Restoring the GT6


How do you restore a GT6? In fact the Triumph small chassis cars (Herald & Vitesse) and sports cars (Spitfire & GT6) are one of the easiest classic cars to restore, due to their body on chassis design and clamshell bonnets.

I broke the cardinal rule in restoring mine, a frame or chassis based car like the GT6 should be removed from its chassis, and the chassis and body restored separately! Well, that's all very well, but I only had a small(ish) garage with no room to remove the body from the chassis, and nowhere to store the body while the chassis was being restored, so I had no choice (except maybe paying somebody else to do it). However while there are advantages in doing it 'properly' there are also disadvantages. While, with the body is off it is easier to see and work on the chassis, the body needs to be treated carefully as it will not be very rigid and could distort. Some consider the best way is to mount the body on a rotisserie to keep it rigid while various load bearing components are dealt with. One is shown below (with GT6 Mk2):

Probably the best way is to restore the chassis and then remount the body onto it so that it is perfectly aligned while bodywork repairs are being done.

Restoration or Renovation?

Another choice which needs to be made is whether to keep as many of the original parts as possible, carefully refurbishing them, or to replace with new (in most cases non-original) parts, a wide variety of which are easily available at not unreasonable prices. I chose to do the latter, as I did not have the time to refurbish items in most cases. However I am taking a chance, as many 'new' parts may be of questionable quality, wheras in many cases the originals are better made. The parts which I did replace automatically were the fasteners, where appropriate, with stainless steel (note, stainless steel does not have the tensile strength of HSS or High Speed Steel, so should not be used in critical areas such as suspension).

A good example of restoration by renovation, wherever possible, is the work of Ed Hollingsworth of Omaha, Nebraska, USA. His website lists some of his many Bullfire Garage projects, and one of them was "a nice little ’69 Triumph GT6". Ed renovated the chassis, front suspension, front hubs, front calipers, rack & pinion steering, differential, rear spring, rear hubs, rear suspension, rear brakes, chassis 'plumbing', inner axles, gearbox, alternator, starter, water pump, fuel pump, carburettors, manifolds, distributor and heater! Moss Motoring has a lovely article about him, entitled 'Garage Hero', to see it click the image below (from the Moss website).