View Full Version : TR6 '76 TR6 - De-Smog or Leave? 19k original mile car

05-29-2012, 10:51 AM
Hi all,

I just picked up a '76 TR6 with 19,000 original miles.

It's a very nice, proper original car. The only thing I don't like is the AC, which will probably come off.

Anyways, I'm just about to go through it (adjust valves, tune carbs, reset timing, change fluids) just so I establish some baselines on everything, and I was thinking of whether to remove the smog stuff or not.

Since this is the TR place...I defer to the experts!


Should I de-smog it or leave everything?


05-29-2012, 11:08 AM
Royal, that depends on what you plan on doing with the car

05-29-2012, 11:20 AM
Just my opinion, but it seems like a shame to start modifying such a low mileage car. Factory AC was a fairly rare option from what I've seen.

Also, removing smog equipment from a car registered for use on public roads is a Federal crime, even though you are not likely to get caught. You may get some small improvement in fuel economy, but you're not likely to see any increase in performance (unless you also tear the engine down to change the compression ratio and camshaft). With my 80 Chevy, even the fuel mileage went down, rather than up.

That said, it is your car, it should please you. What I think isn't really relevant.

05-29-2012, 12:35 PM
I was under the impression that this air conditioning was dealer installed and incorrect/never offered as a factory option. If this is a factory option I do not want to remove it.

My intent is to keep the car original, I'm not trying to go fast or molest the car, I just asked because I am trying to achieve being closer to original, not further away from it. I bought this car because its so close to original that it's like a time warp, and I'd like it to stay like that.

The smog stuff is often a drain on performance and I figured it probably would not have much of a benefit to remove it but I wanted to ask anyway. That sort of modification/removal is always reversible. I am ignorant, I don't know Triumphs as well as I know MG's and Jaguars, but I do want to keep it nice as I have with the rest of my cars.

Randall, what you and other Guys say here is important, that's why I ask.

Thanks for your input!!!


05-29-2012, 12:43 PM
As Randall said, your car. Removing the SMOG stuff is easy, getting benefit out of that is harder and a slippery slope blah blah blah. You know the drill Royal.

If she is really that original then I'd think twice about messing around personally but depends on what you want to do with her (as Randall also commented). I like to get them dirty and scratched up through use which is why I buy, um, crappy ones personally.

05-29-2012, 12:52 PM
Factory air conditioning was an option on 76 model TR6s for sure. I would keep that! It's just extra weight if you don't use it, but in the hot weather it sure feels nice when it works. Chicago may not have that many hot days but around here it gets pretty muggy.

Randall, how can he tell if it is dealer installed or factory? Do you know?

Dan B

Mickey Richaud
05-29-2012, 12:52 PM
Although I dislike the smog gear, since your car is so original, I'd leave it on. Perhaps just removing the belt that drives the smog pump and plugging any necessary holes...?

Nice find, by the way! :thumbsup:

05-29-2012, 01:04 PM
Another thing I'd like to add about the air conditioning is that I was questioning it being factory original is because there are some odd things about it:

Those odd things include some relays of non-Lucas manufacture, the controls don't really match the rest of the car, etc. It just doesn't "look" factory. Maybe my sense is completely off, but at the end of the day I do want her to be original. :smile:

I fully intend on driving this car, by the way. That's not to say I'm going to beat the [censored] out of it (I don't do that and would never), but I will certainly put some miles on it, not like 40,000 but I do want to use her on weekends and I will certainly be anal with maintenance and care. :smile:

05-29-2012, 01:37 PM
Randall, how can he tell if it is dealer installed or factory? Do you know?
The only way I know would be to check the factory build record. BMIHT in the UK will sell you a copy suitable for framing; someone else (sorry, I forget who offhand) will supply just the information from the build record for somewhat less money.

I know opinions differ, but to my mind, "dealer-installed" is still "as original". The factory did not fully finish the cars in any case, there was always some dealer preparation involved. For example, TR3s were shipped without the bumpers installed and big boards instead (to avoid damaging the finish of the bumper as the cars jostled around on the ship).

And even though AC seems kind of silly in a ragtop, the cool air does feel good on a hot day.

Andrew Mace
05-29-2012, 01:42 PM
Technically, most of these air-conditioning units would not have been "factory"; however, many were designed and manufactured in the US specifically for the cars. Looking at the photos on the web site you gave, it appears that this is a unit specifically designed for the TR6, and appears to be rather well-integrated (which leads me to believe that removal might be almost more trouble than it's worth). Beyond that, my point is that such accessories -- especially when still functioning as intended -- add to the value rather than detract from it, and pretty much all the clubs accept these and other "period" accessories (factory, dealer or other aftermarket) for Concours and other judging.

05-29-2012, 01:51 PM
In the same manner that having an original AMCO center console with kienzle clock will add to the value, or having the AMCO bumper overriders will add to the value, other 'period' dealer options, like the AC do not detract from "originality" of a vehicle. if you want to be real 'strict' none of our 'original' cars should have radio antenae either, they were dealer installed on this side of the pond.

if the EGR and smog pump etc are all in place and working, if you want originality, leave them be. The one thing to watch out for is, the air emissions pump was prone to failure / seizing up, which would then burn out your belts and cause other problems, so just make sure it's moving freely.

05-29-2012, 02:33 PM
And even though AC seems kind of silly in a ragtop, the cool air does feel good on a hot day.

I have A/C in my Miata and as you say, when it does get hot (for me anything over 80), the cool air is great to have. About the only time I put the top down on the Miata in the summer is in the evening or early in the AM. I just don't like the heat. In late fall, the hard top goes on. :smile:

Geo Hahn
05-29-2012, 05:13 PM
Nice car. Your choice, but I don't see how you can go wrong keeping it 'as original' or 'as delivered'.

If you choose to undo anything remember Aldo Leopold's advice: "The first rule of tinkering is: 'Save all the Parts'"

05-29-2012, 06:57 PM
Nice car and neat to see one with such low mileage.

BTW, I'm pretty sure I still have that 8-track too...


05-30-2012, 07:44 AM
I agree with those who say leave it as is, or if you want to take some things off save parts. These days there are so many restored/modified cars, I love to see original cars especially with unique features.

05-30-2012, 08:02 AM
So assuming you paid $18K for the car, remove the AC, deduct $2K. De smog, deduct another 2K. Now you've got a $14K TR6.

05-30-2012, 10:32 AM
Appreciate all the comments and information. I am certainly being taken to school on this topic. I was under the impression this thing was a shoddy add on.

Smog is all staying for sure. AC probably as well. Need to find someone who knows the systems thoroughly because there are some things that are surely not original to the system.

05-30-2012, 11:35 AM
Need to find someone who knows the systems thoroughly because there are some things that are surely not original to the system.


Try Bernie and Laura at International Classics. Nice people, fairly familiar with Brit cars. They worked on our 63 Mini and will most likely do the work on my MGB. I have been happy with them.


International Classics LLC
8154 Ridgeway
Skokie, IL 60076

P: 847-674-6980

05-30-2012, 11:45 AM
The guys over at https://www.britishac.com/ac/triumph-complete-kit-17.php can sell you any replacement parts you'll need for the AC unit or the items you'll need to convert to R134a from the original R12 (new dryers and hoses) You can even get a complete reproduction of the original unit.

05-30-2012, 01:37 PM
The good thing about your smog system is it does not have a catalytic converter. The Federal Emissions tag says "non catalyst". Make sure that tag stays put! The early cats really robbed power.
I know for a fact (and I cannot tell you how), that vehicles of that vintage always ran better, got better fuel economy, and usually still passed emissions with the Federal Garbage disabled.
BB's inside the vacuum lines is something I have seen......everything looks right.
Belt off the pump is a good thing to do for the power losses the older air pumps often incurred.
Keep the belt in the boot.
I have seen air pumps that were disassembled, internals removed, reassembled and installed....the shaft and pulley turned, no losses.....emissions folks never caught it.
Older honeycomb cats....seen them removed, a big rod and hammer, all the bits went into the trash, and back on the car.
I knew a guy who bought a car that had the cat removed, but the bottom heat shield was welded/clamped back to the "test pipe". He drove that car for 12 years like that, went through emissions just fine, the "mirror check" to see if the cat was in place...always passed that.
Low miles, maybe the emissions will work. Carbon buildup in EGR ports and tubes was a big problem. Air and a torch would clean them out.
I'm trying to think back on my days doing emissions stuff. Usually air pumps were associated with cats....maybe I'm thinking the dual-bed ones where the air injected into the middle of the cat.

05-30-2012, 02:23 PM
Fortunately, in New York, vehicles that are less than two model years old, or <span style="font-weight: bold">more than 25 model years old</span> (for example, a 1987 model in 2012), are exempt from any emissions testing...that includes not even looking to see what is or is not there. We only get a safety inspection.

05-30-2012, 02:36 PM
Obviously, it depends on area. I don't know what rules are in effect for Chicago, nor how exhaustive their tests are.

I do know that the kind of stuff TOC is talking about is not likely to work in CA these days. It used to work, before they ran the cars on a chassis dyno, but not now. I know several people who have tried, every single one of them has gotten caught. The smog shops don't even bother doing the visual inspection or EGR test any more, because the tail pipe always flunks.

And here, a 76 would be subject to biannual smog inspection.

And it is still against Federal law even without the required inspection. As I said, not likely to get caught, but the penalties can be severe if you do.

05-30-2012, 03:24 PM
I can see I started quite the topic here!

As Randall said, yes, it is illegal to remove Federal emissions equipment. That is a risk I would take if I were to remove the equipment. I don't think I will have to have my car tested in my state.

In the case of my car, I will be leaving it in place especially because there is very little performance benefit to removing it.

From what I understand now, the lesser performance of the later TR6's is due to the lower compression and de-tuning of the actual motor itself. I'm not going to remove a whole bunch of equipment for an 8 horsepower or some nominal increase. Keeping the car original is of importance to me and if it would have provided some drastic increase yet was easily reversible (like in the case of my 1979 MGB that I used to own) I would have considered doing it. But after more research, and seeing that it's slightly more involved on a 6 than other cars, I have decided to err on the side of caution and not remove it.

As to the air conditioning, I still haven't fully decided.

05-30-2012, 11:44 PM
And Royal, you might need THIS.... (https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1311&amp;_nkw=8+track+tapes &amp;_sacat=0)

05-31-2012, 11:44 AM
A couple of comments;

The AC units were not factory installed. Many were made by a company in Miami and sold to dealers who did the installation.
There were no factory luggage racks. Various racks were installed by dealers or individuals. Some were universal designs. Like the one in your pictures. One was designed specifically for the TR6 by Amco. These were chrome plated steel. You can find reproductions in stainless steel at Moss and some other parts houses.
Radios were dealer installed. However these were British Leyland units that came in a kit including the antenna. The kits did not include a fully retractable antenna. My guess is they were not installed at the factory to prevent damage to the antenna during transport to the states.
The factory hard top was also delivered to the dealer as a kit. The dealer had to paint and assemble the top before installing it on the car.

My point is there is a distinct division between factor parts installed by the dealer and accessories installed by the dealer. I don't believe it is appropriate to say everything is "factory" because that is the way it was delivered to the customer. Undercoating, 8 tracks, cocoa mats...

BNW. No offense intended but your estimates of $2K for ac and $2K for smog are a guess. He can always reinstall them when he decides to sell. So there is no loss of value. TR6's aren't in the same class as American muscle cars. They aren't auctioned during prime time at Barett Jackson in Scottsdale. I doubt the value of these items equates to 20+ % of a TR6's value.

BTW Royal, I'm in a similar situation. My TR6 has 23K miles. A previous owner removed the AC. The smog equipment is all still inplace and working. I'm considering removing it, packing it in a box and preserving it for a couple of reasons. As long as it stays on the car it is slowly wearing out, and if these cars ever take off as collectors cars having functional smog equipment may increase the value.

If the AC weren't such a power drain it sure would be welcome here in Alabama.


05-31-2012, 11:54 AM
Nice car. Yours to do with as you see fit. If mine, I would try to retain everything.

From a practical perspective, removing the ac setup is likely very painful. The black round cover you see on the passenger side bulkhead is hiding a very large hole that has been cut into the metal, at least it was on the parts car I had 20 years ago - you remove that, you will need some high end and likely expensive sheet metal repair to completely erase.

05-31-2012, 04:27 PM
Not really relevant, but on the topic of "factory original"; here is a description of how the cars came from the factory, recently posted by an ex-BL employee (John Macartney) on another BBS:

<span style="font-weight: bold"><span style="font-style: italic">1. The body has been completely sprayed with industrial lanolin. This nicely covers the superb paint job and
gives the car a boring, dull, matt finish. We've been careful to ensure an overspray of lanolin around the windscreen edge and glass side windows. All this lanolin will easily wash off with warm water and a high pressure hose - just as did the original stuff.

2. The soft top is covered with protective plastic sheeting held in place with tape around the roof edges and to stop

3. All chromework has been covered in adhesive-backed white cotton masking tape, while stainless or alloy brightwork is covered with the lanolin

4. The rostyle hub caps and licence plates have been removed and are in a box in the boot

5. The headlamps are out and waxed cardboard discs cover the headlamp buckets. This is how the cars left the UK anyway and as the 250 now
has dip left halogen units instead of the dip right sealed beams, it's entirely right the lights should be removed for 'authentic judging'

6. The red and white indicator lenses are back in place to temporarily replace the yellow
ones of a TR5

7. Carpets in the footwells have been removed and are in another box in the boot

8. All upholstery is covered with protective plastic

9. The windscreen has replica (as far as our memories and Photoshop skills allow)
production / shipping / storage / anti-freeze labels - and all slapped on it
such a way you can hardly see out of it. In other words, just as it left the

10. To complete the picture, we'll be delivering it to the event on a
trailer - because that's exactly how the vast majority of export cars came off
the line and got themselves shipped to the docks.</span></span>

Andrew Mace
05-31-2012, 08:14 PM
I think you're right about everything except:

The factory hard top was also delivered to the dealer as a kit. The dealer had to paint and assemble the top before installing it on the car.That would've been true of a hardtop ordered after the fact (customer saw another car with one and decided he/she would like one as well). But cars could be ordered with hardtop (and even without a soft top), in which case it came over on the boat with a matching hardtop already in place. I remember seeing cars come off the transporters at the dealerships, still covered in Cosmoline and plastic and stickers (as Randall notes in the above post) -- both hardtops and softtops.

06-01-2012, 07:44 AM
Interesting info Randall.

Andy, good point. I think the trim rings for the wheels were also stowed away until the car was prepped at the dealership.

I do still have the original tires mounted on the original wheels. One of which is pictured at speed in my signature. All 5 tires, including the spare, remain inflated with period correct British air. Which contributes to another dilemma. Should I save the air hoping for a future windfall? Or should I offer small quantities on EBay for people willing to pay well for a breath of air free of all the 21st century political rehtoric?

Royal, Enjoy your car with the emphasis on Your.


06-02-2012, 04:32 PM
I'd leave it like it is. As for the air, I worked as a grease monkey at a BMC dealer in the early 70's and I recall that our dealer installed air was considered factory.