I guess it must have been some sort of mid life crisis but in 2003 I decided I wanted to renew my acquaintance with a GT6. So I started looking around for a suitable car. I joined the Triumph Sports Six Club and had a look in the classified. Ideally I was after a Mk1 or a Mk2. I found a cheap (cheap being a key factor) MK3 but it was in a lot of pieces so although tempted I decided to look for something else. In the spares section of the TSSC mag, The Courier, was an abandoned MK3 restoration. I gave the seller a ring and found that it was actually a MK2 - fantastic!. It was the Easter holidays so I bribed the kids with a McDonald's and we set off down to Hampshire to have a look. There is no doubt it looked rather sad but it was all there and it was an overdrive MK2. It was purchased for £300.00.

What did I buy?

The seller of the car had access to a trailer so he delivered the car for me. Once I had the car at home I could have a good look around it. As I said above on the plus side it was a very late MK2 with overdrive and most of it seemed to be there. It was also cheap. However the cost of a car in this condition pales into insignificance when compared to the cost of restoring it. The body was in a bad way. It had some repair work done on the drivers side but the floor had been removed from the passenger side and there was a large gap between the door and the B post. The bulkhead had been poorly patched. I had no idea of the state of any of the mechanicals as it was a non runner.

Strip Down

I didn't try and start the engine but instead started with the body work. I went to the 2003 South of England meet and brought all the panels that I though I would need from Anglian Triumph. Little did I know but I would be using them again in the future. The passenger floor on was not fully fitted so I started with tat side. I removed the sill and the rear wing. The more I removed the worse the problems became. The A post was in a mess and someone had tried to fill holes with a mig welder resulting in a forest of mig wire inside the sill. On removal of the rear wing I found that the outer section of the inner wing had been repaired with some heavy plate braised in place. This was a nightmare to remove and once out of the way there was nothing left of the original panel. The worst problem with the shell was that the rear seat pan had rusted and also been the subject of poor repair work. This panel its the core of a Spitfire or GT6 shell and I was beginning to realise what a huge task it would be to repair the shell. I was also concerned that even if it was repaired it would never be very pretty.

I got some quotes from professionals to do some of the work as I was not confident in taking on such a big task. These were prohibitively expensive so I had to think again. After one particularly frustrating morning in the garage I was having a break and browsing through the TSSC Courier magazine. Chic Doig was advertising reconditioned shells so I gave him a call. He had a Californian MK2 Shell that needed a bit of work and converting to RHD. I agreed to buy it from him and also arranged that he would give me some credit for any of the vast collection of panels that I had accumulated and that he used in repairing the Shell. The only issue was that Chic is based north of Edinburgh and I live in South Bucks. I took a couple of days off work and drove up to Chic's with my panels and to have a look at the shell.

Californian Shell

Although the new shell needed some work it was 100% better than what I had. It was also considerably less expensive to buy this from Chic than to the rough shell I already had. The rear seat pan that as I said before is the core of the shell structure was as new and still had its original paint. Chic used the floor pans and sills that I had purchased for my original shell fitted one rear wing as it had a small dent and converted the shell to right hand drive. I arranged to pick up the shell from Stafford in 2003. Chic Had it on has stand for the weekend and I brought it home at the end of show. I sold the rest of my spare panels on ebay.

While Chic was preparing the shell I started to have a look at the chassis. The original chassis whilst fundamentally sound turned out to be bent just behind the front suspension turrets. This is a fairly common place for them to go if they are involved in a front end shunt. So I now needed a replacement chassis.


Luckily Mike Papworth of Transmission fame just happened to be advertising a GT6 MK2 chassis for sale. So I took a trip up to Coventry and collected the chassis on the roof rack of my car. Finding a MK2 chassis was useful as although any spitfire/GT6 chassis could have been modified it saved messing around with rotoflex mountings etc. I did have to weld on a couple of bonnet hinge mounts as the chassis had been originally used for a TX Tripper. I had the chassis powder coated in black before I realised it should be body coloured. Next I had it refinished in 2 pack Royal Blue but for some reason this crazed after a few weeks. After being re painted for the third time (and even then it went back as they had not done the job properly) I could start building it up.

I started at the front with the later heavier anti roll bar and everything else new except for the hubs. I fitted Superflex bushes throughout. My attention then moved to the rear suspension. On stripping the rotoflex drive shafts I found that they had been assembled without shims or spacers. I got hold of a couple of 2nd hand rotoflex set ups from ebay and out of all the bits built up 2 good drive shafts. These are a fiddle to get right and I would certainly not attempt to overhaul them on the car.


During its rebuild the chassis had been outside on the drive under a cover whilst the body had pride of place in the garage. Now that it s was rolling I could temporarily mount he body on the chassis. I suspended the body from a gantry and wheeled the chassis underneath. All the bolt holes lined up ok and I put a couple of bolts in to hold it in place. I had a go at repairing the bonnet but like most of the rest of the original car it was in a real mess. I managed to get a repro bonnet off ebay for £500 - considerably less than list price and a useful find as the repro bonnet was out of production at the time. I had a new front valance that came with the car and a decent tailgate. Chic supplied me with a pair of re skinned door shells and also fitted new gutters to the otherwise sound windscreen frame.

So I now had a complete car that needed painting. After a fair bit of shopping around I sent the car to Anglian Classics for painting. David fitted a new rear wing as we had trouble lining up the swage line on one side of the car (Chic supplied the wing FOC). The body was then removed so that the underside could be stone chipped and painted. The rest of the car was then painted and the car delivered home.

The first job once I had the car home was to refit the windscreen frame. This was the source of much frustration and after many attempts to put it back bottom first I finally managed to install it by loosely fitting the top mounting bolts and swinging the bottom into place. I had glued the seals to the screen frame to hold them in place during assembly. I then rebuilt the steering column including all its switch gear and built it up with new column bushes (in fact I broke one outer column when trying to extract the bushes). The wiper mechanism clutch and brake pedals and heater box were also installed at this time.


With the car now a rolling concern I thought I would turn my attention to the engine and gearbox. I decided to look at the gearbox first. I brought an overhaul kit consisting of bearings and gaskets and hoped that would be all that was required. Having stripped down the box it was clear that more serious work was required. A couple of teeth had sheared off the reverse gear - scrapping the lay shaft. As is very typical on these boxes the main shaft tip was beginning to break up.

After having a chat with Mike Papworth I took the box up to him and had it rebuilt with a modified Dolomite 1850 main shaft and 20 spline input shaft This results in about the strongest box possible for these cars. We gave the overdrive a visual inspection and decided to give it a try rather than overhaul at this time.


I had forgotten what a filthy job stripping down a used engine was! These engines are very heavy and one of the best investments that I made was a Clarke CDT4 Dolly Truck from Machine Mart. This allowed me to move the engine around and store it out of the way so that I could still store the car in the garage. The first task was to remove the head. this was easier said than done. With all the head bolts removed the head was still stuck fast. I removed most of the studs using 2 nuts locked together but 4 studs refused to budge. In the end I invested in this Laser impact stud remover which is available from Machine Mart for around £20.00. I used this with a long 1/2" drive breaker bar and it allowed me to apply huge force to the stuck studs without the slightest hint of it slipping. All the remaining studs came out with this tool. The threads were damaged so I replaced the studs but the head now came off with a sharp knock with a hide mallet The engine was in quite good condition (the odometer read 98,000 miles on the car)so I cleaned everything up, honed the bores and built it back up with new tri metal bearings, new rings, oil pump and timing chain. The head was stripped and cleaned and the valves given a very light grind.

The engine was reunited with the gearbox and lifted back into the car without the cylinder head just to save a bit of weight. The head was then installed and torqued down. Some of the ancillaries were now installed and the engine spun over on the starter to bring up the oil pressure. The carburetors were rebuilt with an overhaul kit from Burlen services. The kit contained most of the required parts but not the gaskets for the disc starter mech. Despite these being clearly shown in a picture in Burlens catalogue nobody in there technical support department could help in supplying them. A call to Andrew Turner sorted the parts and he sent me a gasket FOC - so that's where I will go in future for carburetor parts. With the carbs rebuilt I set up the ignition timing and connected enough electrics to start the engine. The first attempt saw it fire but the battery really didn't have enough guts. A new fully charged battery and a squirt of easy start saw it start for the first time since the late 1980's - result!! I will fit the rad and a silencer (it's a bit anti-social with just the front pipe) and run it up to temperature soon.


After many delays including rebuilding the front end of my daughters Renault Clio after a slight accident and the bad winter I am back on the case. I decided to tackle the wiring next and whilst doing so adding some upgrades. The main upgrade was to add a 10 way blade fuse box so that I could protect circuits at a more reasonable level than provided the original 3 x 35 amp fuses. This is fitted in the front passenger foot well just in front of the A pillar. I also added a set of relays to switch the headlights. These were built into a box which was mounted in the front chassis rail just in front of the radiator. The column switchgear now only switches low current to the relay coils. Relays were installed to switch future driving lamps and electric fan. I added high power feeds from a small fuse box mounted by the starter solenoid so the main feeds to the headlamps was direct rather than through the column switches. I used soldered bullet connectors and soldered all crimped joints just to make sure. It took a lot longer than I expected to re-install the wiring. I had also re-covered the dash top, installed the heater, windscreen wiper wheel boxes, wiper drive and demister vents prior to installing the loom.

Lights and Brakes

So that the wiring could be installed and tested the lights were refitted to the shell. Once the loom was in place and some testing carried out it was time to get the engine running again. Unfortunately some water had been left in the block over winter and a couple of the core plugs had popped. This meant that the manifolds had to be removed to fit the new core plugs. An ammeter and an oil pressure gauge will be fitted to the car and can be seen in their temporary position in the pictures. With a fully charged battery the engine was fired up. The rebuilt radiator was then fitted and the engine started and run for a while and allowed to warm up. It sounds great with its Bell semi sports exhaust. The next stage was to install all the brakes. Rebuilt calipers were used with copper lines and Goodridge stainless braided hoses. All the rear brakes are new including back plates. The hand brake was also installed with all new cables and fittings


Nothing much happened to the car for the next 18 months or so due to moving house and being focused on other things. I was still keen to take the car down to the Le Mans Classic and having missed the 2010 event the 2012 became my target completion date. One of the jobs that I had though that I would farm out to a professional was the headlining. However the logistics of doing this were complicated by the car not being roadworthy and by some extremely high quotes. So I took the bull by the horns and had a go myself. Luckily I had some warm weather so laid out the headlining on the roof of the car to warm up. The stringer bars were inserted in the sewn in pockets and the whole thing hung inside the car. The front bar is held by 2 hooks fitted to the front of the roof. I used loads of clips to clip the lining around the edges. The stringer channels needed to be cut open a couple of inches at each end to allow the lining to be pulled taught. Once I had the whole thing clipped in place I left it for a week to settle. The weather had got a lot colder by the time I got back to the job so I used a fan heater to warm up the interior of the car as much as possible and then stretched and glue the edges of the lining in place. This process took the best part of a day but the end result was very satisfying.


With the headlining now in place I turned my attention to the interior. Before refitting the interior I needed to put all the fittings back in the doors. This was one of the last tasks I attempted before my house move and resulted in a broken drop glass. I was not looking forward to this job but as it turned out it was fairly straightforward. (Once I had managed to find a replacement drop glass that is) I also refitted the windscreen at this stage. I re trimmed the H support and the arm rest before fitting an SAP plastic gearbox tunnel. Next I fitted the gearbox cover carpets followed by the H support for the dash. This was followed by the rest of the carpet set (molded Newton Commercial Carpets). Most of the carpets fitted quite well but there were a couple of adjustment needed. For example the passenger floor carpet molding does not take into account the passenger footrest fitted to GT6's. Once the carpets were sorted I fitted new rear side panels and finally fitted the seats. Although my car is a MK2 I kept the MK3 seats which had the advantage of being fitted with headrests and had them recovered by Newton's with perforated vinyl with matching headrests. The seatbelts are from Quick fit seatbelts with original style fittings (eye bolts in the floor). The last job was to fit all the aperture seals and I now had a complete car. There was nothing else for it now but to take it for an MOT. I hadn't driven a GT6 for about 25 years and it seemed really weird to start with. I actually though some major suspension component was loose or missing!! Anyway the first MOT was a fail due to a couple of loose bolts and poor handbrake performance. Once I head rechecked all the bolts, replaced the trunnion bushes on the front (these were new but the quality left a lot to be desired so I fitted a set of Superflex bushes) and fitted a better pair of brake drums on the rear the car passed its Mot and was road legal for the first time since 1989. However driving the car around locally it became clear that all was not well. The diff was howling and in need of replacement. This was one part of the car that I had not been able to test as the car had never been on the road in my ownership.

Diff and Drive shafts

I got Mike Papworth to build me a 3.63 ratio diff on the later carrier and fitted with a drain plug for future servicing. I used the diff change as an opportunity to fit the Jigsaw CV driveshaft conversion that I had purchased some time earlier. Although it's never pleasant groveling under cars for any length of time the whole lot went back in without any major hitch. I as I had to remove the rear hubs it fitted 12mm Landover wheel studs whilst they were off. I got this lot fitted on the Saturday before the SEM in Leatherhead so on the Sunday the car made it inaugural appearance at the SEM and ran and drove perfectly on the 100 mile round trip.

The Finished Car

Although these things are never really finished and even now I know there are several small jobs that need to really finish things off here are a few pictures of how the car looks now.