My wife and I drove 250 miles to the 2022 VTR Convention in Galena Illinois in late August, joining about 20 other cars from the Minnesota Triumphs club. This was the longest trip away from home in our TR6, but I was feeling pretty confident about it after last year's engine rebuild, this year's gearbox rebuild, and a few hundred miles of driving this year already.
This is my early '69 TR6. In 2018 it has about 75,000 miles on it and running well. It has an unknown early history, bouncing around different members of my family in Oregon and California before ending up with me in Minnesota. It was rebuilt at some point maybe in the '80s with a paint change from yellow to red, seats recovered and door panels replaced with home-made versions, and other fixes that were more shade-tree than original. I've been gradually fixing mechanical systems and doing a sort of rolling restoration as I go.
Log of work done so far.
The original 1969 steering wheel was a unique design for that year, with a different center hub than later years, and a series of holes similar to racing cars and Jaguars of the period. Here's my original wheel with a black leather cover and some excellent patina.
The sun visors that came with my car were, like many of the interior pieces, obviously home-made. You can see in this photo of the interior, they're oddly puffy and warped.
Well, a new-to-me soft top. A member of our local Triumph club replaced the top on his TR6 with a fancier cloth version, and his old one was still in pretty good shape, and I was the first to respond. The only 2 problems with it were a small hole in the rear corner and that it had been installed a little too tight on the previous car. So this isn't a new top installation, it's really a re-installation of a used top that's still a lot nicer than the one I'd patched and repaired several times.
I'm not building this TR6 to be a race car, really more of a summer around-town cruiser that's reliable and ready for moderate road trips. But, in that process, the engine is a bit hotter, and the original point of the car was for spirited driving, and they didn't take much prep to be a reasonable weekend racer, so it's totally in the car's spirit to do some zippier events.
It's a bit pointless trying to have a decent audio in a convertible. If the exhaust system isn't loud (mine is stock, but not quiet), the wind noise will overwhelm basically anything that isn't ridiculously loud. A radio is a bit more usable when the top is up, even with the rear window down, and it's really nice to have in a modern drive-in when you have to tune in a local station to hear the movie.
Anyway, my car came to me with this sweet vintage tape deck:
Nobody would call a TR6 a roomy car, and when you're over 6 feet tall, it can be a rather snug fit. Add in large feet, and the driver's options for positions get even more limited. It's a good thing i like wearing converse all-star shoes, because i would be hard-pressed to work the foot pedals with shoes that are at all larger.
This is a summary of the parts and specs for my 1969 TR6 engine and gearbox rebuild project, as a baseline and documentation for what was done.
Build completed and first startup: June 17, 2021
Car mileage: 78,779
Initial compression after cam break-in: 175, 180, 175, 175, 175, 175
Initial cam break-in and first 50 miles of driving were with Driven BR40 break-in oil. After that changed to VR1 20w-50.
With the engine finally mounted in the car, it's just a matter of making all of the connections needed to do the initial startup and break-in.
One of the changes i've made in the new engine build is removing the original fan and adding an electric fan instead. It's a fairly common modification - the stock cooling system is usually plenty to keep the engine cool while driving without any fan (so removing the fan removes a bit of unneeded drag), and an electric fan gives the option for full air flow when sitting at an extended idle (when the car would tend to heat up).
Once the machine shop had a chance to evaluate my replacement engine block and crank, i was finally able to make the last big parts order. Because of the surface rust in a couple of cylinders and crank journals, the block was bored out to .040 over and the crank ground to .020 under. I was hoping for a bit less crank grinding, but it's fine, and the bores are at the limit for most available pistons, but should be plenty good for my lifetime with the car.