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TR6 Reality of TR6 restoration?

bash

Jedi Trainee
Offline
Hi

I have been lurking here for a while since I started to seriously think about restoring a Triumph. I originally thought I should start with a Spitfire or GT6, but I always wanted a TR6 when I was young, so I think I would prefer to go with that. I found a chap only a couple of miles from my house who has several TR6s in various states of repair - I haven't had a proper look yet, but they seem relatively solid from a first glance. This would be my first foray into the world of restoration. I had a TR7 for several years as my only car, but it was in good condition to start with, and so mainly a case of keeping up with the maintenance. My question is whether it is a realistic proposition to restore a TR6 with basically no experience. I would obviously buy the relevant manuals, and I was thinking of taking a welding class anyway. Any thoughts? Is it a stupid idea? Will I regret it and spend a fortune? Is it even feasible with only a single garage? I took apart the suspension of my TR7 in a smaller garage than I have now, so I am hoping it is possible. Would I have to separate the body and chassis?

Also, any ideas what a TR6 should cost as a restoration project - the car I have in mind is running but hasn't been driven for a couple of years.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Bash
 

Mickey Richaud

Moderator
Staff member
Platinum
Country flag
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Hi, Bash -

If I can do it, anyone can! My story is similar to yours, and I'm sure there are plenty others who will chime in. I finished a TR3 a few years ago, and decided to tackle an MGB for the wife. There is no greater pleasure for anyone who loves these cars to take one in its sad state and bring it back to life.

The TR's are great, because they are separate body and frame. Much easier to take the body off and do a proper frame-up job.

GO FOR IT!
(And welcome to the Forum.)

/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cheers.gifMickey
 

KLUTZ

Luke Skywalker
Offline
Good luck Bash.
I too have a TR7, and did most of the body and mechanicals myself. It was pretty rough when I got it, but after sitting 10 years, it started with a new batery, and some fresh gas. I guy I know, about an hour away, has a TR6 to sell. It too is a project but the frame is very solid, and more or less just surface problems. Engine runs too. He wants $3,000 for it which sounds like a steal. I would jump at it, but I have sat in a TR6, and it is way too small for my size. (Or maybe I am too big for it?) After doing the work on my 7, in my garage, I can assure you you need at least a double like I have. If you do any welding in there, you need the space, and even working under it... your legs have to go somewhere. Maybe I am just spoiled having a lot of room, but with a work bench and tools, you may be cramped. Good luck.. sounds like you want to jump in.

Paul
 

AltaKnight

Jedi Knight
Offline
Wow, this is a big question with lots of answers.
Assuming you're mechanically handy and enthusiastic, there's no reason why you shouldn't tackle a resto. The TR6 is a fairly simple car with a chassis so it's much easier than some other cars.
I guess a lot depends on the current condition of the car you have in mind and what you want it to become, a beater, a driver or concours or somewhere between. It's also important how long you want to take doing it.
As far as cost is concerned there is general agreement that buying the best condition car (body/chassis wise) you can afford is the way to go. Restoring "basket cases" ie rusty cars can be very expensive in the long run. The mechanical fixes are not difficult and is generally the part of the project we all "enjoy" the most.
Repairing and/or replacing major pieces of bodywork or even worse trying to repair rusted out chassis members on a tight budget can be hearbreaking and what's worse is the car can't be driven while you're doing it.
The TR6 is not a particularly valuable classic (at least not yet) current value is roughly US$6,000 to 12,000 depending on the condition
Hope this helps put it into perspective.
 
OP
bash

bash

Jedi Trainee
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Thanks for the quick responses! If I do manage to convince myself (and my wife!!) that this is a good idea I am sure I will be asking a lot of questions on this forum!

My goal is to take a car that isn't being used and use it - I don't want to get involved in concourse type restoration - never interested me, though I love to see the cars at shows. As for timescale, I had in mind 1 year to get into condition where I feel comfortable driving it around the neighbourhood, and five years to have it to a point where I feel it is up to long road trips. This seems like a fairly leisurely pace to me, but you may disagree! Out of interest, how long did you take to restore your cars? I suspect that the answer is that it is never actually finished - if owning a Triumph for five years taught me anything, it is that by the time you have finished replacing things, the first jobs are ready to be repeated...

One comment does worry me - I am 6'2" tall - am I going to have trouble fitting in a TR6? The last time I sat in one I fit with no problems, though that was at a BL dealer when I was 6 years old...

Once again, thanks for your replies.
 

Mickey Richaud

Moderator
Staff member
Platinum
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Sounds like your expectations match what you're in for. The restoration on the TR3 took me a little over two years. I did everything but the paint and the engine rebuild. And did that in a two-car garage, with the wife's SUV in there with it. We had parts in the garage, in the back yard, in the attic, under the beds, and no telling where else!

The MGB is taking a little longer, as I rebuilt the engine as well. Plus, it's a unibody, which, at least for me, has been more difficult to do. And you're right - they never are REALLY finished. Always something else to do (or do over!).

As for the height issue, I'm 5'10", so no problems here. I suspect being 6'2" isn't either.

Mickey
 

AltaKnight

Jedi Knight
Offline
I'm 6'-1" and fitting into the TR6 is not an issue.
What could be an issue is girth+height!
None of us is getting any thinner. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif
Of course a smaller steering wheel is always an option /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif
 

KLUTZ

Luke Skywalker
Offline
[ QUOTE ]

One comment does worry me - I am 6'2" tall - am I going to have trouble fitting in a TR6? The last time I sat in one I fit with no problems, though that was at a BL dealer when I was 6 years old...

Once again, thanks for your replies.

[/ QUOTE ]

My comment wasn't based on the height issue /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif
It was a width issue. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
I could easily drive one for sure, but would have to have my arm hanging out the window all the time.

We are spoiled with the TR7's as far as interior room is concerned. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/driving.gif
 

71tr

Jedi Warrior
Offline
Bash, you should go for it. So long as you have a love for these british cars and lots of patience there is no reason you won't be successful. I'm in a complete frame-off restore and I don't even have a garage, just a one car carport. I've got the four body-wings removed and hanging on the wall out of the way, the body tub is three feet off the ground on a self-made wooden rack with the rolling chasis tucked underneath. Dismantled parts are stored in labeled boxes and newley repaired/painted parts are in 25 gallon rubbermaid containers awaiting repatriation. I have zero welding skills but am mechanically inclined and enjoy researching the particulars of these cars. There are a ton of resources available to help with your restoration not the least of which is this forum. If you have a task to accomplish someone here has already cut the path.
 

Bill Redd

Jedi Hopeful
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Bash:

My experience level is similar to yours. I'm always stumbling when it comes to identifying parts ("you know, the thingamabob that connects the shock to the whatchamacallit").

You have found the right place for any and all questions. This place has been such a help to me. I've got a 72 TR6 which I purchased about 1 1/2 years ago. I drove it for some time before starting a restoration. It is now all in pieces, and the amount of work that you will do, and what you send out to others will really play on your time schedule. The body to mine sat in the painter's shop for months on end, because we'd agreed that he would work on it when he could. Now it's back in my garage, but a friend offered to bead blast some parts for me, and haven't seen them (him or the parts!) in about a month. Still it sits!

Despite that, I'm thrilled to have found this group, and I've found out that no question is too stupid. Somebody somewhere has probably gone through the same thing!

Go For It, and Good Luck!
 
V

vagt6

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Bash, there's no really direct answer to your question. One factor that is very important is your budget. Be absolutely sure that you can afford to restore the TR-6 before you purchase it. Or, at least formulate a realistic budget of expected restoration costs.

$5,000, or substantially more can disappear like a puff of smoke unless the car is in very good condition.

It's good to be fully aware of potential costs before you take the plunge.

Ask me how I know about this . . . /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/yesnod.gif

And, good luck, I hope you can do it!!!
 

Mark_Gibson

Jedi Trainee
Offline
Bash,

Having just completed a ground up restoration on a rust free 1970 TR-6, as long as you can read a Bentley Manual and have some basic mechanics tools, I'd echo the "go for it" sentiment. I've owned mine for 15 years, had taken it off the road in 2000 due to a tired engine, and strated the restoration 2 years ago. I would definitely suggest that you pull the body off the frame, as there are many hidden areas prone to corrosion that you'll never see if you don't. If you're going to spend the money to have it painted, might as well make sure you don't have rust thru issues in a couple years. I spent alot of money on the paint work, including new body panels that were bondo free. My total right now sits at 20K, with 10K of it on the body and paint work. Of course, I'm planning on showing my car, and have spent money on things that wouldn't necessarily need to be redone. I have done everything else besides the body and paint work myself. To give you an idea, most reputable shops will charege around 3000 to 3500 for a complete engine rebuild. All of the other parts (interior, conv top, bolt on components to the engine, etc) are readily available and not that difficult to work with. Good luck and with the wealth of knowledge on here, you should be able to take the 6 apart and put it back together in no time..take care,

Mark Gibson
1970 TR-6

P.S. Remeber the 3 rules of working on cars:

1. It will be more difficult than you imagined.
2. It will take more time that you thought.
3. It will cost much more than you had planned for.

As long as you know these up front, no worries!!!
 

Alan_Myers

Luke Skywalker
Offline
Hi Bash,

Hey, I say go for it. Everybody started out with the same level of experience... none!

I'm mid-stream restoring a TR4 that I've owned for over 25 years, drove daily for about 10 and stored for a long time. This is actually the second time I've restored this particular car. The first time was after an accident in 1978 or '79. This time I'm doing a much more throrough and planned job than the last "rolling" restoration which had to be completed during an all-too-brief Summer break from college!

If I may make a few suggestions:

1. Buy the best and most complete car you can. This will minimize the amount of work needed and the overall cost. Perhaps it will be possible to do a phased, rolling restoration that allows you to enjoy the car a bit along the way. I think it's true that it will nearly always cheaper to buy someone else's completed restoration, but what's the fun in that?

2. At the same time, don't fear a frame-off if that is the level of restoration you really want to do. It's easier than it sounds. I just installed a new frame under my car, after swapping out and installing all the drive train from the old, one piece at a time much as the car would have originally been assembled at the factory. The body lifted quite easily with only the windshield, carpets, wiring harness, spare tire, hood and bumpers removed. Two Harbor Freight 1000 lb. chain hoists bolted to the ceiling did the trick. The factory service manual for TR4 even gives a list of everything that needs to be disconnected or removed, and dimensions for brackets to do the lifting (maybe the same is true of the TR6 manual).

Note, though, that the IRS of the TR6 makes it a more complicated frame-off candidate than my ladder-chassis/live axle TR4.

2. Get hold of shop manuals, factory parts catalogs with original part numbers and the major vendors' freebie catalogs with all their nice, exploded views of the cars. This makes part identification much easier. The factory manuals are very useful in terms of details. But sometimes aftermarket repair manuals from Haynes and similar are more hands-on practical. I've got three different TR4/4A manuals.

3. The more space, the better. I've been using most of a two car garage and still would love to have more space! Mainly, I wish I had a large number of deep shelves to store carefully labelled and reconditioned parts. Stacked cardboard boxes are a pain, no matter how carefully labelled. If garage space is limited, a storage shed in the yard might do the trick, or a spare room in the house (my windshield is in the master bedroom, for safe-keeping!)

4. The next restoration I do, the very first thing will be to take the car for a thorough steam cleaning underneath and in every nook and cranny, to get off all the old gunk and better see what's needed.

5. Do advance research on both the specific car and restoration techniques in general. There are many great books out there filled with good ideas. These can help you establish a plan. I recommend Roger Williams' "Restoring TR" and "Improving TR" books whole-heartedly. There is also a more general book entitled "Restoring British Sports Cars". Bill Piggott's books "Original TR" are excellent, too. These can be found on eBay, but I find they are often cheaper on Amazon.

6. It's your car, so restore it to the level and in the manner you choose. I.e., don't let anyone tell you it *must* be original or whatever.

However, I must say that a restoration emphasizing originality is in many ways easier than one that calls for modifying and improving. This because one mod leads to another and there's always questions about what fits and works, what doesn't. When doing some modifications, you find yourself doing a lot of fabrication and test-fitting.

On the other hand, original restorations call for identifying and then finding the right replacement part, new or reconditioned. That can sometimes be a challenge, but the engineering and design have been done for you by the factory. Plus, an original car will usually retain value better, if that's a concern.

7. Join your local Triumph or LBC car club and get to know some other TR6 owners and their cars. They might help you shop, too. Additional, experienced eyes can be a big help when looking at prospective cars! Alternatively, someone from this forum might be in your area and willing to help you poke around in and under a few cars.

8. Depending upon your level of experience and skills, you might want to contract out various aspects of the project: painting, chassis repair, engine/gearbox rebuilds, etc. Try to find out in advance what good, local resources are available to you. I see you are in NJ, which is great since there are a number of LBC-related specialists in the Northeast U.S. Having someone do some of the work will be more expensive initially, but quite likely cheaper if it's done right and avoids problems or do-overs.

9. Over the years, I've often seen mention of people getting some work done on their cars at local Junior colleges and high schools that offer auto repair classes. This might be an option to explore, if you are looking for a less expensive route (free labor) and are willing to take a little risk. People who have done this report very good quality results (but those who get poor results probably don't talk about it).

10. Use a digital camera, sketches, labels and lots of clear plastic bags to organize as you disassemble. Throw absolutely nothing away! Keep a log of work done, along with a plan of work yet to be done. Document the work with photos and receipts for better eventual resale value.

Have fun!

Alan
 
G

Guest

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Bash, IMHO, the best bet would be for you to find someone that knows the TR6 inside and out, like the back of his hand and ask him to tag along with you when you find a possible buy. What you would be looking for is the absolute best TR6 you can get -body and frame - and go from there. It would make your life so much less complicated and save you lots of money. Better yet, find one that has been properly restored and the owner needs to get out from under the car for financial reasons. Beware, there are plenty of crappy restos out there, as seen on the Ebay posts we often make fun of. So, find a completed restoration and make a really good deal, for about 10-15K or find a totally solid body and have the true fun of doing it yourself, this should be available for 5K. When you start pulling the body, you could well get in over your head with monies and a divorce, unless you have lots of money and/or a really solid marriage. All the above posts are valid but I would go for the body-on-frame resto, need less space and fewer headaches. I have seen many a complete resto started with good intentions that ended up selling off as a parts car. My vote, find a keeper and fix it on the frame. Just make sure you find the right one.

Bill
 

arbs_53

Senior Member
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Bash,
First, welcome to the forum; you'll find the help here to be invaluable. I wish I had these guys around when I was restoring my car eleven years ago, or when I had my TR4A back in the 70's and 80's.

I have to say I agree with TR6Bill, because I went the other way and bought a TR250 that had a bad frame that required a frame-off restoration to fix. When I went to inspect the car I saw the punky spots in the frame, but because I had no idea just how much effort, time and money it would take to fix, I eagerly completed the sale and drove the car home. Since I had no garage, I rented space from a friend and spent the next year pretty much away from home, dismantling and then replacing everything. I spent so much time away from home, my wife was having second thoughts about agreeing to my buying the car and, she admitted later, actually felt jealousy and probably would have asked for a divorce except for the fact the only thing I owned was a dismantled Triumph. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/nopity.gif After two years, I had spent nearly $17,000 (including the initial outlay for the car) and still hadn't touched the engine, drivetrain or body, for the most part.

This past year, I had the engine re-built and upgraded to the tune of $6200. and had a machine shop do all of the work because of the all the special stuff I had done. If it had been a straight re-build, I would have done most of the work myself and save a few thou.

TR6Bill is right when he says buy the best car you can afford and take someone with you who knows Triumphs who can give you an honest assessment of the car you're considering. Buying a Triumph that needs a lot of work will require a huge commitment, in both time and money. Some people, myself included, derive satisfaction in bringing one of these critters back to life. But it's not for everyone and only you know how much effort and resources you are willing to commit.

I love Triumphs and all of the time and money I've put into this one, I consider worth it. I could have spent $25,000 for an Asian import (no, no I couldn't) but if I did, I wouldn't have half of the exhileration I get when I drive this TR around. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/driving.gif
Good luck in your decision.
 

trboost

Jedi Trainee
Offline
Hey Bash, Welcome,

I think there are two ways to approach this, one as a driver & the other as a non driver. If your in it for the mechanical expieriance & you have desire and patience to learn & take on a full resto where the investment is not going to be practical but a personal quest then the choice is obvious. There should be no argument when I state that you will never recoup your investment if you do a large scale restoration but you will reap the savings if you buy a solid car , well researched, that someone else has done correctly. If I was in this for the investment this would not have been my first choice. I like to drive these things , alot !

When I bought my car the PO had just replaced the floorboards , purchased a new interior (in the box, not installed) & painted the car. All this was done by a reputable shop. I can't paint or weld but I can turn a wrench & do interior work. This allowed me to drive a less than perfect mechanical car that was cosmeticaly very nice. Over the next few winters I completed my mechanical projects while never being with out the car during driving season.

This is by no means a negitive comment on the brave owners out there who have chosen this path. I have the upmost respect for any one who has undertaken such a massive project. I am in awe at the shows when I see what the end results are. It requires a true commitment of time, money & understanding from the family.
It's a tough choice, but if it's fun your after you chose the right marque.

P.S. What ever you decide , you'll never find a nicer or more informed group than this.
 

Dugger

Senior Member
Offline
Bash,

I agree with the previous posts, it can not be said enough to look for the best car that fits your budget! Be patient. Get reputable help. Don't be afraid to drive a ways to just look at a car. Go to lbc shows. Join a local/national club.

I think if I had done this, my pocket book would be thankful. To me wrenching/working on these cars is a needed therapy that 'calms the beast' within.

Whatever you decide, have fun with it. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/savewave.gif
 

Simon TR4a

Jedi Knight
Offline
Clearly, Bash, there are two ways of doing this, which you choose dewpends on what you want to end up with, and your budget.
On my first Triumph, a TR6, I did a very basic job to get it roadworthy, so I could see if I liked it enough to do a complete job.
I paid $750 for a car which had not run in 13 years and had a lot of rust. I replaced the fenders with fibreglass and had sheet metal welded ito the floor and a cheapie paint job, total about $4000 with new mechanical bits. I drove it for a year but decided to buy a car in much better condition and with overdrive.

My TR4a is now being properly restored, body off frame, after 10 years of ownership. This is a very big job compared with the first one, starting with a much better car, but aiming to end up with a really excellent one.

So think about your objectives and budget, look at several cars before you buy, avoid anything with rust in the chassis.
Good luck, and let us know how it goes!
Simon.
 

gsalt57tr3

Jedi Warrior
Offline
Bash -

As my father-in-law told me, join a local club before you buy the car. Tons of ready willing advise. Puls, you have already found an excellent online source.

And remember, mechanicals are always cheaper than bodywork.
 

KLUTZ

Luke Skywalker
Offline
Hey, Bash...
I saw a 74 TR6 today needing loooooottttttsssss of work to make it driveable though. Been looking for another MGB to work on, but this one had potential if I can talk him into a more realistic price. I was surfing and found this perfect site for you, and for me if I stay interested in the 6 instead of another B.
Take a look, lots of great Pics.

Paul

https://www.lagonda.com/
 
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