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Triumph TR7 and TR8 (1975 - 1981)

Last updated 28 January 2014

 
3
Interesting styling, roomy interior, lots of specialist back-up
Unmodified examples aren't that great to drive, TR8 is rare here with lots of 'fakes'
Updated 1 October 1981
Production ended

Sports cars no longer figured in the plans of the company and even though the Abingdon factory was being wound-up at the same time and demand in the USA for the MG sports cars was still reasonably...

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Introduction

When Triumph launched the TR7 in 1975 (in the USA; the UK had to wait until 1976), it was a clear signal that the company was making a big change in terms of the direction of the long-lived TR line. And even today, some people will find the wedged-shaped sports car a disappointment after the rorty, six-cylinder TR6. In short, TR7 was the encapsulation of British Leyland's corporate design direction, and it meant the car gained a roof and lost two cylinders, 500cc and independent rear suspension.

And It really wasn’t a true TR, as there wasn't a convertible option at all from launch. Triumph had been forced into taking the decision about it as a tin-top on the back of threatened US legislation banning open-topped cars. In the end, that never happened and the convertible TR7 arrived in 1979. But for all the criticism over these points and the wedge styling, it sold faster than the TR6 ever had. It’s a much easier car to live with too, driving more like a two-seater saloon than a sports car. It’s also by far the cheapest way to join the ranks of Triumph TR ownership.

In 1980, the V8 powered TR8 was launched. This was the car the TR7 should have been – after all, it was designed to accept the Rover V8 engine from a very early stage in the project. Sadly it arrived too late, was in production for less than two years and nearly all were left-hand drive examples sold in the USA. A handful of UK cars escaped into the wild – many more have since been created on a DIY basis - some cars clearly have been converted more professionally than others. Brilliant to drive, good fun, and surprisingly effortless to drive.

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