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Bit of fun with the TR7??

Afternoon backroomers and merry xmas to you all. Over the christmas period I have been offered a TR7 for a couple of hundred quid (795). It needs a bit of bodywork and the interior is what what you would describe as well used, as its the convertable model and the hood has a slash repaired with gaffer tape. Its got about 5 months MOT on it. I have been thinking about taking it on as a winter project to get it into a reasonable condition for the summer. Anyone had any experience of TR7s (parts are available over the net) or any stories to tell.

Oh yeah I know that 70s BL products break down, but on a "classic" like this its all part of the fun & experience.


Micky    on 28 December 2006

Merry mid-winter solstice bacon&eggs!

Convertible is a good start, V8 would improve things further. I thought TR7 prices were moving up after many years in the pits, perhaps not.
Make sure you're not paying a couple of hundred for the privilege of paying several thousand for structural work.

BL's TR8 rally car occasionally appears on demos in the UK, tail out everywhere :-0

pmh    on 28 December 2006

Check it VERY carefully for terminal rot. For the hidden bits a good test is to put the doors on the safety catch, ie not fully closed, put your fingers over the shut line and get somebody else to stand or bounce on the rear bumper. You will then understand what body flex is! Mine is a rare unwelded example and there are not many of those left. I would suggest that you only buy it if you get 12 months MoT from a reputable MoT establiishment.

Mechanically not too many problems, but mine only gets used in dry weather anyway. Head can be difficult to remove if you have HGF problems as studs are inclined (as Dolomite), check that the headlights do go up as it can be fiddly to sort out.

Good ones generally need £2k plus, but you might get lucky.

pmh (was peter)

bell boy    on 28 December 2006

only thing that stands out particularly (apart from the rot everywhere ) was i once had to condem one due to serious corrosion of the front crossmember (the one under the engine/gearbox)
no way could it get an mot and im talking maybe 15 years ago.

good luck as these are rare to see these days
personally i never got in them or out but always seemed to trip on the sill

Aprilia    on 28 December 2006

To be honest if you want a car for a bit of fun then there are much better things to spend your money on. These cars never had many redeeming features when new - and they were not built for the long haul. You'll probably spend an small fortune sorting it out.
Personally I don't mind sorting out a car mechanically, its bodywork I can't stand (and I've done a lot in the past!). Even when you think you've sorted the rust it always comes back and ruins your day.

stunorthants26    on 28 December 2006

Thats way too much money for a generally unloved car that needs work.

Not worth a penny over 300 quid, esp with a torn hood.

If it was generally straight ( with a far better MOT ) and didnt have hood damage, then its ok money, but a project should cost project money and 795 is way too steep for a car like that.

Buy it and look a fool when on comes up on Ebay at half the money.

tr7v8    on 29 December 2006

To be honest if you want a car for a bit
of fun then there are much better things to spend your
money on. These cars never had many redeeming features when
new - and they were not built for the long haul.
You'll probably spend an small fortune sorting it out.
Personally I don't mind sorting out a car mechanically, its bodywork
I can't stand (and I've done a lot in the past!).
Even when you think you've sorted the rust it always
comes back and ruins your day.

So what would you recommend, their isn't a sports car of the period that can compete with it. The road tests of the time said that. A good one handles very well whilst giving a good ride, the only thing they were criticised for in period were the brakes, which are upgradeable for £200 or so. Not all are rusty.

John F    on 28 December 2006

There are two types of TR7. The first is the appalling hard-top example from Speke with I believe the Marina 4-speed box. The second is when they moved the production line down to Canley and produced the convertible 5 speed......engineered to cope with Rover's ex Buick V8. I have had one for the past 26 years and it has been one of the most reliable cars I have ever had. With rear wheel drive and a live rear axle it is also fun! It's only done 60,000 or so but apart from a new water pump it's never gone wrong.
Mine is original [warm garage all its life and Ziebarted from new] , even down to the plug leads and brake cylinders [new seals though a yr or 2 ago] but rot was/is the killer of these cars. The other problem is watching the water level. Because of the silly design of the water pump you can get an almost imperceptible loss via the bearing out through a sort of slit in the side of the block - often only when it's cooled down. I learnt this from my old '76 Dolly Sprint engine which had the same design. Heads are easily warped if the level gets too low.
Parts are amazingly cheap and always available by return of post from really helpful specialists. Suggest you join the TR Drivers Club and's so arguably over-engineered [for the V8] you can't really break it. Just don't turn it over! Obviously I'm biased but I think it was one of the best British sports cars ever made - no scuttle shake, lots of thoughtful touches eg cantilevered wiper, safety rubber on pop-up lights, seat-belt buckle holders, zipped rear window in soft-top - and like any stylish car you can either love or hate the Harris Mann wedge shape.
Oh, and no cambelt to change!

tr7v8    on 29 December 2006

I was going to respond but John F has said it all. It is a fantastically strong car as it was built for a crash test regime that was never implemented. Mine has a mildly tuned v8 in. It's at
At that money it needs checking carefully for rot, floors, inner wings, rear trailing arm mountings & sills. But otherwise they're fine. If you must join a club avoid the TR Register as it's really for the older cars. I'd join either the TR8 Car Club of America or the TR7-TR8 Club.

ngtf    on 29 December 2006

The T7 is a great deal of fun even with the old 8valve 2litre. Upgrade to a decent 16v sprint engine is well worth the extra fun obtainable, V8's are just as good. A little harsh with regard to the comments for the TR Register, an awful lot of 7 owners do get a lot out of the club. Check out the forum (as guest if you wish) at There is a specific forum dedicated to TR7/TR8 and you will also find someone wishing to give away (free) a TR7 that has just failed it's mot. Could be a good source of spares, if nothing else the roof may be just what you need.

The Gingerous One    on 3 January 2007

agreed, £795 sounds too much for such a project. I paid £175 for a Speke car with no MoT but managed to nurse it through an MoT only for HGF to strike later. Decided it wasn't worth sorting due to being a 4spd and the body hadn't seen much care, only filler. tapping the sills I got different noises as I went along leading me to suspect cover sills had been fitted. looking carefully showed that this was the case, pulling the sill off revealed rust, rust and fresh air.

£800 got me another Speke (FHC) car but had been converted to 5 spd, had a Sprint engine fitted, had been restored c.1996 and had new wings & sills fitted (and done properly), upgraded brakes, lowered suspension and 11 months MoT. Plus all MoT's since 1980, history of previous owners from DVLA, pics of restoration done in late 90's, bills for all parts, paint etc. showing that around £2.5k had been spent then.

It still needs TLC, though, yet another thing to add to the list.

I stripped the old £175 one and there was rot all under the pedal box (must be through into a box section), also just behind the seats, it had been patched but that rot was growing. one wing was full of filler & rust. So it's good source of parts for the other (trim, plus the new bits I had bought for it).

Make sure the head gasket is OK (no misfires, no pressurising of the cooling system, no oil in water) and if you do decide to buy it, attack the cooling system first and make sure it's top notch. flush it all out, forwards, backwards, heater and radiator as well and make sure the little cooling hose under the carbs hasn't been kinked as mine had, thus preventing the cooling system from operating correctly.

Remember, it might have 12 months MoT but it can still have dodgy cover sills patched on over the rotten originals....

And I have some bits that I can't use on the Sprint-engined one......

hope that helps,

bacon&eggs    on 4 January 2007

Thanks for the pointers back roomers. I have phoned the owner (a friend of a friend) and have arranged to go over and have a look at it on Sunday, well weather permitting. I am taking my dad with me as a unbiased view. Will haggle hard on the price though.

Thanks all, will keep you posted.

bacon&eggs    on 21 January 2007

Evening all. Thought that I would post my findings on the TR7 that I went to see last week (eventually). To be totally honest I didn't know what to expect but I was let down and suprised at the same time . The bodywork is in a very poor state, with the paint having "crazed" very badly and it feels very rough when you run your hand along it and dry. The front wing O/S, bonnet and N/S door are the worst. I budget in a full bare metal respray. I can only assume that this is due to the car being stored in a very dry and hot garage (during the summer periods) for the past 8 1/2 years, well according to the owner....The body has had some plates welded on the front N/S floorpan (2 seperate plates), rear boot floor where the seam joines the rear valance and the rear wing - about a foot square or there abouts and where the front suspension lower mount is. Also I think that due to the rot and welding the whole body appears to have sagged in the middle as the front doors seem to be tight to open/close (front wheel on kerb test, although they were never that stiff when new) regardless of the front wheel being on the kerb or not. Drop down hood is U/S. In all this bad news however there is some good:- The engine & gearbox has had a full rebuild by the owner (ex BL dealer mechanic) with most of the reciepts coming from rimmer bros and james paddock and she drove A1 on the testdrive. I cant describe it but it feels like the kettler go-cart I had when I was a kid, fantastic. Sadly this TR7 aint for me - I was expecting a bit of a pig but due to the very poor paintwork it needs a full A1 respray. Want a TR7 so bad now though, the search continues.......

tr7v8    on 21 January 2007

Glad to hear you're a fan. Mine will be for sale in a month or so, but it will be around the top of £6,000 as it was completely rebuilt under 3 years ago & cost me £18K! But an immaculate car with no rot & a stonking V8!

Micky    on 21 January 2007

£6K? You can buy a TR6 for that!

Altea Ego    on 21 January 2007

blimey, the car that keeps depreciating. when it gets to zero it just starts all over again!
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >

tr7v8    on 22 January 2007

£6K? You can buy a TR6 for that!

But A. I wouldn't want one they are such an old fashioned drive compared to a 7, (this applies to most 7 drivers incidentally) & B. a £6K TR6 would be quite ratty & compare to a £1,500 TR7 so you need to compare apples with apples!

Sprice    on 22 January 2007

so you need to compare apples with apples!

...which also become rotten to the core eventually!

Micky    on 22 January 2007

"> But A. I wouldn't want one they are such an old fashioned drive compared to a 7<" That's character. Of course, the TR6 was more of a man's car than the rather effeminate TR7 ....

I can see the 1970's advertising spiel as I type "The new TR7, it's slower than the TR6. But easier to drive."

">a £6K TR6 would be quite ratty<" Depends where you look, £6K TR6s are available, I looked at another one last year, but she found out, so that was that. I have my hopes though .... and another lock-up ;-)

Martin Devon    on 22 January 2007

Rots out at back of boot I am told. Guy I know just sold one for 2-300 quid. Pile of pants I am also told.....................................I want a Vitesse..................2000 of course!


Martin Devon    on 22 January 2007

Hi Micky. I'll provide the lock up and you provide the car!! One day a Month will suit me!


Micky    on 22 January 2007

">Hi Micky. I'll provide the lock up and you provide the car!! One day a Month will suit me!<"

:-) :-) !!

I had two lock-ups, I kept the 2nd one quiet for a couple of years, but I became over-confident and I was seen. Ho hum

"Just off to the lock-up dear".

Every man should have a lock-up.

John F    on 11 May 2020

Thirteen years on and I've just found this old thread while idly searching 'TR7' in this section. I wonder if bacon&eggs ever got his TR7? Or is hopefully still alive?! Anyway, nothing else to add about my TR7, apart from consolidating its reputation as a well engineered reliable and durable fun car. 40 yrs old this month! It's still only done 71,000 miles and I've just checked the valve clearances - all acceptable and all but one within a thou of when checked at 30,000 umpteen years ago. Lesser MX5s have come and gone.....

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