Michelotti’s distinctive fastback styling is as neat as any Ferrari of the era and was originally commissioned as a GT version of the Spitfire, although the additional weight blunted the performance of the four-cylinder car to the point that Triumph decided against offering it as a production model. The coupé shape was used for racing Spitfires and, of course, with the extra grunt of the 2.0-litre six-pot engine this gave us the GT6.
The GT6 originally shared the swing-axle rear suspension design of the Spitifre, in turn inherited from the Herald. It was improved for the MkII with the use of Rotoflex couplings, but this car is a MkIII, which featured the so-called ‘swing spring’ design. This involved a pivoting mount for the rear transverse leaf spring that reduced the camber change of the rear wheels and improved handling.
Originally 95bhp, the engine was uprated to 104bhp for the MkII and MkIII, in which form the car is good for well over 100mph and when fitted with an exhaust like the stainless Phoenix item on this car, it sounds simply superb.
This 1974 GT6 has been the subject of extensive restoration over the years with a bulging file of history to suit, the panel gaps are nice and even. The paintwork is also lovely – the subtle shade of Lotus Carbon Grey a nice alternative to the brighter ’Seventies hues you normally see on GT6s.
ON THE ROAD
With its hatchback rear door and the rare back seat option, this GT6 is as practical as any MGB, but if you’re not feeling gymnastic the low-slung GT6 can be a struggle to get in and out of. Once you’re inside though, it’s a nice place to be. A new dashboard has been fitted, the seats have been retrimmed in leather and there’s a lovely Moto Lita wheel too. With the low driving position and the prominent bonnet bulge in front of you, the view forwards is like being in a shrunken E-type, helped by the six-cylinder soundtrack.
With a high-torque starter fitted, the engine spins quickly and once you’re used to the long-travel throttle the GT6 is a delight to drive. The shift action is a nice short movement and this example has the benefit of overdrive too, actuated by the switch on the gearknob.
At A-road speeds the benefit of the MkIII suspension is apparent, the car seeming less affected by mid-corner potholes, and the brake servo upgrade gives an added feeling of confidence, especially with the Green Stuff pads and cross-drilled discs.
With it being such an immaculate example, we didn’t take the chance to drive the car hard, but it feels as if it would be as much fun on a club track day as on a long cross-country trip. Certainly it’s very much on the button and wants for nothing.
This is one of the most sorted GT6’s I’ve driven for a while and strikes an ideal balance between the Stag and the TR6 – it feels more modern than the TR and more of a sports car than the Stag. If you need occasional rear seats then it’s ideal – and a long, long way from the price of an E-type coupé…
Top speed: 112mph
0-62 mph: 10.1 secs
Fuel consumption: 20mpg
Gearbox: 4-sp man o/d