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Triumph TR7 & TR8

Triumph TR7 & TR8 Published: 7th Jun 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph TR7 & TR8
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Fine tourers | Excellent value | Great TR8 | Starting to appreciate

What’s their attraction?

Let’s be clear about this, the TR7 was never intended as a direct replacement for the much loved hairy-chested TRs. Instead, this new kind of TR sports car was right in tune with the energy saving 1970s and they are demonstrably superior to an MGB and remain cheap as chips although prices are heading north for the most superb of sevens.

Driving

Not only do they look it but the TR7 is a world away from the earlier TRs to drive. A meek and milder performer all round, there’s shades of the Jensen-Healey/Big Healey comparison about them. While that 2-litre 8-valve engine hardly sounds sporty, it goes well enough and is as quick as an average TR6 while the handling is in another class. If a good ride matters to you then a TR7 is far more comfortable than a GT6 and the same can be said for the interior design and layout.

The TR7 always cried out for the Rover V8 and so-powered TR7s are great as they have a Big Healey flavour about them; Official TR8s used same 135bhp Range Rover power that afflicted the MGB GT V8 where as home or specialist converted cars invariably used 160bhp V8s originating from the Rover saloons. Most will also welcome the slick SD1 five-speed transmission (optional for 1977 but standardised two years later) for its longer legs but original four-speed versions are a mite quicker and becoming collectible as a result – not so the autos.

Prices to pay

The most valued are the factory TR8 convertibles which can fetch up to £15,000 followed by a specialist Grinnal conversion (their showy body kit are a matter of taste, however), then a converted TR7-V8. The coupé, which was once the runt of the litter, now enjoys values which aren’t far short of a good rag top just so long as there isn’t an aftermarket ‘port hole’ sunroof fitted and it features the early tartan clad interior. Anything between £3000-£5000+ secures a very nice TR7 with the convertible worth say around £2000 in addition. The ultra rare 16V Sprints are hard to value but fall somewhere between a 2-litre and a V8 as do the special edition variants. Their rarity (watch for poor conversions) along with the TR8’s exclusivity means it’s a currently seller’s market but drive as many TR7s as possible as their condition varies greatly.

Top buying tips

Repairs

Low values mean the bulk of cars are in a so-so or sorry state and probably bodged. Look around for better buys as there’s enough TR7s around.

Restos


Rimmer Bros markets a complete body restoration kit that comes with sills, wings and so on, at less than £1500 – good value for money. Three levels of DIY V8 conversion kits are also available from Rimmer if you wish to convert yours. ENGINE Prone to overheating, the ‘half Stag’ Dolomite engine suffers similar cylinder head troubles and can prove virtually impossible to remove at the kerbside if rusted on (many are).

Rust


Can be especially bad. Include the chassis rails (particularly at the front around the subframe points), floorpan, bulkheads and inner front wings, especially the strut top mounts and rear suspension pick up points in your search.

Running gear


Usually reliable and easily sorted but note any wheel wobble on a test drive; it’s a known TR7 problem and certainly not simply merely a question of needing a wheel balance even if the seller strongly disagrees…

Dates to remember

1976 Released in UK and Europe initially with a four-speed manual but option of a three-speed auto and a Rover SD1-sourced five-speed manual follows by the end of the year

1977 Normal plain cloth seating trim is replaced by a vivid red or green tartan look

1978 As production shifted to Canley, cars became identified by having a garland transfer on the car’s nose

1979 Five-speed manual made standard but the real breakthrough is the launch of the convertible

1980 As we get rag tops, the US enjoys the TR8. Around 20 official UK models were made

1981 Production shifted yet again, this time, finally, to Solihull. It is said that the Speke cars used better build materials but actual build quality was the worst of all three sites…



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