We had one of those...! BARRIE MILLS looks back at classic cars of days gone by... Triumph GT6.
Byline: BARRIE MILLS
BY the World Cup year of 1966, Triumph had already introduced the little Spitfire sports car, a competitor for the MG Midget and Austin Healey Sprite which had gone down well with fans of the marque.
The follow-up was a sensation - a six-cylinder car with GT styling.
Called the GT6, it immediately turned heads and its production run continued until 1973.
Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti had been commissioned by Standard-Triumph to design a GT version of the Spitfire.
However, the extra weight of the GT bodyshell resulted in poor performance from the Spitfire's 1,147cc engine.
So the four-cylinder was replaced with the more powerful six-cylinder engine from the Triumph Vitesse saloon and convertible, which shared a similar chassis with the Spitfire and Triumph Herald.
The car was further developed and refined and eventually launched as the GT6.
The new body was a sleek fastback design with an opening rear hatch. It was sometimes, a little unfairly, called the 'poor man's E-Type'.
It may not have been able to compete with the 150mph Jag, but the new engine provided a 106mph top speed and 0-60 mph in 12 seconds, which gave the MGB GT something to think about.
The tricky bit was the rear suspension which embodied the outdated swing-axle system from the Spitfire.
Triumph had done nothing to improve the system for the GT6 and the tendency to break away if the driver lifted off the power mid-corner was not helped at all by the increased weight at the front of the car.
A solution came with the 1969 model year, with the introduction of the GT6 Mk II, known in the States as the GT6+. The rear suspension was significantly re-engineered using reversed lower wishbones and Rotoflex driveshaft couplings, taming the handling and turning the Triumph into an MGB beater.
Overdrive - something you never hear of these days, an electronic extra gear - was a popular option.
The final major facelift for the GT6 came in 1970 in the form of the Mk III.
With only around 41,000 of all variants built, the car is becoming increasingly rare - good examples can sell for anywhere between PS10,000 and PS20,000.
Italian stylist Michelotti gave the GT6 its good looks