853 Original Miles! 1980 Triumph TR7 Survivor

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Yes, 853 miles! And despite its reputation for unreliability, this Triumph TR7 is in excellent running condition. It’s located in Ramsey, New Jersey and is up for sale here on eBay.

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You can see the distinct wedge shape of the TR7 in this shot, as well as the great finish of the paint. The seller doesn’t say whether this is the original paint or a repaint, but based on the closeups I think it’s the original paint, and it’s in immaculate condition. Actually, the entire car is in immaculate condition, as it should be given the low mileage. This is as close to a brand new TR7 as you’ll ever see, and may well be the best one in the entire world.

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Obviously, you’d need to examine the car closely, preferably with an expert from the Triumph Wedge Owners Association along to examine the details of the car. And it will still come with all the weaknesses of the TR7, so you’ll have to be careful to avoid overheating and it won’t be as gutsy as you’d like. But I doubt that you’ll be driving this much anyway–I’m guessing the person buying this will be keeping it as a survivor.

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The red tartan plaid interior is immaculate just like the rest of the car. While I realize it’s loud for most folks, I love it, and miss it’s equivalent in green that was in the pre-production TR8 coupe we used to own. Even the ash trays in the doors look like they’ve never been used!

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I’m hoping that at least some of the hoses and soft goods have been replaced, but I can’t imagine a TR7 engine compartment looking better than this! I’ve spent a fair amount of time driving TR7 convertibles, and while they don’t have the lusty power of a TR8, they are a pleasant-driving car, with truly comfortable seats and enough suspension travel that the ride is much softer than earlier TR’s. I’d love this car, but I’m afraid I’d ruin it right away because I couldn’t keep from driving it! Would you rather have a truly terrific survivor like this that you’d feel guilty about driving but would win shows with, or a more well-worn but still nice example that you could drive anywhere?

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Comments

  1. Joe

    It is always interesting to look at a car that is 35 plus years and hardly driven. Kinda like being transported back in time or being in a museum. I just got my license in 1980 and clearly remember looking at the newspaper advertisements for these as “new” cars and thinking they were way way out of my price range at that time. Settled on a one owner 66 mustang for 850 bucks that needed some work and as it turned out made me real happy for many years and shaped my thinking about cars. This TR7 is surely nice looking. At 29.9K asking price on the seller’s website, if given a choice I would still rather buy a 66 Mustang for that money, only this time I would get a fastback and 4 speed.

  2. Alan (Michigan )

    I wonder if someone traded it for a Radical track car?

  3. van

    So you put a V8 in the best car you ever built.
    The engine was so bad you couldn’t sell them in the US and it killed the car.
    So you cut the engine in half and used it again.
    And I’m sure just like in Detroit it was the workers and unions that killed the industry. Anybody else try to build a good car with poor engineering, bad design, inferior metals, and budget everything.
    In Japan somebody would have to commit Hari Keri no saving face hear.

  4. Bill

    Chance to own a car that was singularly responsible for the death of an entire car company? I’ll pass.

  5. bcaivileer

    had a 1975 tr7 in green, plain black interior with a 4 speed too!! it was a coupe and drove really well if I remember. Never overheated, never left me stranded in 2+years and 40,000 miles of use.
    Certainly not the build of the earlier cars, but handled well and was pretty cool in those days.
    Like this time capsule, just not the plaid interior. YUK.

  6. Gary

    First the positive. The TR7 was the best handling car that Triumph ever built – straight out of the box. It was built on a modern platform (at the time) and probably would have at least helped to keep the company afloat for a while. It had very modern styling and was a very comfortable fit (at the time). Also the 2000cc overhead cam slanted 4 cylinder engine was a very potent and modern design (at the time).

    Unfortunately the early TR7s had some huge quality problems. This was corrected later in the production run but it was too late. The word was already out that they were junk. Also the V8 TR8 was a great idea but it should have been produced a lot earlier – probably at the same time at production started for the TR7.

    Also to correct an earlier statement, the TR7 was half a Triumph Stag engine. Not half the TR8 engine. The Stag engine was developed jointly with another car company – Swedish, I think. The TR8 engine is the same V8 that was used in early Buicks. British Leyland bought the rights to the engine from GM.

    Oh, and at $30k, no thanks. Unfortunately this car is probably only worth around $8k. Maybe a little more if you’re lucky.

    Gary

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Gary, I’ll agree with you on everything there except value. BTW, the company was SAAB, the engine went in the 99. The 16V version of the 4 cylinder that went into the Dolomite sedan would have worked out well in the TR7 as well as the Rover V8. Valuewise, I’d cheerfully pay 10-12K for this, although at 30k it’s insane.

      • Gary

        Jamie,

        The guys in the local Triumph club have been talking about this one. Most value it at around $5k with a few agreeing with you at around $12k. So I kind of averaged it at around $8k.

        A couple of the guys had interesting comments such as “It would be worth $30k if it came with $25k of gold in the trunk”.

        In the end, it’s worth what someone is willing to pay for it. If you would actually pay $12k for it and it was offered at that price, then that’s what it’s worth. I said $8k but I doubt I would buy it even at that price.

        Gary

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Gary, you’re right of course. Not only does every car have it’s price, it’s a different one for every buyer :-)

  7. van

    If the rover engine was in the stag it would have been a success
    Rover increased displacement several times I wondered if the GM intake and a larger rover crank would fit
    250 horses eazy

    • Gary

      Van,

      There is a lot of hot rodding you can do to a TR8. Google “how to hot rod a TR8” for some ideas. Here’s one that gives a pretty good idea of some of the stuff you can do:

      http://www.team.net/TR8/mp/html/body_buick_215_conversion.html

      It’s also pretty easy to transplant a TR8 or Buick 215 engine into a TR7. So you can find a pretty beat TR7 with an engine with a warped head for around $1,000, drop in a Buick 215 V8 and go to town getting some serious HP. Fun!

      Gary

      • van

        I considered doing just that
        Even back in the early 80s the 215 was very hard to find. I found one 61 and one 62 olds and buick in junkyards. Cars that hadn’t run in over 10 years, and you got no guarantee. Good old boys can be a pain in the ass.

  8. van

    Oh I talked to Jim Ruggles at Ruggles engineering. He worked with buick on the Regal grand national. According to him a buick 3.8 v6 had more power and weighed less, even without a turbo.
    So many possibilities so little money.

  9. jim s

    i would want to drive this so i would have to pass.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Yep.
      If excess funds came my way, my garage (warehouse, LOL) would be filled with runners that I could and would drive. Jay Leno is a personal hero, since that is how he views the cars in his collection.
      Cars may be art, but to me the beauty is fully realized in motion.

  10. Casey

    Wow, it almost made it 1000 miles before it broke down for good. But seriously this one really needs better patina.

  11. DirtyHarry

    I bought a used 1980 TR7 in 1985 and drove the wheels off it, working a full time job and going to college at night. For all the moaning I heard, I must say I added 100,000 miles on top of the 50k it came with. I sold it off still running well. Yes, you had to maintain the cooling system, clean the carbs, go easy on the clutch and gearbox and use the correct coolant. These really were not complicated and easy to repair. It is worth at least 15k, just because it may be the last new one left.

  12. Joe

    Only 5 minutes from my job. Will swing by to take a look, just because I am sure I will never see another low mileage example. Thinking about it as a 1 car museum trip.

  13. HeadMaster1

    I sold my 1981 TR7 last year, only had 1,300 miles and was the fuel injected 2.0 litre. Mine had new paint, wheels, interior even though rarely driven. These cars were fun, not fast. Like others have said, find a non-rusty, non-running one for under a grand and build it into a “modern” Cobra/Tiger killer

  14. Joel

    I have the same car since 1989. The same red plaid and the same wheels and all. I am not sure what it is worth to anyone but myself. I enjoy driving mine. I only have 60k miles but it does compete with me riding my motorcycle with friends.

    I did change some of the problems like the radiator core to a more modern set up that does not come close to overheating. I also have the original seats in my garage till I redo the red plaid.

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