Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
11/20/05 2:05 p.m.

Okay, cancel that part about how good the GT6 is mechanically.

J.K. Jackson and Gary started the work by rebuilding the clutch’s master and slave cylinders to get the GT6 so that it could move under its own power. Like J.K., Gary is no stranger to Triumphs; he admits to five in his own garage.

Next up, J.K. set the timing, adjusted the carbs and then drove the car only three feet before uttering the command, "shut it down". It turns out the clutch in the GT6 was shattered.

Tim, Gary and J.K. then pulled the engine, gearbox and differential out of the GT6. They were stuffed in the back of J.K.'s truck to get completely torn down at J.K.'s shop, English Automotive in Tallahassee Florida.

What J.K. found is interesting. First, the stock GT6 clutch was almost nonexistent. Second, both the block and heads were TR6, not GT6, although the crank was GT6, thus giving the car a legal displacement. This car was never raced with the original engine, as the engine out of a crashed car was used from day one. This is common in race cars and not of great concern. But, we will source a GT6 block and head for our rebuild.

The engine was bored .040-in. over, but the pistons were the stock size. No wonder the compression was even, but very low! The number five main bearing had also spun. The rods look good and the crank is savable. The transmission seems decent, but will be rebuilt and the rear end is a 3:89-1 which is stock in a Spitfire. It is very plausible that this ratio was run, but probably not at a long track like Daytona.

Despite some bad news, we found some more cool tricks and good news too. The Group 44 team had invented an ingenious way to keep the transverse leaf spring centered. This arrangement with two bolts closing in on a center bolt is best explained by the attached picture. A neat scatter shield had also been fabricated. The header is obviously original as are most of the other engine externals. The coolest piece is the beautifully machined oil cooler adapter made by the late, great Brian Fuerstenau of Group 44 fame.

Other interesting developments: We have been in contact multiple times with Group 44 founder Bob Tullius and now former Group 44 team member, Steve Knoll and his excellent www.laprecord.com website have gotten on board our project. Steve has been a wealth of information and has further documented with our car's originality.

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