TR6 Tech Forum

Getting ready to buy my first Triumph

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Portland, ME, USA   USA
Hello all. I am in the market for my first triumph, preferably a tr6. I dont have much experience working on cars but am pretty handy and willing to put in some elbow grease. I've been reading about common problems with triumphs (and really any old cars) and the advice that keeps coming up is to do a thorough examination for rust especially on the frame. My question is less of a TR6 specific question and more of a general car buying question. How do i know what is too much rust? Can i see enough of the frame when the car is on the ground to be confident it doesnt have a rust problem? I guess im looking for advice on how to be reasonably confident in a purchase of a 30+ year old car. Thanks ahead of time and hopefully this is the right forum for such a question.

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Bpt70gt Avatar
Bpt70gt Brian T
Westmoreland, NH, USA   USA
Ben, you have to think about your budget and fixing skills. Buy the most car you can afford and you'll still have to repair things. They do make good cars to learn on but you'll need extra cash as you go along. Locate a local Triumph club in your area, join and talk with them. Ride with them. Triumph folks are the best.

Portland, ME, USA   USA
Thanks Bpt70gt. Ive looked for a local club but havnt had much luck finding one very close to me. I know i'll always have to fix stuff, thats part of what im looking forward to. Mostly on the mechanical side of things, body work doesnt much interest me as far as doing it myself. I just worry that ill end up with a lost-cause rust-bucket. I've looked at a few cars but just am not really sure i know where my line is

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Bpt70gt Avatar
Bpt70gt Brian T
Westmoreland, NH, USA   USA
Ben, yes Portland is a bit up the coast. What, maybe an hour north of York? There are some forum members here that are in the southern Maine area. Keep an eye out for them. Stay away from the rust buckets and rusty frames unless you want to pay someone else a lot of money to fix them for you. Your budget is the important factor at this stage. Better if you can put your prospective purchase up on a lift to clearly see the underside and do some poking.

Bpt70gt Avatar
Bpt70gt Brian T
Westmoreland, NH, USA   USA
This was a rust bucket when I bought it 20 years ago and I was a young man then. Now I'm old but it's been a fun journey.

TR SURREY TOP-6 8-21-17.JPG    69.3 KB

clifish Avatar
clifish Cliff Deger
St. James, NY, USA   USA
if you have not looked at this, you should:

74 TR6 - Carbs by POOLBOY
81 Corvette

Bpt70gt Avatar
Bpt70gt Brian T
Westmoreland, NH, USA   USA
Take a drive down to Brit Bits in Rye, NH. on the coast. They have some offerings and could help you chose a vehicle to meet your needs. Maybe 1-1/2 hours down the coast from Portland.

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Portland, ME, USA   USA
Thanks gents. The link provided for the buyer guide is great but that's exactly what I'm talking about. The pointers are there what im not sure of is if i know what's bad and whats REALLY bad when im looking at those things.

poolboy Avatar
poolboy Ken D
Sandy Hook, MS, USA   USA
In that case don't consider any TR6 that has a rusty frame.
Keep in mind it may be camouflaged with paint or undercoating.
Bring a small hammer to tap want a metallic sound..Bring an ice pick to poke around with.
And bring a camera to post pictures of areas that you have doubts them here.

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BraxtonO Avatar
BraxtonO Braxton O
Raleigh, NC, USA   USA
Buy one that's running and you can drive. Check lower body area - rockers, back of front wheel wells, frame under the body at rear ( you can get to that part pretty easy). Under the carpets in the foot wells, same in the trunk. Ideally no new paint or repairs in these areas - if the above listed areas are un-repaired and not rusty, that's a good start. If these areas are rusty much beyond surface rust (i.e. heavy scale or perforation) frame may likely be also. If it's had a respray, all bets are off - tougher to tell what's underneath (and sometime that's the intent)

Get it up on a lift if you can - as Ken says - tapping on the frame rails you can tell pretty quickly if you don't want it. May be dirty - likely oily - but should be solid. Check the frame outriggers where the leading edge of the rear trailing arms mount. Again new paint and undercoating may look good, but hide a lot.

Anything can be fixed, but frame repairs are not for the faint of heart. And not the way you want to start out your new "Triumph" life. If in doubt, move on. There are a lot of TR6's out there - try not to fall in love with a particular car or color too quickly. The more of them you look at - the more you will begin to see common problems - and common things that you don't need to worry about too much.

They're great fun classic cars. And I actually enjoy tinkering on them - somewhat therapeutic. But they're not Miata's (which I suspect you already realize) - what that means is even the best ones require a more committed amount of care and feeding.

Guys keep asking about budget. You should have a number in mind - prices vary a lot around the country, and even within an area. You should be able to find a good "project car" rust free in the $5k to $8k range - but that still will require significant work. North of $10k you should be able to find one that looks really good and you can drive more than work on. And right on up. (Below $5k-$6k and you're going to have more work than you want to start with - those cars are out there, but very rare now)

My two cents - hope it helps - worth what it cost you - your mileage may vary.

Hope you can join the Triumph owners club soon.


" You know - I love this thing. She's got a few leaks, but it's only the engine, gearbox, and the diff - so not too bad....."

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-08-24 09:06 PM by BraxtonO.

JimmyBb Avatar
JimmyBb Jim B
Verona, WI, USA   USA
TR6 is a fun car with plenty of parts availability and on-line help. There were several shortcomings with the car. Rust is top of the list. Look at the frame, especially the rear cross members that hold the rear suspension. Look at the differential mounts while you are under the car many are broken and need to be upgraded to be safe. Check the end float on the crankshaft. Hard to check on a test drive but there should be virtually no movement of the crankshaft but he thrust bearings are often worn badly. Have some one press in the clutch while you watch the harmonic balancer for movement.

At least a place to start other than the obvious things

barry s Avatar
barry s Silver Member Barry Stoll
Alexandria, VA, USA   USA
1972 MG MGB GT
1974 MG MGB
1976 Triumph TR6
1980 MG MGB
Ben - You state that you don't have much experience working on cars. That's ok, but you want to learn by only needing to deal with up keep and repairs. Buying a car that requires work to even be driveable is not for a neophyte. As stated in the beginning, buy the best car that you can possibly afford, that looks nice and drives fairly well. You'll have plenty of opportunities to hone your skills.

In my limited experience with Triumphs, I've owned my TR6 for only a year, You should be budgeting north of $10K. My years of experiencing are with MGBs. Even with them, you're now talking &7K and up, altho there are many more Bs than TR6s.

Happy Hunting

westbo Avatar
westbo Warren Westbo
Stockton Springs, ME, USA   USA
Ben, Check out New England Triumphs ( ) and join. It is is a great group of TR owners who are ready to help you source and evaluate potential TRs and they provide fabulous advice. On a recommendation of Tim Hutchinson of Penn Ridge Motors, Norway ME, I took this route and successfully found my TR.

Regards, Warren

Warren Westbo
73 Mimosa TR6

arcom Avatar
arcom Josh W
New Bern, NC, USA   USA
My advice, FWIW, find a nice one with overdrive. I've owned two TR6s, one with and one without overdrive. I would not buy another one without it. It makes highway driving so much more "comfortable."

Portland, ME, USA   USA
Thanks for the advice everyone! I was hoping to stay in the $5-8k range if possible. Got a couple suggestions around price ranges to be looking for (thanks BraxtonO & barry s) but id be curious if the rest of you concur with that assessment. In my area there is very little available though for any price. I guess its a waiting game but i was kind of hoping to have a couple weeks of driving before having to park it for the winter. Found a pretty decent looking one about 2 hours from me but the seller was a jerk and wasnt willing to communicate much about the car so i had to move on.

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