One-Off Triumph TR6

The TR6 is not a car that one would I generally think of as a base for a custom-bodied special. TVR, in England, did use TR6 mechanical components in some of their coupe models in the early ’70s and Hathaway, a California-based kit car company, did a handsome pre-war Fraser-Nash-like body to fit to the powerful underpinnings, but these are also few and far between. Today the TR6 is valuable enough in stock form to discourage any future fiddling as well.

This awesome flying saucer of a roadster was concocted in Southern California in the late ’60s by Peter Brock. Yes, this is the same Pete Brock that started as a designer with GM in the late ’50s, and worked with Shelby American in the early ’60s developing logos and advertising materials. He eventually penned the muscular looking Cobra Daytona coupe, and is best known for his own firm BRE (Brock Racing Enterprises) that dominated a number of SCCA classes in the ’70s with Datsun 2000 roadster, 510 Sedan and 240Z racers.

Developed in conjunction with the U.S. Triumph racing team director, Kas Kastner, just prior to Brock’s Datsun days, this car was to be a test bed for design ideas and a centerpiece for the Triumph racing effort. Mechanically, the car was similar to the stock-bodied racers Kastner was running and featured a hot cam, custom headers, Weber carburetion, and significantly uprated suspension.

It’s hard to believe that this aerodynamic body was built in the final days of the ’60s. There were styling elements that would appear on Corvettes, Triumphs and even Porsches over a decade later. The light weight alloy-bodied car featured plastic-covered rectangular headlamps and a “pop-up” spoiler just ahead of the rear panel that would raise into position at speed. From the front, with its sloping, rounded windscreen and gaping mouth grille the car looks like a cross between the latest Celicas and one of “Big Daddy” Ed Roth’s ’60s show rods.

The car only raced once in a twelve hour enduro at Sebring. While starting out well. Brock was forced to retire it from the race because of minor mechanical problems combined with a lack of sufficient crew and spares. Triumph factory people felt that there was little chance that anything resembling the Brock car would ever be manufactured and its unusual body had little product identity value, so support for the project was withdrawn.

The Brock roadster eventually was sold off to the public. It was owned, for awhile, by a Los Angeles businessman who tamed the car a bit and used the topless beauty for occasional high speed jaunts on the back roads. Later, passing from owner to owner on the auction circuit, the unusual racer ended up in a private collection In Burlingame, just south of San Francisco. Though the car won’t be seen on the street, one might someday get a glimpse of it at some future vintage racing event.

Pete Brock left the automotive arena over a decade ago to concentrate on other projects in the hang gliding and sports wear fields but it is said that he might be returning any day now. If he does, it will be interesting to see what he comes up with now that the rest of the world has caught up with him.

 

By Rick Felbusch

 

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