Project Car Hell, Triumph Of The Rust Edition: 1964 Herald or 1968 TR6?

Illustration for article titled Project Car Hell, Triumph Of The Rust Edition: 1964 Herald or 1968 TR6?

Welcome to Project Car Hell, where you choose your eternity by selecting the project that's the coolest... and the most hellish! Who doesn't love a happy little Triumph?


Bad people, that's who doesn't love happy little Triumphs! You're not a bad person, are you? Of course not! Thing is, most of the affordable Triumph projects these days are Malaise Era TR7s and Spitfires with huge bumpers. Is it even possible to find a pre-Malaise Triumph project for cheap? Really cheap, that is. What's that sound? Why, it's the doors to Project Car Hell opening, and they don't squeak one bit… because they're lubed with the blood of Triumph owners!

After you saw James May turn a Triumph Herald into a sailboat, you probably thought something like "Whoa, I haven't seen a Triumph Herald in… well, ever!" They didn't sell particularly well in North America, and that's a damned shame. You see, the Herald combined simplicity with Italian styling and woefully underpowered nimble performance, at a time when Americans had to buy Datsun 411s for such features. That doesn't mean you can't find them for reasonable prices nowadays, provided you're willing to overlook a bit of the ol' iron oxide. We've found this '64 Herald convertible in Baltimore (go here if the ad disappears), and it's only 400 bucks! Sure, sure, you should could turn this staggeringly terrible basket case TLC-deprived project into an awesome 24 Hours Of LeMons car, but that's taking the easy way out! We say you ought to do an obsessive frame-off restoration, correct down to the original warm-beer-influenced Coventry chalk marks and OEM Lucas Electrics components. The seller doesn't go into any detail about the rust situation, but then he doesn't have to. But hey, it has a clear title!

The Herald really wasn't a proper sports car, with a one-main-bearing four-cylinder displacing 18 Whitworth cubic inches or some such (slight exaggeration) and all. You need more engine in your Triumph! You could go for a Stag- which we strongly, in fact overwhelmingly recommend- but for the purposes of this challenge we're going to stick with smaller Triumph offerings. The GT6 is a truly wretched fine machine, and certainly affordable if you look hard enough, but we really like the iconic TR6 when it comes time for a six-banger Triumph. But dang, have you seen what sellers are asking for the pretty and/or running TR6s? These are hard times we're in, and you need your shillings to feed the gas meter in your dismal, mildew-coated flat! That's what makes this '68 Triumph TR6 (go here if the ad disappears) so appealing. It ran when parked, and that phrase always means eternal torment an easy walk in the park! The seller isn't trying to do a hard sell here, freely admitting that the "CAR IS RUSTY & ROT BUT HAS MANY GOOD PARTS," and it's true that it's composed entirely of rust and fungus a little rough, but you couldn't possibley can solve those problems with a cubic yard of $100 bills little elbow grease in your pit full of boiling sulfur garage! Come on, it's only 500 bucks!

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Do you know how far I am from Plaistow?

Less than an hour.

Read: Not. Far. Enough.

I don't care if it's more common, the TR6. It doesn't affect me at all that parts are marginally easier to find, or that you don't have a complete obligation to do a full restoration, or that it's more of a proper sports car.

Because it's not. It's a proper sports garden.

There's mold over most of the rust spots. There's moss growing on the trunklid, wild grasses growing off the open glovebox door (if that's what it is) and twigs, dirt, and spiderwebs in the footwell.

Even by New Hampshire standards, that's bordering on unrestorable.