Black Widow: 1980 TR7 Spider For $900!

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

Black widow bites are much more unusual than you’d think. So are folks that are “bitten” by the Triumph TR7. Much maligned both during it’s time and since, in reality by the time the TR7 exited in 1982 it was a pretty decent car. Unfortunately, it took several factory moves and a lot of goodwill lost before it got there. This is an example of one of the most desired versions of the TR7, the Spider special edition, and it’s for sale here on craigslist for only $900 in Warrenton, Virginia! Y’all are lucky I’m wrote this up rather than just going and buying it!

As you may have guessed by now, I’m in that group of TR7 likers; as a matter of fact, I’ve owned three and a TR8 to boot. I’ve never owned a Spider, though. But even I recognize that this is a very polarizing design, and the engine woes of the TR7 slant four are well known.

British Leyland (Triumph’s parent manufacturer) sure thought they had a winner on their hands, as you can see by this classy advertisement. In reality, the Spider was a visual only package, with the only black painted TR7’s, special red striping, custom aluminum wheels (also used on the TR8), special seat upholstery and other add ons.

As you can see by looking closely, there’s some primer around both door handles, and the seller does tell us that there’s some rust. There are particular places where TR7s rust, mainly in the fender lips, nose, and trunk floor, but we really don’t know what the seller is referring to here.

The seat upholstery visible here on the passenger seat was only used on Spiders and I believe is no longer available, although some owners have found something similar. Since there’s a cover on the driver’s seat we can assume that it’s in need of help.

On the other hand, the seller tells us that the car is driveable, the fuel tank has been cleaned and sealed, and you can see the air pump and air conditioning compressor are still in place (both unusual to find). The missing mechanical fan and fan clutch have me worried, and even if an electric fan is fitted as it should have been with the air conditioning, I wouldn’t drive the car until I had replaced that fan. It also looks like the fan may be hit the radiator at some point as well. However, for only $900 versus a low retail of $5,075 from NADA, I’d be willing to take the chance! What about you?

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Comments

  1. Fred W.

    This is quite a deal any way you look at it.

    3+
  2. LAB3

    Always did like the looks of these, definitely a futuristic theme in its day.

    2+
  3. NSGray

    My best friend at the time had a 1975 TR-7 hardtop in BRG over black. “The shape of things to come…” thankfully was not completely accurate, as within a year the Triumph was going nowhere fast. He traded it in on a Pontiac Firebird and was much happier.

    1+
  4. Will Owen

    My mother bought one as her DD in Anchorage AK, I think new. She loved it, drove it everywhere, was pleased with how it handled on snow and ice, and claimed never to have had a bit of trouble with it. As the other car in the family was her husband’s Citroen Mehari, “weather-tight” for them was a relative thing. For the record, this was her second soft-top Triumph there: When she first arrived in 1965, she sent me out to find her a car, and I brought home a Herald convertible …

    2+
  5. Pa Tina

    These may become the next “914”‘s. Nobody cared for them for the past 25 years but as there are fewer and fewer entry-level cars available, these have a real chance for upside potential. Buy yours now so we won’t have to read your whining posts in ten years.

    2+
  6. David Miraglia

    When ever some sells a unpopular make like that for that low…I start thinking whats the catch?

    3+
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Unpopular model, sure, but not unpopular make — there are a lot of us Triumphiles out there!

      3+
      • Chris Hansel

        Unpopular with Jamie, but not us. In fact if it were not for us wedgeheads, it would be hard to put on a lot of the current shows as the earlier models are losing owners at a good clip.

        0
      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        Chris, it’s NOT unpopular with me as I stated in the post! Hi, by the way!

        1+
  7. 55chevy Chuck Foster

    I love TR7s, and TR8s, had a 1980 TR7 with a hopped up shaved head that would fly, dropped a valve one day and traded it for the only new car I ever bought, a 1988 Chevy Sprint (Suzuki 3 cylinder) 4 door, a year or so before they became a Geo. I need a solid donor TR7 shell for the rusty TR8 I have, hmmm, how far is Feredericksburg?

    0
  8. Howard A Member

    You know, the more these pop up , the more sense these make. The styling seems to grow on you through time, AND, if you want a 2 seat roadster, with any British class, and don’t have a lot of money, your choices are pretty limited, and I’d take this over a Spitfire anyday ( not that there’s anything wrong with a Spitfire, I just don’t care for them) I have a friend that just bought one of these, I haven’t seen it yet, but he’s happy, and that’s the most impartent port.

    0
  9. James Mogey

    Perhaps the missing fan is why we see the hood ajar?

    0
  10. Eric_10cars Eric_10cars Member

    $900? If I wasn’t in the midst of a major house renovation project, I’d hook up my tow dolly and grab this. I’d rather it was the TR8 and I along with 90% of car lovers don’t much care for the body style, but for such a low price for what looks to be a pretty intact car, it’s worth it for the parts alone. Perhaps one could swap in a small v8, although I suspect some front suspension mods would be in order.

    0
  11. Fritz T.

    Oddly enough, my Travco motor home has the same LeCarra steering wheel. Larger diameter, and while restoring it I used allen head fasteners

    0
  12. Justin

    Where exactly is this?

    0
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Justin, it’s in Warrenton, Virginia.

      0
  13. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Gone.

    0
  14. Mike

    I bought my brothers ’80 tr7 off him in 1990 and drove it across the country. Almost everything. That could wrong, did go wrong with this car. The Lucas electrical system was truly next level bad. I could change the radio station with the wiper switch at one point. It eventually seized in San Bruno a few years later after sitting for most of my ownership.

    You couldn’t pay me 1k to take it. It’s just got bad mojo.

    0
  15. David Wilkinson

    I found a TR7 Spider in the local pick-N-pull 4 years ago. It was complete and had no visible damage. Not only was it a genuine Spider, but it was a fuel-injected model, 1 of about 600 I think, for the 1980 model year. I toyed with the idea of trying to buy it from the yard, but in the end I settled for taking the steering wheel, shift knob, and glove box plaque, as it was nearly impossible to buy a complete car from that particular yard.

    0

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