Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
797 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Wanted to ask those who have driven both, how does a TR6 drive (handle) compared to a Spider? I've always liked the look of the Triumph and every now and then come across for sale that's relatively nearby. The only Spider I've driven is my '77 and I can't imagine a TR6 handles any better. Perhaps the larger engine provides more performance? And then there's the reliability and ease of working on the Triumph?

Love to hear your thoughts!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,655 Posts
Reed,

Compared to the pre-75 Alfas, I suspect Your '77 Spider performance may be strangled by emissions equipment. Back in the day, I had a good friend with a new TR-6 that autocrossed with me and my 1971 1750 Spider. We arrived early at a site one day, and just couldn't resist a little performance comparison. My Spider was clearly a bit faster at parking lot speeds (1st & 2nd gear). The TR-6 was popular with big red line tires, and what some thought to be aggressive styling. A lot of people bought, got speeding tickets, and wrecked these cars with the result is that the car was saddled with "supercar" insurance, while my Spider could be insured for much less even though it was faster.

I really don't remember how the TR-6 handled compared to an Alfa Spider, but we had a pretty good autocross record in that era so my '71 Spider must have been able to compete with TR-6's.

Wanted to ask those who have driven both, how does a TR6 drive (handle) compared to a Spider? I've always liked the look of the Triumph and every now and then come across for sale that's relatively nearby. The only Spider I've driven is my '77 and I can't imagine a TR6 handles any better. Perhaps the larger engine provides more performance? And then there's the reliability and ease of working on the Triumph?

Love to hear your thoughts!
 

·
Registered
what part?
Joined
·
10,255 Posts
tr6.. iron block , iron head, over head valves, 4 speer tranny, no lsd, lever shocks, carbed with 1920''s tech carbs, front disk, rear drums, very tall, hight roll center, body on frame ..... alfa romeo spider.. alumiumn block and head, amd pan,, 2 overhead cams. fuel injecter, lsd, 5 speed tranny, higher redline( i would trust a alfa motor at 6500 all day long than a tr6 doing the same thing) lower cetre of gravity, lover roll center can have better shocks, alloys, 4 disk brakes,more nimble, do'ed not lean as much in corners, unibody... oh yes.. the tr6 has prince of darkness eletricals.. head light, setting flicker, dim, out,.. alfa spider hands down a better car
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
797 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Ha...Bianchi, you've convinced me...I'm going out right now to buy a TR6!!! :) All good points to know, thanks. I really like the way mine handles and the engine really revs freely; a lot of fun. Sounds like you've driven a TR6, do those big tires add to the body roll?

Conedriver, I agree that my car doesn't cost that much to insure. No smog equipment on mine and with an early 70's airbox and headers with stinger, it gets up and goes.
 

·
Registered
what part?
Joined
·
10,255 Posts
i had a tr6 long time ago, while it is a nice car, the alfa romeo spider beats it in all ways
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,610 Posts
A couple of things Bianchi1 has forgotten:

The TR6 has all independent suspension and rack and pinion steering, and most had overdrive that operated on both top gears.

I like TR6's but Triumphs do have the most incredibly notchy gear change and a hopeless clutch lever design that means that within weeks of repairing it the clutch effort becomes huge (I mean HUGE) again. Definitely an area that needs to be redesigned to improve the car.

Oh and that 2.5 ltr six cylinder Triumph engine is fuel injected and if properly balanced is a most beautiful engine.

I would have thought a standard TR6 would leave a standard Alfa Romeo Spider for dead on a race track ... but I might be under-estimating the Alfa :).
Pete
 

·
Registered
what part?
Joined
·
10,255 Posts
psk, sorry about missing those parts.. typing to fast....in the states tr6 did not come with fi, only strombergs
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,655 Posts
The Alfa vs anything else debate can go on forever, but really comes down to what a person wants. Alfa Romeo, with the original Giulietta, was head and shoulders better than anything the British produced. As time went on, the Alfa technology tended to become somewhat dated but not nearly as much as British sports cars whose last efforts were just miserable. I recently had a chance to drive a superbly restored TR-4, and also a very good Jensen Healey, and neither of these cars moved me nearly as much as any Alfa from that era.

Having said that, I remember when MGB's, TR's, Sprites and Midgets were new, and people drove these everyday with few problems. Before I converted to Alfas, I had two Healey 100's for daily drivers, and these were fairly reliable (Of course, changing from the construction of an Austin Healey to a Giulietta Veloce Spider converted me forever...)

Look around at the proliferation of "British Car Day" events; many people could only afford British cars when they were younger, so memory of these takes them back to earlier times and a tendency to buy these type cars again. Again, there is no one answer; just what makes someone happy. I know a couple with a Ferrari Boxer, Dino, GT365 2+2, and a Fiat Dino Spider. They say their favorite car for driving back country roads is their 1956 Austin Healey 100.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
797 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Look around at the proliferation of "British Car Day" events; many people could only afford British cars when they were younger, so memory of these takes them back to earlier times and a tendency to buy these type cars again.
That's a good point. I remember as a teenager, walking home from school and passing this house with an Austin Healey 3000 sitting in the driveway. I thought it was the most beautiful car design I'd seen. It was sitting there for weeks. I thought about asking my dad if he could come look at it...maybe it was for sale. Then one day it was gone, never saw it again. And now when I ask people who had driven one, many say the driving experience isn't as great as it looked! I'd still like to drive one though.

Now...if I can only find someone with a Ferrari Dino 246GT....:)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,727 Posts
it's been a million years so add salt to this opinion

Back in the late 70's I had a 74 Spider and a friend had a 7x? TR6. My impression at the time was that the TR was more American muscle style - great torque but a truck shifter, handled good until you tried a decreasing radius turn or some other surprise and then it left you thinking fast and praying a little faster. It was beautiful but there was always -something- wrong. Carbs had to be rebuilt - some bearing or bushing repeated failed in the rear end. The car sure seemed like it had been slammed together in a garage in Detroit out of available parts pieced together by so-so mechanics.


In comparison, the Alfa seemed very refined and every component designed -or over-designed to work together. Never had any problems but you knew that if you did Joe at the Gulf station wasn't going to figure it out.

Perhaps the best comparison was the 100 or so mile drive we did through the mountains in Idaho. We weren't racing but we were playing at it. For the first 40 or 50 miles the TR lead the way. He was cracking shifts andmotoring while I had to do relaxed shifts and really wind the engine. He was working a little harder but had that torque out of the corners. However at the end of the hundred miles the Alfa as leading easily and he was keeping up.

I was relaxed and had some white wine and a salad and a little pasta and then went out walking around the inn. He had two beers and a long hard nap.

FWIW
 

·
Push hard and live
Joined
·
10,447 Posts
In the early 70's I was the parts manager for an Alfa, Triumph, Citroen dealership in Houston. We sold a ton of the first two, and enough of the latter to keep it interesting (it was the era of the SM).

At that point the labor situation in England was at its nadir, and we found we had to overhaul about 20% of the Triumph engines before we could sell them as new. We had more than one literally blow up while backing off of the delivery trailer. The transmissions were just as bad, except we had a very hard time getting parts for them. We had many TRs laid up for 3 to 6 months waiting on parts for warranty repairs. There were many young lasses with new Spitfires their daddy's had bought as a graduation present having to borrow or rent cars to get to their first jobs after college.

Most of this was due to poor assembly quality, but it was also a time when BL would try to buy the cheapest possible component regardless of quality. Headlight switches, turn signal switches and anything Lucas was simply doomed to fail, and fail repeatedly. If you attempt to keep your TR original (assuming you can get these items) you are going to suffer continuing failures of things that make you crazy.

The front suspension design was wretched, and asked the shock to do its job with a total travel that appeared to be much less than an inch. No shock could do a good job with such little leverage, except perhaps a Koni. Mufflers (in Houston) were an annual replacement item. Starters roughly every 2 to 3 years. Alternators would randomly fail. Carburetors required constant repair and adjustment.

Alfa, on the other hand, were a smallish company and made the smart decision to source proven parts from other manufacturers. While the part numbers were unique, their brakes were essentially the same as Porsche or Mercedes, as were the electrics. Construction quality was superb. I don't think we ever sold a muffler, or had to overhaul a transmission, although the synchros might get changed once a decade or so.

The only favorable comparison was that the Triumphs didn't seem to rust, whereas the Alfas would arrive with rust showing and get worse from there. Fortunately, if you have an Alfa today that has been addressed, or you should avoid it. It was endemic to the steel being used rather than being poor treatment. The Triumphs were body-on-frame, whereas the Alfas were a much more modern unit-body construction. Thus, a Triumph body part can be bolted off and on, but the Alfa requires surgery if something corrodes or gets hit.

If you can find a TR250, or the more rare TR5 then you've got a TR6 that will be built better and go faster. The 6 was born when BL should have stopped making cars - and they shortly did just that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
837 Posts
My stock 1974 Fiat 128 would run circles around a stock TR6! I do remember leaving a TR6 in the dust up on Mulholland Drive back in the Seventies!
 

·
Senior TEXAS member
Joined
·
1,526 Posts
In the early 70's I was the parts manager for an Alfa, Triumph, Citroen dealership in Houston. We sold a ton of the first two, and enough of the latter to keep it interesting (it was the era of the SM).
Do you remember the name of that dealership and was it south of 59 ??
I almost bought my 1st Alfa there but the deal fell through. I just remember spending many days in their showroom oggling the SM, the Montreal, GTVs, and 6 months old '71 Green Spider that was the object of my affection. The TRs were cool too but not nearly so as the Alfas and CSM....
 

·
Push hard and live
Joined
·
10,447 Posts
Of course I remember the dealership. Southwest Motors, owned by Joe and Ned Locario, and Frank Morris. Joe and Ned's cousin Hank worked there also, but wasn't a partner.

If memory serves, I worked there in 72/73, but that's been a few brain cells ago.

Be thankful you didn't buy the car. Alfas of that vintage in Houston would evaporate right before your eyes.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,610 Posts
carbed with 1920's tech carbs
BTW: My 1997 motorcycle and some brand new bikes (that are not fuel injected) have carburetters based on this concept. Actually brilliant design with infinite turning capability, but they do like choke in the cold :(.

As with all carbs if the owner fiddles you have problems ...
Pete
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
139 Posts
Bump.

I have both - 76 spider and 74 TR. The TR is an amazing straight-6 machine - brute force torque with a loud musical exhaust note. Low to mid rev power through it's standard 4-speed gearbox. (o/d VERY desirable) A very, very cool sports car. Sort of a British muscle car.

The Spider is as though it were from an entirely different planet. Refined, quick, nimble, aluminum dohc engine with always more rpm on tap, excellent 5-speed gearbox (no need for o/d here), beautiful exhaust note, sleek and a bit exotic, classier in every respect. Every british car owner should find a spider as a mate to his British car. I believe that if my TR6 did not have overdrive, the Spider would be the faster car. As it stands, thery are equally quick/fast. I love them both very, very much.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,762 Posts
I'd like a TR as I really like the way they look. Hard to find here tho...ciao, chris
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
971 Posts
I was part of a group in college with all the cars mentioned on this thread, plus a Lotus Elan. All the reliability stuff can be debated endlessly and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But as curiousgeorge says above there is a big difference in handling feel. The TR doesn't have the same steering feel, rolls more and, at least the couple I drove, tended to breakaway all at once. They were fun to drive and actually easier to drive in traffic or mindlessly because of all that torque. The Alfas were more lively handling and most thought were what you would be more likely to drive for fun.

For me they are very different looking but they both look great and owning both would be the best!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
16,230 Posts
I remember back in the mid 60's when a friend had a 59 Alfa 1300 Veloce Coupe, that he raced in the NW sport car races, that kept up well with TR3's, sometimes beating them, on retreads no less. Of course, his 1300 had five speeds and he revved it regularly to 8500-9000 rpm in the races, except in rare "finish line drags" he would go to 9500. Of course, it had 5 hp below 4000 rpm as I remember when I tried driving it. Brakes were his bugaboo for racing, as the later linings from Alfa or other sources just didn't work as well as the original linings which came on the car.

One thing I think I remember about the later TR's was that the IRS didn't seem to work as well as first thought for some models, the guys stiffening them up for sporty driving, and certainly racing anyway.

Used to hose all these guys, even Sunbeam Tigers, with my Downton Engr prepared Mini. That was fun.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top