Saturday, September 29, 2012

Less is more

US-market 'Federal' spec GT6s were a bit different from the versions sold in their homeland. Oh, Triumph nailed the steering wheel on the other side, but there were extra features such as running lights, a seatbelt reminder light and a buzzer that sounded if the door was opened while the key was still in the ignition. For 1972, that was fully loaded!

Triumph were also selling cars in a market with tighter legislation governing emissions, and so the Federal GT6s' engines were in a lower state of tune. Low compression engines and a different camshaft meant that they were about 20hp down on GT6s sold elsewhere. So, I decided that my GT6 would get a bit of a kick on the pants performance-wise, and swapped the 2L crank for a 2.5L version. Because the stroke is increased, the engine is tuned for torque rather than revs. To stop it being a lazy slug, I've added a few goodies to retain the sporty feel.

The bottom end's away getting balanced, and includes a lightweight Bastück steel flywheel. It should be back in a few days. More exciting, a set of 60-overbore forged pistons arrived this week, so I can move forward and get the block bored. I ordered them a couple of years ago, as soon as I stripped the engine, but production delays mean that they've arrived just when I need them. Below are a few photos, with a Nüral 40-thou cast piston for comparison. The stock cast pistons are nice, but the forged ones look, and feel, even better.

Nüral 40 thou piston, including gudgeon piston and rings - 415g

Forged 60 thou piston with gudgeon piston but without rings

The crowns of both pistons

Side view. Note that the cast piston has large slots in the sides, while the forged piston only has small drillings behind the oil ring groove.

The undersides. There's a lot more material in the cast piston - it's quite chunky by comparison.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

The GT6 gets its seats

When my GT6 arrived, its interior had been eaten away by the California sun. No carpet or door trims, and the seats were cracked, and disintegrating. They were disgusting, and probably the first parts removed and stripped for restoration. Their frames were cleaned and repainted, and new foams were sourced from Newton Commercial. The original covers were kept as patterns for the new covers. Little else of the interior could be saved.

Every cloud has a silver lining, though. The derelict interior gave me an opportunity to change its colour. GT6s had black, Matador Red, Midnight Blue or New Tan interiors. My red Herald has a black interior, and the Herald coupe will get trimmed in red, so I decided on New Tan to give the GT a light and warm feel. And today, three years after they were removed, the seats came home and were refitted. It was almost as big a milestone as the completion of the bodywork.

The seats were recovered in New Tan leather by Ron Jackson, a Brisbane-based upholsterer. Ron's an old-school craftsman with thirty years of tricks to make old upholstery not only as good as new, but often better. Seats, carpet and door trims were usually mass-produced by the factory or an outside contractor. Restored trim, though, is essentially hand-made, and can incorporate tweaks such as different density foams, extra padding to improve shape and location, and subtly different coloured piping.

I'd visited Ron last week to check on progress, and he was near enough to finishing them that I knew I should get the seat runners bolted in asap. And then the big day came, the phone call to come and pick them up.

Seat runners in place (and a lot of junk!)

Ron the craftsman! 

The seats in place. I'll take a better photo when I can wheel the car out into the sun - the camera flash doesn't do them justice. And the verdict - very comfortable. At 6ft I wouldn't want to be any taller, as my head isn't far from the headlining, but they're very comfortable and supportive, and should make long trips back-ache free. Now it just needs a motor...