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Triumph TR6 - Guidance: TR6 v. MGA

I am in need of guidance in finding the perfect LBC for me. I love two very different cars from 2 very different eras.

I had made up my mind to go for a TR6 when I also realized I had a big place in my heart for the MGA.

I have never driven either, probably a good place to start. I have road in both and tried both on for fit. After initial concerns with space, the TR6 does fit, but it seems narrower than the MG. The MG fit ok too. I'm 6'3", but that is no longer my main concern.

Which car would be a better daily (read: nice weather weekend and summer driver) for recreational purposes and small trips.

How do there driving experiences compare? Maintenance? Durability? Safety (my wife asked)? Anything else?

I sense the TR6 can be had for less money. 10 k gets a very good tr and a fair MGA- would that be the case?

Thanks for any and all help.

You asked for it!

I love the TR6. The lines, the smooth power and sound of six cylinders, the solid feel of the controls, it goes on and on.

I once had an older Spitfire and did like the rounded lines (but the AH3000 looked even better to me).

I would expect many inhabitants of this site to support the 6. The MG site seems outspoken when I last visited, so I'm sure they will not hesitate to give you their view. Either way, hands that like to get dirty need a LBC.

ECS Smith

Hi Sean
I presently own a 73 TR6 but I've owned a MGA as well as a TR3. I have to admit I love MGAs as well. However as a daily driver you cannot beat a TR6. The MGA certainly has some very classic lines and it sure is an attention getter. Then again so is the Six. A always felt that my MGA was underpowered; I sounded like the engine was chasing it when on the highway; not so with the six. The TR6 is nicer to drive with a more modern feel to it than the A. I did own the MGA back in the sixties and it was my daily driver whereas the Six is just a toy, however it seemed like I was always repairing something on the MGA. To my way of thinking if you want it all, performance, reliabilty, good looks go for the TR6. Kind of like the difference between a good looking wife that can cook and a gorgeous wife that can't.

Doug Campbell

No doubt about it in my mind, the TR6 will make a better driver than an MGA. Roll up windows instead of side curtains, locks that actually work (but then again, you never really lock a soft top car), a functioning heater, more power, better brakes than most MGAs, all syncro gear box instead of on top three gears only, negative earth vs. positive earth electricals, etc. The TR6 is not a thoroughly modern car, but it does several years advantage over the MGA.

This is not to say that I dislike the MGA. I have had some good times with one, but the MGA is just not the driver that the TR6 happens to be, definitely much more of the occasional car these days. If you are still thinking MG and a driver, you are better off with a chrome bumper MGB (68 or later if you want an all syncro gearbox and negative earth electricals) or, dare I say it, an MGC. The MGC is not the best handling car around, but it is a nice touring car.

Of course, these are all my own opinions, "Your mileage may vary" so to speak.

Sean: When I bought my Tr6 I drove, fairly extensively a beautiful MGA coupe. The MG handled better and definitely had a more Old LBSC feel to it. However. Occasionally, I must get on the highway with my car and the MGA just didn't have it. At 55 MPH it was straining and the four drum brakes just didn't feel safe at high speeds. I finally decided on the '72 Triumph and have never regretted the decision. You could change the rear end out for higher ratios etc. They are wonderful cars, but for daily driving I'm afraid they're a little dated.

I agree with the logic of the modern elements of the TR such as roll up windows and such making it more usuable on a daily basis. The TR is my first love, but I really love the lines of the MGA ( very Healyesq).

I want to be able to drive this car whenever I feel like it. I know this is blasphemous, but I betrayed my love of LBC's in the spring and strongly considered the Z3 and S2000 (and at my wife's suggestion the Miata) but couldn't get over the fact that if I had one of these, yeah, I could drive it all the time, but I'd still want an LBC.

Bottom line is if I had unlimited funds, I'd have the TR6, MGA, Healy, XKE, and who knows what else. A couple of final questions:

Q: I posted the same issue on the MGA site and the TR got knocked a bit for its cornering and handling and build quality- any truth to it?

Q: If the TR I get is in really good shape, and I keep up on the routine stuff, what type of annual maintenance costs could I expect?

Q: What benefit does spax shocks bring to the rear suspension and what are the pros and cons of redlines?

Thanks for everyone's help.

1) It is easier to toss an MGA or B around than a TR. However, in the big scheme of things the TRs can be manhandled to the same sort of overall times around the your typical autocross cone course, you just have to work harder at it. Build quality issues are probably related to the TR6 being from the 70's. Let's just politely say that in the 70s, quality didn't seem to be Job 1 for most car manufacturers.

2) It really depends on how much you are willing to do yourself and the prevailing labor rates in your area. For complete DIY, probably no more than a couple of hundred per year for normal maintainance costs. Of course, most of us can't just stick to normal maintainance stuff, so you will likely spend more. The limit is your time and wallet. If not DIY, as long as it is normal maintainance, then you are probably upping the ante to say a thousand. This does not include needed repairs. Of course all of this can vary with how much of a "driver" it happens to be. If you use it as a daily commuter type of driver, then repairs will be of a more urgent nature and you will trade dollars for time.

3) I have stuck with the lever shocks on my TR6. Some of the conversions I have seen out there scare me. The engineer in me says that transferring suspension loads into unreinforced body work sheet metal and letting that serve as the primary load path is not the hot lick. Others use multi-piece bits to eventually get the loads back into the frame, better but since it involves body sheet metal penetrations with some degree of shear loading I am still not so sure. Then there are some one piece that come off the frame and protrude up into the wheel well. This type provides an odd load path back to the frame, I can see how this one can possibly have some twist due to bending moments. At least it doesn't dump loads into the body sheet metal. The best looking of the bunch that I have seen (although in pictures only) is the set up from Revington TR, it places the tube shocks inside the coil spring with mounts to the trailing arm and the upper part of the rear frame. A major undertaking, but looks to be very well thought out. This is the one kit that I am considering as we begin work on my TR250. If I don't go the Revington route, the TR250 will have lever shocks.

I agree with SteveP. And for a TR6 in good to excellent condition, the cost of maintenance can be less than a newer car for DIYers because you *can* DIY and parts are available and reasonable.

Since purchasing my '71 in April, I've done almost everything myself on a 6 in fair condition. I plan to do almost everything myself and be close to $100 per month average.

If you choose to not DIY, pick your mechanic with care and get the TRF Catalogs and a manual (I like Haynes). I would expect total cost of operation to be about $100 per month. (Depending upon use, including gas!) If the car is like mine, the costs may be prohibitive!

I've often heard $100/month as a rule of thumb, that's my cut at it.

Have Fun!
ECS Smith

I too am 6'3" and I cannot drive a MGA-it is virtually impossible. I have owned an MGB, with no problems, and just recently acquired my baby, a 1971 TR6. In terms of how a person our height fits in one of these LBC's, there is no comparison; I can drive a MGB, a TR3 and a TR6 without feeling totally cramped up, but I cannot get under the wheel of a MGA and drive it comfortably.

This thread was discussed between 11/08/2003 and 15/08/2003

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