30th Anniversary: 1979 Triumph TR7

Advertised as “the shape of things to come”, the Triumph TR7 is noted for its wedge-shape appearance and followed the TR6 which many consider the last of the volume-produced traditional British roadsters. It was introduced to the U.S. market in 1975 and would remain in production through 1981. This low-mileage example is a 30th Anniversary Edition (more on that later) and looks to be in great original condition. Located in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, this car is available here on craigslist for $8,750. Thanks to our pal, Pat L., for sharing another great tip with us!

The TR7 sports car was a product of British Leyland and built in the United Kingdom. It first debuted to the American market more than a year before it was available for consumption in England. The so-called wedge shape of the car is attributed to the swage line sweeping down from the rear wing to just behind the front wheel. Early TR7 were known to have quality control problems (a friend of mine had a ’75 and it gave him fits) that were worked out as production and time went on.

Offered by the seller is a 30th Anniversary Edition of the TR7, a dealer-installed cosmetic package available on 1980 models as well as some 1979s. This was in recognition of the 30th year of Triumph sports car production. With the package came things like  a special steering wheel borrowed from the TR8, steel wheels with polished trim rings and 30th anniversary hub caps, pinstriping and decals that were often applied in gold, a luggage rack, fog lamps, and fancy accessories in the passenger cabin.

The seller’s car has managed just under 17,000 miles in 42 years and has been kept in a garage when not used. The original paint looks to be in excellent condition and the little couple sports a sunroof (that may have been dealer-installed). Under the hood would be a 1,998 cc eight-valve, overhead cam four-cylinder engine that was set up to produce 92 hp in the U.S. The car is rear-wheel drive, of course, and has the optional 5-speed manual gearbox that Triumph offered. The seller has installed a brand-new set of tires.

Cockpit space in the TR7 was greater in size that its predecessors. But the wood-trimmed dash that was in the previous models was replaced by plastic that took away some of its charm. This TR seems to have some aftermarket seat covers that are bunching up on the driver’s side and hopefully not concealing anything. The only thing noticeably worn on the outside of the car is that the black rubber front bumper is getting faded.

This ’79 edition was one of about 115,000 TR7’s built over its lifetime and was pretty much the end of the lineage of Triumph sports cars. Besides the early quality issues mentioned, TR7s have been known to rust, but thankfully the seller’s car looks to have escaped any of that besetting it. The TR7 doesn’t seem to command huge dollars on the resale market, perhaps due to its early troubles. Hagerty says $11-12,000 is the most you should pay for one, and the seller has priced his offering well below that. But these are fun to drive and if you’ve been wanting one, this may be as nice as it gets.

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Comments

  1. Jack M.

    I test drove one of these for a weekend. The first thing I automatically do when I get in a vehicle is to put the seat all the way back, as I am 6ft 1inches tall. I was surprised that I couldn’t fully depress the clutch and had to move it forward a few inches!

    Like 12
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Do that in a Mini Cooper if you want an even bigger surprise.

      Like 1
    • Al Down

      Glad to hear. I am 6’4”,36 inseam and looking for a sportier car than my 320sl that I will fit in. TR6 is definitely out along with MGBs.

  2. Blyndgesser

    A clever design let down by poor management decisions and the chronic financial problems of the BL amalgamation. It deserved a better fate (and the 16 valve Dolomite Sprint head).

    Like 12
  3. Bonzo

    I had a 77 in college… once you learn to replace Lucas electrical components with more common and reliable ones, it’s not a bad car. If I had a garage, I’d be interested, although I’m not a fan of sawzawl sunroofs.

    Like 5
  4. Bob cooke

    I had one in the U.K in the late 70s like you said prone to rust and should have always been the TR8 as the 7 had the style but not the speed of the style

    Like 1
  5. John Norris

    I had one of these back in ’76. It was a great little car. Very underrated cars.

    Like 4
  6. JMB#7

    These could be purchased for a very low price in the mid 80’s. I recall that there were many available that needed some (manual) transmission work. I also recall that better brakes could be swapped using TR8 components. Fun car, but a major departure from the TR6. This appears to be a very nice example. I hope it finds a good home.

    Like 3
  7. Scott

    I bought one of these for what I thought was a steal about 10 years ago. $1,000. 1980, black, estate sale, had 54,000 miles, all records. Sitting for a few years. The car and I got to know each other real well it was a constant fight from one end to the other. When I sold it thinking I was going to make this big profit after 7 1/2 months I was able to get $2350. Remember this was a California garage car with no rust no flaws there was just no one interested. 😩

  8. ricky Whiting

    Owned a 1976 TR7 for three years. Only drove it 200 miles, not by choice.

    Like 6
  9. Stephen

    With Lucas (Prince of Darkness) electronics, I don’t think Triumph ever solved their “quality control” problems. Mazda solved it for them with the Miata.

    Like 8
  10. Lynn Dockey Member

    Mine was the MY 80. RUN AWAY. JUNK.

    Like 4
  11. JBD

    Unloved Classic that should find a nice home.

    Like 3
    • G Lo

      “Unloved” is simply inaccurate.

      Hated. Loathed. Reviled. Despised. Abhorred. Detested. Spurned. Shunned. Rejected. These are much more accurate

      Like 5
  12. dafydd

    …before it was available for consumption in England…
    Does one consume a vehicle? Probably not, but if its British, rust will…

  13. Don Eladio

    This is a car that, while I can appreciate in a strictly textbook fashion, I would never care to own. Someone would, literally, have to give it to me and I would, immediately, place it for sale here on Barn Finds. Why? Because it seems to be getting more positive replies than I expected. Not that anyone here actually buys anything but, the comments provide a small, dim light at the end of the tunnel for anyone who may so (un)fortunate to own one of these steaming piles of British poop.

    Like 4
    • Scott

      Lol, I was one of the people who did NOT post a positive response 🤗

    • Jesse Mortensen Staff

      @Don Eladio – Why do you think people don’t buy cars through the site? We are one of the most popular classic car blogs online and have huge coverage so most of the cars we feature sell almost immediately if priced right.

      Like 1
  14. G Lo

    In 1983 I had purchased a 1980 model. I assure you, the quality issues had not been worked out by that model year. There was always a good chance it would start right up unless it was windy or rainy sunny or cloudy or foggy or hot or cold or day or night. The headlights would always turn on. Would they pop up? That was the question, and one would come up most of the time, the other would come up to about 1/3, or not at all. You want to turn off the wipers? It was a 2 step process: 1. turn the wiper switch off, and; 2. turn the car off. The oil filter contraption was amazing: think of the most stupid, complex way to design it and there you are. Horn? On the turn signal stalk. You can always find a low mileage TR7, and I can’t think of any reasons that this is so.

    Like 6
    • G Lo

      I had almost forgotten! I also had to change the head gasket twice due to overheating (which I never could solve). Each time, I also had to change the radiator: the head gasket would allow compression to leak into the cooling system and the radiator would burst. I could never bring myself to sell it and inflict it on someone else-it’s probably still sitting at the old house where my parents used to live.

      Like 2
  15. Joe

    I always liked these for their appearance. Unfortunately, the very first one I ever viewed up close – on the showroom floor – the upholstery was already disintegrating. Also viewed an employee at the same dealership on the very same day having a very visible meltdown.

    An elderly neighbor acquired a 1965 Jaguar 3.8 Mk II sedan from his deceased sister. No one seemed to know how to properly repair the Borg Warner automatic transmission – he sold it after loosing patience (and money).

    Like 2
  16. RBC

    Had a Blue ‘76 with white stripes and a manual vinyl sunroof. Fun car, only issues was paint peeling around the headlights and the windshield wipers only worked when it wasn’t raining!

    Like 3
  17. Stephen

    This car reminds me of why the Brits don’t make computers.

    Could not figure out how to make them leak oil.

    Like 6
    • AlanBob

      Or:

      Q: Why do the British drink warm beer?

      A: Because they have Lucas refrigerators.

      I once saw a magazine ad for Lucas computers. Scary concept.

      Some people never learn, though: I’ve owned two Morris Minors, one MGB, and two TR6’s. Can’t help falling in love.

      Like 5
      • Stephen

        The TR6s I understand. Lovely cars and probably worth the aggravation.

        Like 4
  18. Howie Mueler

    I have always liked the look of these, but with these comments know i know to stay away, far away!!

    Like 1
  19. Will Owen Member

    Well, here’s another comment for you: my Mom bought one of these as her first new car when she was living up in Anchorage, AK. Drove it year-around for I think four or five years, and loved every minute of it. Never a single serious problem. The only reason she sold it? They’d decided to move down to the middle of the country, and could bring only their giant motor home and maybe one tiny car. Wound up with just “Levi” (short for Leviathan), the RV making the trip. She got another car when they settled in rural Missouri, a little GM Metro (Suzuki 3-cylinder), which also lasted longer than you’d think.

    Like 3
    • JMB#7

      Doesn’t surprise me one bit. Some people can make anything keep running by just paying a little attention to details. Other people can turn everything into junk by neglecting little details. The TR7 may not have been the best build quality, but they were not complicated or too hard to work on.

      Like 7
  20. Jeff holzer

    I was working at a “Sports Car” tire dealership in Baltimore,1976.
    Shofer Tire.
    Our ‘Efficiency Expert’ was a retired Lucas partsman. British,of course.
    He snagged a business deal to R&R wheels on these from the port.
    Exchange white spoke rims/tires.
    Asses and elbows for our 3 man crew.
    I would drive them south to railyard for shipping out.
    >5 years later,I’m selling them at a Toyota-Jaguar-Triumph dealership!
    Sold a Jag XJ6 sedan and TR7 in middle of winter….
    Fun times.
    whilst01

    Like 1

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