Some things just go together - peanut butter and chocolate, beer farts and giggles, and, adding to that list, hair shirt British roadsters and BMW M-series sixes. As representative of that last category, today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe restored TR6 begs not the question of should you, as its concept is near perfection, but of could you, as its price might stand improvement.
Like Rolex watches and lady quakes, yesterday's replica Bugatti 57S proved easy to fake, but perhaps less satisfying to experience. Being as such it came with a price tag that's a fraction of what the real deal cost these days, however that didn't stop 72% of you from giving it a very real Crack Pipe loss. In contrast to that car which was attempting to be something it was not, today's restored Triumph TR6 is trying to be everything it ever was, and much, much more.
The TR blood line, from debutante TR2 through the final gremlin-plagued TR7/8s have always been highly desirable cars - well, the TR7s not so much. Of all the pre-wedge TRs, the TR6 stands out as perhaps the most hirsute and testosterone imbued, although you can trace its lineage all the way back to the original long door TR2. Triumph did a good job in hiding its ancient origins through the 3, 4, and 5/250 iterations, and did update the cars along the way. That included affixing an independent rear suspension to its flexi-flier of a frame, and, rare for the era, offering fuel injection on the late sixties inline sixes.
The TR6 was introduced in 1969 as a restyling of the Michelotti-designed TR5/250. Karmann handled the updating, which affected both nose and tail, but left the midsection untouched. Despite it being over 80% the same as before, the re-do was so successful that the 6 appears much more modern than its progenitor- although not as egregiously so as the later 7. This ‘73 TR6, in tomato soup red, hails from Kansas City, and while subtly modified externally, it packs a major upgrade underneath.
The seller, who is presently my new hero, has taken the TR down to its bare nuts and then rebuilt it from the rubber up - making the kinds of fixes you wish the factory made all those years ago. First off, he has taken the frame down to its British steel and then welded in strengthening plates making it now likely more like uncooked spaghetti than the al dente flex that was factory installed. To that he has added a plethora of parts to make the car go, stop and handle with modern sensibilities, while still adhering to visual cues that make the cars so appealing. Wilwood brakes, along with a mixture of Toyota and Nissan spindles, rotors, and hubs replace the Lockheed claspers and drums. An LSD, also from the land of the rising sun, keeps the fat Falken rubber in back from getting all spastic, and that rubber is wrapped around a set of BBS two-piecers which are perhaps the only decision on this car that I find passingly questionable.
Actually, that leads to an important admission on my part - I freaking love this car. I mean, I have always liked Triumphs, having owned a few, but this TR6 - and the changes that have been made to it - leave me feeling kind of light headed due the blood rushing someplace else. It's not just the Goodparts suspension upgrades, nor the heated Miata seats, or the six-point roll bar that does it. Sure, they contribute to the TRgasm that is this car, but what really puts the banger in my mash here is the BMW S50 out of a ‘90s M3 that lives under its long flat hood. That's 240-ponies stock, although the seller claims a cold air intake, a lack of cats, and a custom chip so in this guise it may make even more. The cast iron OHV 2.5 that came from the triumph factory produced but 104 hp.
Along for the ride here is the S50's best friend- a
Getrag ZF 5-speed, fronted by a lightened flywheel, and the whole thing is electrified via a custom loom. Where the spare used to sit now resides a racing tank to feed the fires, while the stock quick-filler is presently for show. Inside, the roll bar cossets the seats perhaps a little too tightly, but that's the price you pay for the TR6's narrow track and high sills. The dash remains the traditional wooden plank, but the Smiths gauges have gone the way of the English Empire, and are replaced with their modern counterparts. The biscuit hue of the leather and Wilton Wool cabin makes for a nice contrast to the catsup exterior, as does the tan canvas top.
What to change here? Well, my preference leans more toward Pannies than the BBS rims, and I think I'd put the bumpers back on in place of the rattle can silver pushers, as I feel they add to the overall look of the TR. Other than that, I think this car is damn-near perfection - its combination of British testosterone styling along with the trappings of modern speed-making provide a package that is wholly unique and totally want-worthy.
But then there's the price.
The seller does not explain why - after obviously investing a butt-load of time and money - he wants to sell it, but as it's up on the KC Craigslist, it's obvious that he does. The thing is, at his asking price of $40,000, he's got a lot of competition against which to complete. That kind of cheddah will buy you a pretty nice Boxster S or other modern sportster with similar performance. And don't even start with the talk about V8 Miatas at half that much.
I'm going to have to bow out of the vote today as my judgement is clouded by this car's presentation - hell it's been Katrina'd by it. And the beatific glow that surrounds the car and angel-song that accompanies it aren't helping any either. So it's up to you to determine if this TR6 lives up to its $40,000 price tag. What do you think, does that make this TR-M3 a Kansas City Royal? Or, is this Brit just not Whitworth it?
H/T to Spikejnz for the hookup!
Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a tip, and remember to include your commenter handle.