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Triumph TR6 - Just got a 74 TR6 - what did I get myself into?

Hello all,
After 25 years, the old car bug has hit and with the blessing of my wife, picked up a 74 for $2800. It's not home yet but I know I am in for a winter of work.
I have been reviewing this awesome site and getting a little nervous of what is ahead of me.
Here's what I know about the car:
Motor is strong,trans needs a new slave cylinder. Interior is in great shape and the top is perfect.
Bad news: The tops of the fenders are rusted thru and the rockers are gone - replacements come with the car.
The trunk has no holes and just a couple of scabbies that can be taken care of easily.
The rear deck has rust in the corner where it meets the rear fenders. The tops of the rear fenders have surface rust.
I plan to start with the body and frame issues. The first step is to decide if this car will be a driver or if its worth putting a lot of $$ into it.
This car came from PA and the owner said that the frame had been undercoated and was solid. After reading some of the posts, I am starting to get skeptical.
This my first TR, are there any tips I should know about the body, especially the rear fenders? Do they bolt on like older MG's and Healeys?
Thank you - I am looking forward to spring 2006!
Tom C

A TR6 is one of the most repairable cars I know of. I grew up in the body repair business. I am currently on my 14th TR6. I have a 2004 XJR and a 71 XKE V-12 conv. I say this because even with those other cars, the 6 is still my favorite. My best advice is for you is to sell this car and go spend 12-15K on a VERY nice car, and enjoy! Unless you have mucho patience and $$$$. There are too many classic car finance companys out there. You will spend all of your time, money, and energy on this car to only be pretty sick of it by the time it is "right". Go get that car you can piddle with, drive, and enjoy.
Gene Holtzclaw

You seem to have a need for a project,and this car will provide you with an education. You will find that there are a lot of areas hidden from you at this point that will need rust repair (as well as the obvious ones). As Gene says, you will probably buy a boat for the body man, or you'll learn how to MIG weld and paint, etc. Either way, you'll still have a fun project. If it turns out too much for you, you could part the beast out. I have done that, and beyond all logic, regret it still today.

A place to look at on the frame is the pivots for the rear suspension. They usually need reinforcement.

Stubborn, determined people can succeed in their dreams. It's your car, so if you want to just use bondo or whatever to get it into driver status, go ahead. You'll just have to do the work over at a later date. Beware of shipwrights disease. Most of us have suffered from it, especially those who are selling their TR6's for the prices Gene mentions. And they have probably spent $20K and countless hours, but they finished their projects. They're probably partially funding their newest fling.

There are quite a few websites by owners that have done what you plan to do. They have put up pics and descriptions of what they have proudly done. That should give you a start.
Tom

In my opinion, 2800.00 for a project car is a decent deal. It will give you a project and if you tire of it or are overwhelmed you can sell it and probably not lose anything.

Once you start scraping away the undercoating you'll either be pleasantly surprised or horrified. But as mentioned above everything on these cars can be dealt with.

I replaced my rocker panels myself and although not easy I got it done and they look great. Just ask alot of questions and take things slowly.

Just enjoy your project knowing you can always bail out.

The best advice mentioned above is determine what level of resto you want to do. If the frame is rusted in the usual spots you can weld in pieces to repair the area. But it will never be a "concours" resto. For that you would have to remove the body and weld in replacement pieces (some available new) or replace the frame. All not easy but people have done it.

Good luck
Henry
HP Henry Patterson


By the way, to answer one of your questions:

The front and rear fenders bolt on. I had all of my fenders off. I was lucky with my car (from the south) and all of the blots came out without a problem. The rear fenders were assembled with sealer in the seams so you'll have to carefully remove them once all of the bolts are out. You'll have to remove at lease the rear part of the interior to easily get at all of the rear fender bolts.

It is then that you will find out how serious the body rust is. The areas you mentioned are the worst on these cars. If you see a small bubble of rust like around the top seams of the rear fenders, it's probably much worse underneath...but again it's all repairable and parts are available. If you can't weld then take a class or find a friend who can. The newer home MIG welders make it much easier for the novice to learn to weld than it did years ago.

You'll have fun. Do you have a heated garage?

Henry
HP Henry Patterson

Thank you everyone for the support. I do have a budget and I realize that this will never be a trailer queen.
With 2 kids in high school, I don't have 12k to spend on a cherry ride and yes I intend to learn how to Mig weld. Just finished rebuilding our house from the ground up (something I also had to learn) and now I am full of confidence to try my hand at metal instead of wood.
I really want to be able to drive it to work (30 miles) every day - the green Caravan just doesn't do it for me especially with a cooked A/C evaporator and 95 degree weather.

I agree with you Henry, I didn't think I could lose much if I have to bail out. I have been looking all summer for an MG or Triumph and realize the prices that these cars are going for.
Tom
Tom C

Tom,

I did exactly as you are doing. I got my TR6 three summers ago and had the body completely apart in the beginning of that Fall. At that time I had two boy's in high school..one is now in college. I had always wanted to restore a car so I just did it. The TR6 turned out to be a perfect choice for my first resto. I had owned one in my late teens and destroyed it by driving it through a couple of Michigan winters. So that that's the first good reason to restore one. The second is that parts are readily available and reasonably priced...Lots of stuff on ebay as well as the three major suppliers. And third..it fits in the garage and leaves room to work on it.

I'm sure with your background of previous projects you'll do fine with this.

I wish I had learned to weld though.. For my resto I left that up to my friend who happens to be a retired metal shop teacher....lucky me! He only had to weld the rocker panels after I had fitted them in and had them ready to weld with many clamps holding them.

Keeps us posted and ask lots of questions along the way.

Here is a link to a web site that has a great body work bulletin board with many contributors. I learned alot from that BB. It's called the Auto Body Store and the owner who runs the web site also sells body work stuff. I am not affiliated in any way but I do recommend checking it out. I talked to the owner many times and he gave me much advice even though I only bought a couple small items from him.

http://www.autobodystore.com/

Henry
HP Henry Patterson


Tom,
It is not that hard to learn MIG weld. The big investment is getting a 110v welder. May be you luck out with a good 2nd hand unit, or you can get a loaner from a friend. Pick up some use computer case to practice, a lot of practice! The worst thing a novice will do is melt down the sheet metal while welding. Practice until you get the touch.
Good luck
Paddy
Paddy Kan

Tom:

Some thoughts on rust problems. Last Spring I bought a '76 TR6 from the western US for under $10 thou Canadian $$. The car had new carpets, 5 new redlines, Lucas PL700's, a decent top, all new lower dash pads, good seats and door panels, new u-joints and fuel pump and no dings.I cut three small pieces of rust out of the body of the car, one piece about 1" x 3", another about 2" square and a third about 3" x 7" from the lower right front fender where the water drain hole was blocked by undercoat by the PO. The rocker underneath was not rusted. We took the car down to bare metal and found no other rust. Aside from those three spots, the car is rock solid and with no rust whatsoever on the frame. The point is that this structurally solid car needed a lot of TLC; suspension rebuild front & rear (almost done), brake and clutch cylinders, one rear hub (good used for $50.00), brakes, exhaust system and an engine rebuild later down the road. I can fix anything mechanical but rust is another matter and something I experienced watching my TR4A slowly disintegrate after spending a small fortune doing mechanicals. I lost my shirt on the TR4 and decided then that I was done with rust buckets. I'd spend the bucks on a solid car - buy the best body and frame you can afford as it's probably cheaper in the long run. If your deal is done - good luck on the restoration and with the help of the guys on this site you will get it done. You've definitely come to the right place as this is without a doubt the best site on the net. There is more TR6 expertise here than they had at British Leyland.

Cheers.
Bob
'76-6

Bob
'76-6
Bob Evans

This thread was discussed between 28/08/2005 and 30/08/2005

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