Our original story of Michael’s restoration project was just two weeks ago on June 22nd, which is seen below. You can find his latest updated photos following his original first hand report…
The following home garage restoration is brought to us by CarBuildIndex.com reader Michael H. We are thrilled to have yet another Reader Submission, this time around featuring the story of a 1969 Triumph GT6. Enjoy his honest account of the trials and tribulations of vintage car ownership from the vantage point of someone new and eager to the hobby on the following page, because we couldn’t sum the experience up better ourselves.
Triumph GT6 Story by Michael H.
“All my life I’ve dreamed of owning a sports car, but there has always seemed to be one giant obstacle in the way of that; the cost. A Porsche 911 from any era has almost always sat at the top of my list, it’s beautiful, purpose built and within the sports car world, seemed the most affordable. I’ve also always dreamed of a ’67 Mustang fastback, mostly for its menacing howl, and the thought of cruising in a low slung pavement eating monster that scares little children. Unfortunately, performance car affordable and my budget for a sports car, have never been in the same range.
I’m 33 and a fairly typical middle class guy. I’m married, have a home, a modest income and have felt like I was never going to ever be able to fulfill my dream of having a car whose exhaust was capable of disturbing the neighbours. Cars have been all around me – two of my Uncles are serial car junkies. I’ve been exposed to 240’s, 300 ZX’s, NSX’s, Scirocco’s, MR2’s, 911’s, a TR6’s and a bevy of classic American Muscle cars. But I’ve never owned anything that didn’t have four doors and a roof line lower than 4 feet.
When I first saw a Triumph GT6, my passion for owning a car finally became too much to bottle up. I spent months searching for one to buy, and quickly started researching their history and mechanical quirks. I was never mechanically inclined, the most I can do on a car is an oil change, but I figured if I was serious about getting into this, I would probably have to swing a few wrenches to be able to afford things.
The Triumph GT6 is a classically designed car, and in my mind shares, subtle cues from Ferrari, Jaguar and Porsche. The metal is shaped perfectly; strong lines, powerful curves, and then there is the sound. Only after owning this thing for close to a year, have I really begun to appreciate the rumble coming out of this engine. I was hooked on the character of the car, and have been ever since. Every time I see it, I want to drive the thing all fucking day.
My chance to finally buy a GT6 happened in February (2013), while I was searching Craigslist. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but the price was right ($5,500, which ended up being $5K after inspection) and the car was relatively close. It was running, and even better it had some serious upgrades under the hood – a triple weber carb setup that only racers usually used. That was mated to custom headers and exhaust. The interior wasn’t put together, but it came with a pile of interior bits that only had to be put back together. It sounded like a bargain, and the only thing it needed was some cosmetic TLC to make it a complete car and probably worth double what I was paying. I was being fiscally responsible and buying a little beast to drive at the same time.
I waited two months for the snow to clear and to be able to finally get the car to its halfway home at my Uncle’s garage. I spent the next two weeks getting the car ready to actually take on a test drive, as the previous owner had a nagging suspension repair that had to be done first.
That first drive was magical.
33 years of waiting and wanting. I didn’t notice anything on that drive except the raw visceral experience that you can only have in a car of a 1969 vintage.
It would take another two weeks to get the car back to my home, and some time on top of that before I was ready to bring it to my mechanic to certify. Once there, it wouldn’t pass certification, or at least not legally, so my mechanic told me to come back in a couple weeks and he would help me out with some ‘paperwork.’ In the meantime I had a temporary license from the MTO and on the weekends would take it out for short drives to run errands.
It was on one of these short little runs that I got acquainted with the evolution in braking performance of today’s cars. An Acura TL who I could not see over in my short car, stopped suddenly in front of me and I jammed on my brakes, tires screeching as I desperately tried to avoid rear ending him.
No such luck. I was long by about a foot. My beautiful little machine was horribly scarred, suffering a significant dent in its clamshell bonnet. That little accident would require me to replace the bonnet, and as a result, have to completely reconfigure the intake manifold and carb setup. At the time, I didn’t understand the implications of the ‘racer’s bulge’ that the previous owner had put into the classic looking hood.
Suffice it to say that since I knew little to nothing about cars, the ensuing six months have been nothing short of an endless trial of errors, making the slowest progress imaginable. It has been brutally frustrating not knowing how to fix something.
Based on this experience of restoring a car, I’ve reached some success, like being able to restart my little gremlin. Just this week it will be going off to a garage to get its final bit of work before finally getting that certification that I missed the last time around. I love this car and can’t wait to drive it again this summer.
There is a long list of things to do on the car, and that can seem daunting as I can’t do them all myself… Yet.
Restoring this car has inspired me to write a bit about my experience and share it with some others. It can be frustrating as hell sometimes, but I’m determined to see this thing through.“
LATEST UPDATED PHOTOS BELOW JULY 5TH, 2014:
Carb test fitting, in photo above.
Shaping intake to fit around exhaust flanges.
Firewall replacement panel, windshield washer fluid holder, fuel pressure regulator mount.
Undoing the previous Bondo repair cracks.
We thank Michael H. for his submission, and look forward to featuring more updates of his restoration-in-progress as they unfold.
If you have a restoration or build that you would like to feature here at CarBuildIndex.com, please submit it to me here at David@CarBuildIndex.com and join the family!