dimming is by a foot switch with a directional signal flasher lever on the left side of the steering column-a better arrangement than the GT6's two-stalk setup because of the possibility of an OD stalk on the right side of the column.

The bucket seats felt sporty, but did not lose any comfort. The required headrest actually added a nice cosmetic addition when the top was down. The padded steering sports the Triumph logo but could not be adjusted without a toolkit. The interior carpet held back excessive noise even though the door panels were painfully this and know to do little protection against wind rattle once the cars aged a bit.

The Triumph TR6 went through several mild changes before it expired in July of 1976. The loss of the Triumph TR6 was a mistake British Leyland never recovered from. When they left the classic male fantasy sports car for what they perceived as "The shape of things to come", in the TR7 they made the wrong call and destroyed a great brand.

Today the Triumph TR6 is a class car renowned by car collectors world wide. Some 34 years after the TR6 was cancelled the car still holds up against the stylings of any of the modern two seater sports cars on the current market. Owner lucky enough to get their hands on one can attest to the mystique of this alluring man's sports car.

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