GT or ‘Grand Touring’ cars never seem to get the attention that their sporty convertible siblings do, but they should. There’s something alluring about the romance of packing a weekend’s worth of luggage in the cargo area and hitting the road with your sweetie, tearing through the mountains as fast as the car will carry you. This Triumph GT6 is the ultimate representation of 1960s British GT cars, and really nice examples like this one are available for not a lot of dough.
Standard-Triumph commissioned Giovanni Michelotti to develop a GT car based on the Spitfire in 1963, but the early prototype GT4 proved too heavy for the 1147cc four-cylinder engine in the Spitfire. Nevertheless, the fastback design became the basis for Triumph’s racing program in 1964, thanks to its aerodynamic qualities.
The fastback Spitfires did extremely well in racing in 1964 and 1965, eventually finishing 13th overall, and snagging a class win at LeMans that year, and topping the rival MG Midget in the process.
That success gave Triumph a reason to reevaluate a mass-produced Spitfire fastback for production. The engine power issue was still a problem, though, so the 2.0-liter inline six from the Triumph Vitesse ended up under the bonnet, and the “Spitfire” name was dropped entirely to emphasize the six-cylinder engine.
The GT6 arrived in 1966. This example is a late Mk1, which was produced until September 1968. Over that three model-year span, Triumph produced 15,818 GT6 Mk1s, out of almost 41,000 units produced between 1966 and 1973, making this the most plentiful generation of GT6.
About the only win for the MGB-GT in comparison was its standard rear seat. You could purchase something that resembled a rear seat for the GT6, but it was only for small children, of whom you weren’t particularly fond.
The 2.0-liter six developed 95 hp at 5000 rpm, and produced 117 lb-ft of torque at 3000 rpm. Surprisingly, the two added cylinders didn’t provide much more power than the MGB-GT’s four cylinder, and the top speed (106 mph) and zero to 60 time (12 seconds) wasn’t much faster, either. But what the six offered was refinement. The MGB-GT felt harsh and uncivilized. The GT6 was correctly considered a “poor man’s E-Type.”
This example is in remarkably nice condition, with one repaint in “High Hiding White,” so a close inspection of the bodywork underneath is critical.
About the only major fault the GT6 has is the rear suspension, a swing-axle design that came directly from the Spitfire, which cribbed it from the Herald. With the added weight of the engine up front, the rear end had a nasty tendency to come around if you dared lift off the throttle mid-corner.
The seller notes that this condition was improved in this car, thanks to the addition of a swing spring from the very late Mk3 GT6, an improvement over both the original Mk1 design, and the Rotoflex design of the Mk2s and early Mk3s.
This is an honest, nicely prepared GT6 with a current bid of just $4,250. With seven days to go, there’s a lot of room for this car to reach its reserve. We’re hopeful it ends up in a good home.