Triumph GT6 Barn Find Disaster Detail

This week AMMO is in snowy central CT pulling out a 1978 Triumph GT6 from a barn full of old classics. The owner Derek likes to collect old British and Japanese sports cars and bring them back to life. This Triumph GT6 is a one owner car he sourced from California with only 18,000 original miles. It sat in the barn for sometime along with Derek’s other projects but now it’s time to detail the Triumph and get it back out on the road. 

AMMO NYC Triumph GT6 Barn Find detail

After clearing some space in the barn, we were able to push the super light (1900lb) GT6 out into the sunlight. Inches of dirt had accumulated on the paint but I was hoping this layer could be removed to reveal a new car underneath. Due to the snow, we hooked up the GT6 to Derek’s truck and towed it from the backyard to the garage. We got stuck several times but after some vigorous shoveling, was able to winch the GT6 into the garage.

Triumph GT6 First wash in years

After a closer inspection of the GT6, Dan & I began unloading the equipment we would need as the detail would take place onsite. I had learned from my days of mobile detailing to come prepared and without a hose in sight, Frothe Hoseless Lift came to the rescue. I used the AMMO Pro Foamer to cover the GT6 in Frothe in order to wipe off the top layer of grime safely with microfiber towels. The GT6 looked far better after the wipe down but we could see the paint had heavily oxidized over the years of neglect. A few readings with the Elcometer Paint Gauge gave us an average of about 3-4mil across the car which meant we had little to play with for the correction process. 

AMMO Frothe hoseless car wash in barn

Before the paint correction, Derek jacked the car up to remove the wheels for a sand and repaint. Meanwhile, Dan used the AMMO US Steamer with the single hole “sniper” attachment to target the panel gaps and seams which had collected years of junk. This is a crucial step as the dirt must be removed before paint correction as it can be dislodged during polishing and scour the paint. Since we did not have a pressure washer on site, the AMMO Steamer was more than capable for the task. 

AMMO Steam machine for barn find triumph detail

Once the Triumph was clean, we began polishing with a red foam pad and yellow polish to remove the oxidized “dead” paint. I finished polishing half of the hood and the difference was night and day as the “mow down” technique was clearly working. The Red Foam pad was doing a great job of lifting all the residue revealing perfectly clean paint underneath. The next step was to switch to a wool pad with blue compound to remove the scratches and imperfections before finishing with a yellow pad to refine the finish. The three step polish absolutely revived the brilliant turquoise paint but the garage floor looked like a Jackson Pollock painting afterwards. 

Barn find detail with Rupes Bigfoot

With the paint revived and shining, we turned our attention to the interior which needed a lot of work. Derek removed the seats so I could vacuum the carpets which would eventually need to be replaced. The areas that weren’t visible to the sun had retained a normal texture, but most of the carpet had been significantly damaged by UV exposure. As I moved my way to the back of the car, we found the rear trunk liner had a significant amount of mold growth. Thankfully, Derek’s friend Caleb who was assisting with the shoot, was a mold remediation technician. He explained the dangerous black mold known as “Stachybotrys” was not present and the existing mold growth could be removed with a light cleaner. AMMO Lather did the trick with a microfiber towel and the mold wiped right off. (Always wear PPE for safe detailing). 

removing mold and mildew from car interior

After cleaning out the trunk, I turned my attention to the fabric seats and floor mats while Dan worked on the tight spots with the 1-inch polisher. Now the huge game changer for this part of the detail was the all new AMMO Steam Vacuum. This incredible machine combines the extraction of a shampoo machine and the cleaning power of steam all in a wet vac package. Since we were on a time crunch and I couldn’t leave Derek’s seats sopping wet, the Steam Vac effectively cleaned these sensitive fabric surfaces with minimal drying time. The before and after on the freshly cleaned floor mats was huge!

AMMO NYC Steam machine vacuum extractor for interior carpet

We were losing daylight so we replaced the seats and floor mats so I could finish off the interior wipe down with Lather. Dan polished the metal bumpers by hand and even rejuvenated the CA license plates to almost new condition. Meanwhile, I went to work on the engine bay using Titan 12 Degreaser to soak the greasy inline 6. The Steam Vacuum came in handy again and I used the “sniper attachment” to exfoliate the greasy engine components while agitating with a wheel brush. When the steam cleared, the results were apparent as the silver valve covers gleamed under the detailing lights. 

Ammo steam machine for engine bay detail on triumph barn find gt6

While the engine bay aired out, Dan and I focused on the heavily water spotted windows. Much like the paint, a thick layer of gunk sat atop the glass, so the windows also received a 3 step clean. Using AMMO Obey Glass Cleaner, we scrubbed the windows first with a razor-blade, followed by a squeegee, with a final wipe from a glass towel. The glass was extremely tricky but at least Derek can see the road now! 

cleaning hard water from windows with Larry from AMMO Nyc

With the cleaning finally wrapped up, we protected the paint with Reflex Pro and the metal surfaces with Gelee Pro. Derek had finished restoring the wheels and upon seeing the GT6, his HOLY ______…! reaction was priceless. The GT6 had come a long way and the deep wet gloss of the turquoise paint was finally visible again. With fresh wheels back on, we applied Mud Tire Gel to the tires for an aesthetically pleasing shine. Now the only thing left was to see if Derek could coax the Triumph back to life. It was getting late but after working some magic with the engine and starter fuses, the Triumph roared to life. “2 minutes” shouted Derek in joy! Another one back on the road as they say!… Thanks for supporting AMMO and stay tuned for many more exciting barn find stories.  

Polished single stage paint on barn find Triumph GT6 from Larry at AMMO NYC

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