Lot 264 - 1963 Triumph Spitfire GT6R Le Mans Recreation
|Odometer reading||37,895 miles|
|Estimate||£25,000 - £32,000|
Triumph ran three racing Spitfires during the 1964 and 1965 Le Mans 24 Hours race and considered entering a six-cylinder Spitfire for the 1966 event under the F.I.A. Appendix J category after Porsche, in the same class, were found to be attaining 160 mph. The six-cylinder Spitfire was to be called the GT6R and was to run with either fuel injection or with triple carburettors. 175 bhp was confidently expected to give an estimated top speed of 160 mph, however, the 1966 proposed regulations meant that the car would have to run in the prototype category where it would certainly have been un-competitive. With this and financial strains upon Triumph, the competitions programme at Triumph was run down and the project was abandoned. Fast-forward to 1989 and Graham Pearce wanted to reproduce a lightweight car in the spirit of the racing Spitfires and the GT6R of the 1960s. The concept was to produce a bonnet and strong, semi monocoque moulded body tub with an integral steel frame for strength that would easily replace the existing body and bonnets of the Triumph Spitfire and GT6. In doing so, T6 Panel Craft was born with only 20 cars being produced by Graham, before he retired.
This extraordinary recreation of that Le Mans six-cylinder car was constructed on a 1963 Triumph Spitfire chassis using all composite T6 Fabrications bodywork and includes a fabulous specification. Its registration number echoes the period competition Spitfires who wore the ADU number plates. The car is fitted with a 2.0 litre straight six Triumph engine with a Peter Burgess head, Le Mans oil filter, a Type 9 close ratio five speed gearbox and a Quaife limited slip differential. Fuel is delivered via an electric pump feeding the triple 40 DCOE Dell’Orto carburettors. Exhaust extraction is by means of a tubular extractor manifold through a full stainless steel system. A 123 distributor provides the sparks and an aluminium radiator and oil cooler provide the cooling. Stopping power is delivered via the Lockheed four pot callipers and ventilated discs at the front with GT6 drums at the rear. The brake system has an adjustable biased twin circuit, as per the original prototype. The front suspension has the Lotus trunnionless set up with aluminium hubs whilst at the rear, CV drive shafts and an aluminium lower wishbone conversion stop the infamous Spitfire rear wheel tuck under. Gaz adjustable shock absorbers are fitted on all four corners. The interior is fitted with a half roll cage and F.I.A. four point harnesses with bucket seats. The instrument panel has several gauges to keep the driver well informed and a Moto-Lita leather/aluminium steering wheel provides directional control. An aluminium period replica fuel tank sits behind the seats and is fed via a large, quick release Le Mans style fuel filler. On the road the car is stunning to drive with the powerful six-cylinder engine delivering power low down, but it is not until the revs reach 4,000 rpm that this fabulous car takes on another life. With the CV jointed driveshafts and lower wishbones, handling is exceptional and corners can be taken with the utmost confidence.
ADU 5A is UK registered as a 1963 Triumph Spitfire Sports with its 2000cc engine capacity also recorded upon the V5 UK registration document. The car has been a regular presence at many events including the Brooklands Double Twelve, Kop Hill and Goodwood Member’s Meetings. ADU 5A also attended the 2014 and 2016 Le Mans Classic during which the car was driven by Claude Dubois, then aged 84. Claude drove the car in a very spirited way belying his age. He commented how lively the car was and how much it reminded him of his drive in the ‘Works’ Triumph Spitfire at Le Mans in 1965; he even signed the driver’s side roof. Valued at £70,000 for insurance purposes, ADU 5A is offered with a very attractive estimate and certainly reflects the spirit of the 1960’s Triumph racing cars and represents a fabulous tribute to a bygone age of Le Mans motor racing.
Please note: The driving experience of this Le Mans car is such that cannot be conveyed by words alone, therefore demonstrations are being offered prior to the sale. Please contact Historics for details.
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Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.