About my 'Triumph', the GT6 Mk2 - 'FHN548J'
My car as purchased in March 1980
I have owned FHN 548J since March 1980 when I was only 31 years old! As they say, it has had one owner since 1980 (ignoring the previous 6). It was bought on the recommendation of an article called, ironically "Cars to Keep" written by motoring journalist/racing driver Roger Bell for the first issue of a magazine called "Old Motor", now defunct. Little did I know that I would keep it for over 35 years, and still counting! Originally I used it as a daily driver, when it visited such far flung places as London, Guildford, and Scotland (reputedly at the hands of the driver who stole it in Luton). My Dad tried to persuade me to sell it when I bought my first new car in 1982, an Austin Metro, but I decided to keep it as a second car! When my future wife Liz's car broke down in 1985, I lent the Metro to her, again using the Triumph as a daily driver. I remember using it for the first viewing of our present house in Chester. Just before we married she bought a more reliable car, a Hyundai Pony and the Triumph was again consigned to the garage. Over the years I used it occasionally until July 2000 when it failed its MoT. The high cost of raising a family meant that there were no funds to keep it roadworthy so it was laid up, and gradually became a glorified cupboard in the garage. The car was kept because I had owned it for so long that it had a place in my heart, becoming almost a member of the family! When I celebrated my 50th Birthday in 1998 my friend Garry even made a birthday cake in the shape of a GT6 (complete with brown patches of "rust"), see below:
When I finally retired at the end of 2013 I had already made a start on it's second restoration by getting the engine going after being silent for over 12 years. Fortunately it sounded as good as ever; I had rebuilt it meticulously back in 1980.
I have tried to contact the previous owners but without success. The logbook and records kept by British Motor Industry Heritage Trust indicate that it was purchased from the Cleveland Car Company Ltd in Darlington by a Christopher McAndrew who lived at Dilston House, Aldbrough St John, Richmond, Yorkshire, the car's first "home". The McAndrew name is not uncommon in the Darlington area. Dilston House is a substantial property, and can be seen here. It has now been in Chester for two-thirds of its 46 year life and I have owned it for 37 years.
Below are details from my British Motor Industry Heritage Trust certificate of the car as manufactured:
|TRIUMPH GT6 MARK II|
|Specification||RHD, Home Market|
|Colour, trim||Black (Ambla)|
|Date(s) built||5 August 1970|
|Date despatched||26 August 1970|
|Destination (dealer)||Cleveland Car Company Limited, Darlington|
|Other Numbers||Key Number FT.101|
|Details of equipment||Disc wheels
155-13 Dunlop SP.68 tyres
|Other information||The Registration Mark FHN 548J was
issued in Darlington in or after August 1970.
In the latest restoration I have tried to keep the car reasonably original. The exceptions are as follows:
1. The Engine.
As the car used to be my main transport, reconditioning the original engine was not an option, so I obtained a spare engine, reconditioned that at my leisure, and changed over a week-end. I was offered a 2.5 litre engine from a scrapped 1972 Triumph 2.5PI saloon for £10, so I took that. At the time I don't think many GT6s had been uprated in this way, now it is more common. The bigger engine probably weighs a little more than the standard engine which weighs around 183kg (dry) because the longer throw crankshaft is more substantial. Not original, but at least these engines are period! The mistake I made was when I moved house, I took the original engine block to the dump in Ruthin, so I can never refit it to keep the numbers 'matching'.
2. The Gearbox.
This needed reconditioning, and I wanted to upgrade to overdrive. To this purpose I obtained a D-Type overdrive gearbox from a GT6 Mk3 I and a friend broke up. In the event I decided to upgrade to heavier duty items to take the increased torque of the bigger engine. To this end I had Mike Papworth build me a heavy duty gearbox with stronger components from later Triumphs, in a rare aluminium alloy casing, of which Canley Classics made a small batch. I asked Mike to number this KC81742 after the missing engine! This was matched to a later J-Type Laycock de Normanville overdrive, which is also stronger than the original D-Type. None of these are period, but most components do come from 1970s Triumphs.
3. The Body.
Although the body will have been restored twice, once in 1980 and again in 2016, almost without exception genuine Stanpart or Heritage panels (the latter allegedly made using original press dies) have been used. GT6s with totally original bodies are becoming exceedingly rare (and will become rarer), due to the prevalence of the 'tin worm'. The original colour was damson, which I didn't like at all! A fellow Mk2 owner I used to know who lived in Coepoeth had a white one which I saw once in Ruthin. I thought the colour really suited the car. I also remember seeing a white TR5PI in a Triumph showroom in Birkenhead around 1969, which I loved! The beautiful car below features in a German magazine called Autobilde in an article called "Driving Report: Aston Martin DB6 and Triumph GT6" and shows how I intend my car to look when it's finished. Hopefully with Southside Classic & Custom really achieving excellent panel gaps it should look just as good as this.
The Original Key