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Craig's GT6 MK3 in Aus.

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I've always loved small British cars.  At 22 I bought a nice looking but dodgy 67 MGB and spent 5 years continually repairing it as a daily driver.  Great fun, but bloody frustrating, and (to be honest) a slug off the line. In 93, it broke yet again, and I parked it, and spent half the money the smokey motor MGB fix would have cost buying a registered and (allegedly roadworthy) 71 Corona Wagon.  The MG was now offically a Garage Princess, and the Corona gave 4 years of maintenance free service till the angry redhead™ ex smacked it into a curb late one night. (She was driving home from dropping me off at a Bucks night)


I totally planned to fix/restore/resurrect the MG till the day I walked past a local exotic dealers yard, and saw a tiny red coupe.  It looked like someone had forgotten an E-type Jag in a tumble dryer.  Small, but with gorgeous feminine curves, a looooong bonnet, a lift up front end, and a 2 litre motor.  The salesman explained it was a Triumph GT6 MK2.   I had to drive it.  


Luckily, when I did, I'd spent over half a decade driving a dodgy MGB. Sure, it didn't track real well, the gearbox was full of guesses not gears, the back end broke out if I wasn't really careful, the drivers window didn't wind down, and the radio didn't work.  Who needs a radio, handling, or windy windows.  The sound of of that straight six winding up had me utterly hooked.  I just wanted it.  (on a visceral level)   Crawling underneath it afterwards and finding the rust in the floor pans, boot, and chassis overriders, I realised that I was finally growing up, and I passed.


But the hook was struck, and deep set.  I sold the MG to someone who knew how to fix it, borrowed a lot more from the bank, and bought a GT6 Mk3 sight unseen, from 2000 kms away.  I had it inspected first by a seemingly knowledgeable source, but budgeted an extra 25% of the purchase costs to sort out any problems.


I got it off the truck, drove 2 miles, and while shifting from 2nd to third, broke a tooth off third. I was a complete mechanical numpty back then, so I gave it to a so called expert, who rebuilt it, charged me many dollars, and gave it back. Two months later, 2nd gear went. Not the same gear = no warranty. I went to another "expert" and had it rebuilt again. This one lasted 3 weeks, and 3rd went again. I declared it haunted and parked it for a while. When I calmed down (3 months later), I took it to a more reputable firm, and asked them to have a look. My 25% was well and truly spent, but , well, whats just a little more?


"It's the wrong gearbox, if we rebuild it it'll break again, leave it with us, we'll fit a bigger box..."


So, I agreed to leave it with them for a month. Near the end of the month I dropped in to see how they were going. The business had gone broke, my car was in bits, and the liquidator gave me the choice of paying an exorbitant sum (more than I'd agreed on for the fix) to get the thing back (still in bits), or hand over the title. No way was I going to let the smarmy suit win, so I scraped together the dollars, and arrived with a towtruck.


At this point I'd bought a car and 3 gearboxes, but had a car and no gearbox, who's interior was strewn with bits of gearboxes. Angry, dissapointed and broke, I towed it to an available spot in my garage, and parked it.


Fast-Foward 14 years,


The GT6 was still where I'd left it, and my landlord booted me out. Move it or lose it time. I decided 14 years is long enough to stay angry, and visited the shed and looked at the old girl to see how she was. Saggy tires, and covered in 14 years of dust, dirt, and the odd possum dropping. Not looking good. Still I pumped up her tires, threw her on a trailer, and took her to our new home via a carwash.


The wash revealed mostly good news. The paintwork was pretty tatty, and needs some work, but the resting place she'd been in was dry and mostly warm, and she's pretty much rust free. Emptying out the parts from the interior reveals that everything was there, just a few bonus bellhousings and gearbox casings. The tunnels been opened up, but not too badly, and suddenly it's time to show the old girl some love.


My ability with spanners has improved since the mid 90's, so this time I'm going it alone...


Turns out, the drivetrain is a bit of a hotchpotch. The engine block is a HB/HE series from an early Vitesse 2 litre, and the gearbox is a HB series from a 1600 Vitesse with a laycock overdrive.. No wonder it kept breaking. I'd really like to meet one of the "experts" who fixed it for me back then. "You must have driven it too hard" Yeah. Right. BASTARDS.


Step one was to build a FrankenToyoTriBox.  The area between the flywheel and the diff is now filled with a gearbox created from two toyota 5 speed T50 boxes, a GT6 Bell-housing, a couple of custom plates and a new driveshaft.  Happy to post the process if anyones interested.


Since then she's been registered and roadworthied, and I had the fun of driving her on the road.  Then I decided to fiddle...


More to come...




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Welcome Craig, you are going to fit right in! Great narrative, can't wait for a follow on. I'm sure I'm not the only one really interested in the "FrankenToyoTriBox" details, that's the kind of thing we love around 'ere!!

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Yeah.... another franken toyobox owner here  ;D  Look forward to the rest of the story......  whereabouts on Oz are you?  We have some other Oz folk here, but a bit spread out  :P



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Aha, I knew there had to be another GT6 Mk3 in Australia! I bought an ex-US basket case last January, and have been restoring it ever since. It's about to head off to the paint shop next week, and then reassembly will begin. Do you have any photos of your car?


Nick, Melbourne is in the bottom bit of Australia. I'm told it's a nice bottom...

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Cheers Guys, yep, I'm here in "Sunny Melbourne".  

The Frankenbox was a great project.

I'm still pretty much a mechanical numpty, it's just that these days I have google on my side, and sites like this to fall back on.  (Thankfully I survived the cull).  As a PC network nerd by trade, I spend hours a day waiting for servers to restart, and I tend to spend my time trolling google for clues .  The main instructions for the Frankenbox I found here: http://home.comcast.net/~dbgt6/.  

I also have the advantage that a mate runs a Toyota wrecker/dismantlers.  He knows everything there is to know about any 4 cylinder toyota, and has just about every part in stock. Gratuitious plug: http://www.toyospares.com.au

Basically you start with a t50 22 spline toyota gearbox.  The t50's bellhousing seals the end of the box, so you chop and mill it down to just the plate that mates with the box.  Then you make a secondary adapter plate that bolts two ways, onto the box, and into a GT6 bell housing.  As Dan describes, you then do a cut and shut on the input shaft.  There are a number of T50 gearboxes though.  The 20 spline box is weaker than the 22 spline, but the 22 can be harder to find.

I'm lucky enough that another mate introduced me to a Metrologist who has his own factory.  I recommend anyone who's planning to restore/tweak a LBC finds a metrologist like Alan.  This is him taking the original t50 bellhousing down to just the face.

And the result

The adapter plate

The reverse side

How they go together

Ready for the bellhousing (with the milled, drilled, pressed and welded shaft.

This is the point where I deviated from Dans instructions.  http://forums.club4ag.com/zerothread?id=9626 showed me pretty much how to do the rebuild, and also led me to http://www.toymods.org.au/forums/showthread.php?t=52186. The standard 22 spline t50 gearboxes have the shifter about 6" behind the back of the box, with the shifter utilising extension rods to achieve the changes.  One variant of the 20 spline gearbox is different though.  The Ta22 T50 box has a unique tailhousing that moves the shifter forward about 2.5", and allows the shifter to act directly on the actuation rods.  It also means that the gearlever pops out the original tunnel cover hole.  (It needs to be heated and bent into a convenient position, but no cutting/modifying of the trumphy tunnel is needed.

Toyospares had one, but cleaning it was a job and a half...

A comparison of the two housings:

By marrying up the Ta22 Tailhousing to a 22 spline T50 box, a milled T50 Bell housing face, a custom adapter plate, and a milled, drilled and welded Toyota/Triumph input shaft, a Frankenbox was born.

Sounds easy, but in reality it was 3 months of work.  Along the way I had the fun of adapting parts from 3 gearboxes, building another plate from scratch, getting to experts to understand what a neophyte like me really wanted, and keeping my self belief together on the way.  I lifted the gearbox in and out of the car 38 times.
I also got to buy myself a man present, one of my favourite new things.  A place for everything, and everything in it's place.

The guilty pleasure of adding to the big blue tool kit is a new regular addiction.

Next I had to coax an engine and car that had sat still for a decade and a half back to life.  But thats another story...

A last picture to end tonights missive.  It's a picture with a story behind it. (Guess what's in one of those containers!)



T'was a pretty good day.

Cheers all,



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Great write up - thanks!  Fine job done. :)


I'd also seen Dans T50 mod some while back, but the T50 is more than a bit rare here.  Hence why I went for the Toyota W58 from a Supra - which on the whole I would say is an easier conversion.  Especially as you have Dellow local(ish) who do a bell housing to match W series to TR6 which can be used.   http://www.dellowconversions.com.au/contactus.html


Here's mine, also done the hard way for extra satisfaction (translation: too tight to pay for the conversion kit  ::))


http://www.triumphowners.com/registry.cgi?section=triumph&vehicleID=574&i=8 (look under special interest projects)


And you're right - everyone needs friends with machine tools - with scrapyard owners / parts specialists really useful too.  I may have a gearbox related question for your mate as I have never been able to identify the source (original vehicle fitment) of a couple of W-series parts which would make the conversion easier - I've only seen pictures.......



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As the Frankenbox neared completion, time came for the fire to be lit under some more projects.

First, I needed a driveshaft.  After some careful measurement and guestimation, I visited a backyarder who build and balanced a new one for less than the cost of balancing elsewhere.  I'd never met him, he just liked  the sound of the project.


Suddenly, things were getting very real, and I had to think about starting an engine that had been neglected since before ebay was invented.

I figured I'd start by draining all the fluids, and replacing the rubber hoses.

So I tried to undo the bung in the radiator.  It immediately reminded me that 15 years of inactivity has is price.


So out with the radiator.  


The quotes for repairs were (ahem) fairly steep, so I decided to go another way.

Mmm shiny...


Same cost, a third of the weight.

Dropping out the radiatior let me see the state of the coolant.  I still have half a bottle of the green stuff that went in.  Somehow, I suspect its new colour isn't a positive sign.



So I flushed the gallerys (a lot...)



The WP, housing and thermo housing were pretty crap.  There was no thermostat installed.  



Surface rust was pretty prevalent.


So I cleaned, blasted, resurfaced etc.





And reinstalled (with a thermo!)

I replaced all the hoses, flushed everything, and decided to call the waterworks finished for now.

Next I looked at the carbs.  The dash pots were still full, the lines I replaced.  The K&N's were bone dry.


So I cleaned and oiled them.  So simple, so satisfying.


Everything was getting close!

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Thanks for posting this great story, good fun to read, and good pictures too.




"Triumphs make a mechanic out of an ordinary man!"


seen on a tee-shirt at a Triumph show.

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The started motor looked oh so much like the one that let me down with sickening regularity in my MG, So I NipponDenso'd it.



Having drained the oil and changed the filter, I pulled the plugs, then squirted some Penrite into each cylinder. I put a litre down the filler, then turned the motor over by hand 20 times.  Wait 24 hours, another 1/2 litre, more squirts, repeat.  Did that till she was properly filled, then replaced the plugs, pulled the coil lead, spun her over on the starter for a minute, drained the oil, rechanged the filter, and refilled her. No science to that process, it just seemed prudent.

Next I pulled out the fuel tank, and blew out the lines wit compressed air.  The tank I drained, flushed...




metho'd, reflushed,re'metho'd, and declared sound.  Reinstalling it was an utter bitch.

At this point, I had a car with an engine, gearbox, fuel, air, spark and potential.  I decided to do one more thing before I tried to start it, and make sure it would stop.  So I drained and changed the brake fluid.



The crap that came out was a salutary reminder of just how dangerous she'd be if I wasn't careful. This is one wheels worth.




At least 10% was water.  My Dad and I ended up running over 2 litres of brake fluid though the lines (3 different brands/colours) until I was satisfied it was all good.

Attempts to start her late that night led to sadness, as the clutch wouldn't play fair.



The wonders of the internet pointed to a rusted binding flywheel, and after some nerve wracking fettling the next day, she was free of the garage for the first time in 15 years.


The bone jarring ride was pretty easy to diagnose, tyres dont like to sit flat for 10-15 years.



So we visited the local smithy for some new shoes





Then we headed home.  On the way, the old girl got her first tub for 15 years.




Well, she is British after all.

More to come,



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Thanks for the great story and video!

I like the comments. ;D


Engine sounds great on the move, not unlike an E-type Jaguar.(cool)



If you're putting the car in storage for a longer period of time one thing I always do is raise the tire pressure to roughly 3bar/110psi.

Makes pushing much easier too. :)






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Thanks for the replies guys.  


Peter Brock once justified the outrageous bits he hung off his HRT commodores by explaining that "They look like they're needed to go fast, but lets face it, most owners will be going nice and slow so they can watch their cars reflection in the shop windows, and look to see if they can catch people on the street are watching them pass.".  It's entirely possible this thread is me looking to see if anyone who knows what they're seeing is watching...


That being said;



Ask away re the W58.  I considered it and measured it up,but figured the rail cuts were going to be too drastic.  Dellow has a W58 kit for the TR6, but not the GT6.  Again, I thought about swapping the backplate/clutch/ring/starter, but the T50 swap seemed easier.  Also, Dellow was bloody hard to get hold of, I eventually got to talk to the Man himself, but he seemed too busy really.  My mate at Toyospares reckons the T50 is good to 175 ponies, if I end up with more that that, it'll be a problem I'm happy to have.



I was bloody angry when I parked her 15 years ago, I really wasn't thinking she'd be there for that long.  I figure they spent 10 years flat, but I didn't plan it.  Douglas Adams would have explained it as an S.E.P. every time I should have seen it.



Yep.  Ye Olde Burwood Highway.  Fully permitted, insured etc.  Not entirely sure the wrist cam was legal, but it's a skydiving work tool I'm pretty comfortable with.  I've manually adjusted worse road rules, not sure if I was over the line or not on that one.



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With the work I'd done so far, it's fair to say that the hook was deep set again.  The car was back on the road, running and roadworthy, but (as anyone on this site knows), that wasn't enough.  The itch was there, and to scratch it, I was going to need to do more.


My first and most obvious problem was the engine.  They say you know a BMC engine is out of oil when it stops leaking it, and, well, mine was certainly proving it wasn't short of oil.  15 years of inactivity was showing up in all the the places one would expect.


Rebuild or replace?  Looking at the numbers, the incumbent turned out to be a early Vitesse HB 2.0 with the restricted head.  fun to drive for now, but not a great candidate for a "own this car forever" motor.


October last year I found an old post on TSSC from someone offering up a 2.5 Jigsaw stage one motor he'd had built for a GT6 in 2007, but never installed.  Contacting him, it turned out he still had it, and had a need to be rid of it.


Jigsaw's reputation is good in some places on the net, and crap in other places.    I really though long and hard.  On offer was a Jigsaw stage one, no exchange, plus a set of GT6 ready Andrew Turner  HS6 SU, a manifold and set of adapter plates to suit.


The price was right enough (and then some, well less than 1/2 price), but it was all half a world away.  A gamble at best, especially considering some of the unflattering thing I'd read about the supplier.  And yet, I'd also read plenty of good.  I spent a week pricing up a similar engine from local suppliers, and got promises, frights, but no actual prices.


Patience has never been my strong suit.  So I sat up late, and rang Jigsaw to ask about the engine.  


To be honest, they couldn't have been more helpful.  They knew the engine, they knew the seller.  They had a van going by his village the next week, and offered to pick it up, inspect it, report back, and escrow it. Not bad really, they had little to gain, but offered to help.  At that point there was nothing in it for them, except helping an old client and maybe getting a new one.


The report was that the engine was sound, could use a coat of paint, but was otherwise ready to go.   The Aussie dollar was strong, I was weak, so I figured, what the hell.  If nothing else, I'd have a better rebuild platform that I had now.


I've shipped lots of skydiving stuff from GB before, so I knew what to expect shipping wise, and was happy for Jigsaw to make a reasonable profit for their work. Their quote to crate it and send it was pretty fair, and I sent off the money to the original owner.


Then I got a little greedy.  Since I was paying for volumetric shipping, not weight, I decided to keep filling the crate.  There has to be a better set of headers available than the Jigsaw/Phionix set, but I cant find  one, so I settled, and included them.  Alloy front and back plates seemed a no brainer.  So I included them.  My old 2.0 dizzy was unlikely to cut it with the new engine, so I had a 123 dizzy mapped and included.  A repaint was also suggested.  Oh. why not!


Eventually, a 2.5 motor left the dock in England, freshly painted, with a set of Andrew Turner HS6 SU's, a manifold to match, new alloy front and back plates, an alloy WP housing, an alloy thermo housing, a pre set 123 dizzy, and a 6-3-1 set of headers, for slightly less than the engine itself plus changeover would have cost me.  For the next three months, I wasn't sure if I had buyers remorse, or I was just scared of what I'd done, and how hard the install would be.


Meantime, as per above, I got the old girl running, roadworthy and registered.


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The internet is pretty cool, I got to track the bigboxofbits right round the planet.  It was slow but steady progress, and at about 28 knots an hour, it went from Britain,to the Netherlands, through the Panama canal, round to Singapore, and finally to Aus, stoping in Brisbane and Sydney on the way.  Rolling down to the Melbourne docks to see the Container sail to the pier was pretty cool.  T'was the first real outing for the Co-owner/Boss (Mrs Craig), and she made sure I knew I needed to fix the heat leaks before the next one.  She's a bloody good scout though, and took the trip in the 1/2 arsed spirit I'd warned her of.

One of these blue containers has the new donk in it...


A couple of days later, I got to pay a customs agent a kings ransom to release my toys from the dock.  Customs agents, truly one of the worlds last remaining unsorted arse tearers.  But I digress.

Exorbitant fees paid, I was free to pick up my crate.  

The agent had quoted me a mere $675 for shipping from the warehouse. At 28 kilometres thats just under $25 a kilometer.  So I went there i my van instead.  Total cost including diesel and tolls was around $18.   Consider my arse untorn.

Crated going in my van



Crate coming out (Much harder!)



Shiny bits well wrapped



The 2.5


GT6 280.JPG


And on the stand


GT6 294.JPG

This pretty little thing cost me a fair bit to buy and get here. Only fair that I make sure I get the best out of her.

More to come.


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Hi Craig


I do love this thread. I recognize the anxiousness waiting for a container to arrive. When my GT6 were shipped from California to Copenhagen some cock-up made it arrive in colombia rather than copenhagen. It all starts with Co - right??


Anyway - after a long time it arrived. No funny white stuff in the sills after the colombian detour though.


I hope your jigsaw engine turns out good. As you have probably read on this forum jigsaw isn't exactly a stamp of approval :-/





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Hey Craig, very exciting stuff.


I too just shipped an engine across the globe.  Staggering how the costs mount isn't it?  Every C**ks****er along the way has to steal their bit.

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The tub it crossed the Atlantic on:


I followed it on the internet from Felixstowe in Suffolk, to Holland, Germany, Le Havre, France to South Carolina, then it disappeared until it reappeared at Oakland, nr. San Francisco in CA in mid May 2002.  



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I't be really easy to take a glass half empty attitude to the Jigsaw engine.  I've decided to work with a slightly more positive attitude. It did come with some pleasant surprises.  More on that later.

Excited as I was at the thought of installing the new donk, I was still mindful of the possible pitfalls of the 15 years of unplanned/unmanaged storage.  The brakes were a little grabby still, and there was a Big Ben size ticking noise coming from the rear end when it wasn't under load.  

I made a promise to myself to fix the handling before I put the new motor in, (in fact I wrote it down and signed it, 'cos I really really wanted to put the 2.5 in!).  

Good old google pretty much promised me that the ticking noise was going to be a u/j, so up on the stands she went again.  May as well change both.  Problem was that rolling round under her, I kept noticing more bits that, in themselves, weren't too bad  (a perished boot here, a saggy shock there), and before I knew it, I'd committed to a more than a couple of uni joints.

I can, apparently, be a tad obsessive.

It took some work, but eventually every corner of the car resembled this...

gt6 suspension removal 132.JPG

No wheels, no suspension or brakes from the Diff and Rack out.

I had to build a hub puller and a spring compressor, and I lost 5 hours pulling out the swing spring the wrong way (R.T.F.M.!), but eventually...

gt6 suspension removal 355.JPG

4 corners, 4 boxes.


Since then, everythings in the boxes has been dismantled, and sandblasted or wire wheeled.  The old bushes are pressed/cut/burnt out, and the painting has begun.  The rear spring is fininshed and rebuild (with buttons!), and a 3/4 inch block is on top of the diff. Waiting to go in are a full set of red polybushes, uprated front springs from Rimmers,  and front and rear Koni's.

All for the sake of a uni joint...

Ahh well.


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At this point I have a dilemma.


This car is basically a man size toy, and I'm by no means rich..  It's represented the major part of my discretionary spend for the last 12 months, but it's also provided me with plenty of fun and satisfaction.  Every nut I tighten with my own hands represents another bond between me and the machine, and I envisage the day that there won't be a single one that hasn't been tightened and installed by me.  


I have some fun plans for the engine over the next 4 -5 months, (that I've budgeted for), and I had decided that the next and last spend on her for the year would be a set of Jon Wolfe's rear vertical link adjustors, and a set of Canley's adjustable upper wishbones.  They're both on order, and I have a plan to retrofit my rear radius arms to make them adjustable.  Also underway is a 2 pot Toyota calliper swap.


The old girls body is fairy good, and her interior will do for now, so my plans for the next few years were to keep pointing my upgrades at the suspension and handling.  One day I'll do a full body off resto, but the pleasure for me is in the driving, not the washing.  


Given that this year I'll have replaced all the suspensions wear parts, plugged in adjustable rear links and (hopefully) radius arms, and fitted adjustable upper front links, my plan was to continue the upgrades to the front suspension next year, then fit new wheels and tyres.  


The rough plan was to fit a Cathetham type Front suspension kit (Goodbye trunnions), an uprated alloy hub/stub axel kit (unsprung weight...), and (maybe) an alloy caiiper mounting kit. $1000, plus shipping.  Next a set of 5.5 X 14's (another $800), and some nice sticky tyres (oops, another grand).  Sadly, the only 14X5.5's I can find are from Midland wheels, so I wont find out if they fit till they arrive...


So, given that I was budgeting $400 for the brake upgrade, and allowing $1800 for the extra fun I'm planning on having with the engine, next years budget was well and truely spent (and then some)


But then, quite recently, some money fell from the sky. Not a great stupid heap of money, but enough that I can, if I want to, spent that 5 grand now. (Very unusual situation for me!)  It's not a situation I expect to find myself in again.


The suspensions still off the car, and I have a few grand of carte blanch spendige. The option (and trust me, it feels strange to say it) is to buy it all now.  Caterham uprights, Caterham Stub axels and hubs, Alloy brake mounts.  14X5.5's.  They could all be ordered, and I thought I had a year to think about it.  Is this the best money I can invest in my toy?  Or should I go down another road?


Ohh so tempting.  Opinions?



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