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Triumph TR6 - 5 Speed Trany Conversion

Most of you board members are familiar with the Toyota 5 speed transmission conversion out of NZ for big dollars.

But check this out... a dutch fellow operating out of the US seems to have created a much less expensive 5 speed conversion kit for around the $900 mark. I was discussing a Triumph Overdrive conversion with one of the local shops in Calgary and at about $2500 decided for forget about it. But this - looks good.

John Parfitt
Calgary, Canada.
John Parfitt


interesting site,was wondering if any one has done this

This has been on my wish list and would like to hear from some happy clients.
Don K

Bob Prieve in Thousand Oaks put the NZ version in his TR3A and is satisfied with it. Bob told me at VTR in Minnesota that he wanted to buy the 5-speed from Herman (HVDA) but it wasn't ready yet. Herman was at VTR too (they drove up together and Bob got the long distance award, beating Herman by about 50 miles).

I've known both for about 10 to 12 years and if Herman makes it, you know it will be top quality. He is one of the most honest TR owners you will ever meet. He has a blue TR250 which he restored as well as a red TR3A he did for his daughter.

Ask Herman for the story of how he developed it. If you talk to Herman on the phone, have a lot of dimes ready - he loves to talk - and in such detail, just like the quality of TR work that he has done.

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

This kit sounds a like the 5-speed conversion that I got for my old Midget. As with the TR, if I tried to remain stock, it would have cost me zillions, but going with the conversion, it also came out to about $900 (I did all the work. Yes, it was that easy. And I did not have to modify the car, so I could have easily gone back to stock.)

This is easily the best money I dropped into that car. Unfortunately, the guys that made this product ( only do MG's. If this TR conversion comes even close to the Rivergate MG conversion, then I would also be really interested in this option, and would also love to hear more from people who have done this.

Hi, just visiting from the MG board, is there another address for When I tried it I got a IT site.

Just curious about the OD for Triumphs, I bought a complete OD tranny for a late model B for $400 on e-bay, are they that expensive for a TR6? Maybe just a lot more MGBs around with more salvaged parts available or weren't that many TR6s with OD?

Bud G

Whoops, try

$400 is probably about right for the OD, but then you need a few other pieces to hook it up to the regular 4-speed TR tranny. (E.g. The OD uses a different shaft, wiring, switch, and I think you need an adapter that does not always come with the OD's.)


Regarding an o/d for a TR, an MGB o/d is the wrong type and will not work. Getting an actual o/d unit that works in a TR6 is not that hard nor expensive, Volvo used the same unit (j-type) in their 140 and 240 series of cars and there are way more cars available.

Getting an output shaft (which is shorter) is no biggy as with the switches and wiring either, the real problem lies with the adaptor housing that mates the trans with the o/d. This cast aluminum part is no longer manufacturered nor available and is different than the one on the Volvo. It is too bad because the o/d units go for a couple hundred $ used at a garage that specializes in Volvos. None of the suppliers for TR's (TRF, Moss, Victoria Brit, Rimmer) remanufactured or recast the part. Hmmm perhaps another conspiracy theory of limiting supply to artificially keep prices high for a complete o/d or a car with o/d in it.

Luckily 5 years ago I bought a o/d (J) complete with tranny, wiring and switch from an unsuspecting guy parting out a TR for a cool $400 CDN. Other than an initial solinoid problem (needed to be cleaned out) I have put on about 8,000 trouble free miles since.

John-Is the trans. included in the kit?

Berry, if not, there are a couple on Ebay right now. And it looks like they are posted by the same guy.

Contacted Herman about his conversion and customer sataifaction and this is his response.
Don k

Yes, so far I have (3) TR6's running for about a year and (1) TR4. I can give you their email or phone numbers. They will be happy to answer your questions.
John Truttman: TR6,
Abel Miramon: TR6,
Wil Tompkins: TR6, (616) 794-6284
Jim Messinio: TR4, (916) 761-3316
Attached my flyer



What's the typical cost for a used Toyota transmission and rebuild? I think once you factor those costs in, it'll equal what you can get as an authentic Laycock from John Esposito.

Rick O.
Rick Orthen

Originallity is the issue...

What I mean is that if you place a great deal of importance on originality - then so be it. You don't worry about all these conversion kits. You end up paying what the market will bear for the stock O/D sytem and end up with 30+ year old technology etc.

If you are willing to modify the TR, you end up with a modern Toyota transmission with all the reliability, performance and lighter weight.

There is no question in my mind that a transmission mfg'd by Toyota with 5 gears will be an order of magnitude more reliable over the years compared with the stock overdrive system.

I have access to "dozens" of used Toyota 5speeds. Not rebuilt though.

John Parfitt

If you want reliability and modern technology buy a Miata, these cars are built-proof. Part of the allure of driving and owning a TR is a step back in time and going 'retro'. I like to keep the car as original as possible, it is what makes a TR a TR. I am not big on butchering a car especially a classic trying to make it something or different than what it was originally thought of. I do agree on some modifications that help the driveablity of the car (electronic ignition, SU's, electrics, electric fan to aid cooling and some performance mods that help with handling braking)

Imagine an XKE with a small block chevy engine or a Ferrari Daytona with a Ford 427 or those people masquerading in a MG-TD when it is actually a VW kit car.

Besides the transmission in the TR6 is extremely reliable and the j-type o/d even more so. I once saw a TR6 with a Hurst shifter, a small block chevy engine and a solid axle rear Ford axle (with leaf springs) and wide Hossier tires and centerline wheels. This is not a TR and I don't see the point doing this, it is as much a Triumph as a Nascar relates to the 'stock car' it is portraying. If you want a muscle car then build one that fits with the image.

This is my 2 cents worth (1.25 cents US)

Once you set foot into modifications to a TR6 such as bigger brakes to aid stopping, electric fans to aid cooling and 5speed transmissions to aid cruising then it is just a matter of opinion on what is "acceptable".

In my opinion, if the TR doesn't have a TR engine and suspension isn't a TR anymore because the behaviour of the car's character has changed too much. But the addition of a 5speed is inocuous because it doesn't do much except lower the RPM's at cruise.

In my case I like to drive my TR6 through the Canadian rockies between Calgary and Vancouver in the summers and I like to cruise around 80mph.

Because the TR with the five speed sounds the same, handles the same, smells the same and looks the same as a stock car, then I guess all the better.

A Miata? Not likely!

Just my devalued 2cents.

Have fun.

John Parfitt
Calgary, Canada.
John Parfitt

Sorry Rick O., but my original 6 with its modified cam, balanced engine, electric fan, and SU's,will feel fine in front of the the stronger Toyota tranny, as I have not been able to find an "A" OD as of now. My vote goes to John P.
Don K.

At 80 mph in 4th, my TR3A is taching 4000 rpm. In O/D, it drops to 3200 rpm.

What Bob Prieve and Herman van dan Acker from California told me is that the 5-speed Toyota conversion will not drop the rpm as much as that. In Toyota 5th gear it might only drop from 4000 rpm to about 3400 rpm. But this is better than nothing.

This is just for your info, just to let you know and so you won't feel you were hood-winked after you buy one and put it in.

Don Elliott, 1958 TR3A
Don Elliott

And to think I was worried about turning to the dark side by considering something other than the green "pseudo" stock ignition wires from TRF.

On my old Midget, this conversion was a no brainer since that stock tranny sucked. I.e. first gear was prone to chipping. On my TR, I may be inclined to follow the purists.

I could not have said it better myself. But that is yours and my opinion.
"Acceptable" is what the owner wants to do to his car and no one is going to tell him he is wrong. Do not bother entering the concours judging, but then the guy who drops an 8 into a TR6 is not interested in that scene. The big problem is that parts for our cars are very expensive or not available because of the supply and demand story. A type ODs are like hens teeth and when you can find one..big bucks. I have a spare A type sitting in my garage..NO it is not for sale...I want originality remember. If there is an alternative then go for it. It is one mod that is virtually invisible.
Finally, regardless of the modification to a TR6, one thing is for sure. It at least did not end up becoming the front fender of a Miata.
A purist at heart.
Rick C
Rick Crawford

Luke: Is the darkside of modifications more powerful?
Yoda: No. More seductive,faster,more reliable, well...
yes Luke it is more powerful but only a fully
trained TR enthusiast with the force as an ally
can resist the power of the darkside.
Darth Vader: It is only a car, search your feelings
Luke you know this to be true.

Christopher Trace

I decided the other night to actually do some work on my TR6 in an attempt to drive it next summer. I spent a few minutes finishing the installation of my 7/8" front swaybar. I felt a bit guilty and was trying to disguise it as a stock bar but to no avail. Hopefully it will get dirty and no one will notice. Anyhow...

Then I pulled out the 4 speed, put it up on the bench and dismantled the clutch release mechanism and sure enough discovered the cause of my binary clutch release. The throwout bearing carrier binds on the sleeve.

The next step was to decide how best to solve the problem. I could just order all stock parts from Moss for about $230 CDN or go with the hydraulic throwout bearing system from Racetorations in the UK....

Check this out - now if there ever was a vendor with both feet in the darkside, these guys from Britain are it. They have gone out and developed a bunch of stuff that completely changes the character of that 101 hp North American TR6.

From the Great White North

John Parfitt

Young Jedi knight: Master Yoda, you have resisted being seduced by the power of the dark side, how have you done this?
Yoda: When my age you be... then know you would the true meaning of originality.
YJK: What is the true meaning of originality master?
Yoda: A young Jedi search his heart he must to see that that a land speeder it is more than. Proper training will you get. Older you will be and see you will that resistance to the dark side lead you it will in the path of inventive thought of our ancestors. This it will withstand the test of time.
YJK: So to avoid the dark side of the force means that one should keep things as our ancestors intended them to be. This way, the true legacy of the land speeder can be preserved for future generations.
Yoda: May the force be with you young Jedi knight.

Rick Crawford

For all our southern friends,

Most of these YODA delusions voiced by my Canadian counterparts are caused by Knights spending too many nights in cold garages breathing Carbon monoxide?

Anyone heard Henry griping about a 34 Ford coupe with a little modification. Might be one of the best designs ever. Time and engineering marches on. I would rather see 50 modified TRs still running well on the street than three originals on TV at Pebble Beach. My opinion only. Sorry can't afford Pebble Beach.


Bill Brayford

I think it is a grey area when comes down to what is modifying: to improve the car and driveability or changing the concept of what the car is intended to be.

I am for doing modifications to make the car safer and more reliable hence why I have modern Yokohama's HR rated tires then those hard (slippery) hockey pucks (Michelin redlines); and poly bushings; and a stainless steel exhaust.

The question comes down to what is original?, to me a M-B 300SL gullwing with a different engine is no longer consider original and the car lost most of its value.
Here is something to ponder: a Porsche 356 speedster running with different drivetrain either Detroit iron or VW running gear versus a Intermeccanica Speedster kit car with original Porsche 356 running gear. Which is more original?

Or can a TVR 2500 be considered a TR6? when it uses the engine, trans, diff, front suspension, clutch, lights, brakes, various electrical components and motors and parts of the exhaust.

Yes a modern Toyota 5sp is more reliable and perhaps a fix considering an o/d is like gold. I think that a real vintage car is a 'sum of all its parts'. Each of us have in our mind what is considered real vs fake...I always have to laugh when my neighbour braggs about his MG-TD. It looks real, has the right badging down to the upright 'RAC' however it has a rear engine and platform made by a Hans or Fritz and no where on the car has it been touched by a Nigel or Ian. Didn't know that Abingdon used glass-fibre back then.

Another two cents - my cars are what I want'em to be. Fun, fast, and where modern tech can improve them, I go for it. Concourse, No, fun, yes. Peter
Peter G

This thread was discussed between 23/11/2002 and 15/12/2002

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