Straight Six Fastback Brit
The Triumph GT6 is a car designed for British roads. ‘Well of course’ you’re probably saying, ‘it was born and bred in Britain’. But think. When was the last time you drove a car that actually felt like it was at home on a UK B road? B roads are narrow, twisty and unfortunately, riddled with potholes as big as inland seas.
"MY MATES WERE ALL BUYING FORDS AT THE TIME, THESE WERE A BIT PLUSHER INSIDE"
To navigate all of this you need a car that’s supple enough to take everything in its stride. With that, you still need a suspension setup with a sharp and responsive turn in and stiffness to go around the fast narrow corners. The suspension isn’t fancy but it works. The engine and gearbox are also precisely what they need to be: pokey enough to push you out of the corners.
The GT6 is a car for sweeping through the British countryside. It’s not about standing outside the car and looking at its seemingly accidental handsomeness, it’s about sitting behind the wheel and making reliable, fizzy progress.
Andy Cook is the perfect match for his GT6. He’s a proper Triumph enthusiast, this is his fourth. A Dolomite sat on his drive next to the GT6 “I liked the way they are finished, my mates were all buying fords at the time, these were a bit plusher inside and everything.”
This GT6 is a car that’s used properly. “I’ve done the Round Britain run, which is from London to John O’ Groats, to Lands end and back to London in a weekend including overnight driving, non stop. I’ve been to Europe, Germany, Luxembourg, France, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland.”
IT DOESN’T SEEM LIKE A CAR MADE BY A COMPANY DESTINED FOR INSOLVENCY, IT’S TOO ‘TOGETHER’ FOR THAT
To support all of these trips, Andy has made some subtle modifications to help it keep up with the rigours of use. “It’s got a semi sports exhaust on it, K&N filters, oil cooler… uprated springs and shocks, electric fan and electronic ignition. It's not highly tuned or anything, it's fairly standard with some nice subtle mods.”
In the 60s the GT6 was competing with the MGB GT. I’ll stick my neck out and say that most MGB owners aren’t necessarily all that fussed about the brand of their car, more the fact that they’re driving a 60s motor. For the Triumph driver, the badge means a lot more.
By direct comparison the Triumph is smaller, the engine is more fun (than the B series) and it’s a sportier ride. The price for all this is that the car itself is a bit of a squish, but back in the day it was really about having those slightly more sporting looks and handling in a honest, affordable British make. Triumph’s marketing was mostly “well why wouldn't you?”.
THERE’S SOME RACE PEDIGREE TOO...
The GT6 is heavily based on the Spitfire so you’ve actually got some trickle-down racing pedigree there; Triumph took Spitfires to 24 hours of LeMans. The one that didn’t crash even made it into 21st place. The works team also went to Sebring and a few European road rallies.
The GT6 was unknowingly Triumph’s last opportunity at making a sports car before the British motor industry started falling over itself. To be honest this car defied my expectations, it doesn’t seem like a car made by a company destined for insolvency, it’s too ‘together’ for that. I was expecting a toy, a Sunday blaster. This GT6 is actually a tool, it’s capable, reliable and there’s nothing wrong with applying it to everyday use.