Lemons Wedge: 1978 Triumph TR7

IMG_2658

What’s this? Jamie’s posting about another find being sold off a trailer? Nope, not this time. That’s my sad looking trailer, and rather than a flipper selling a car, this was a picture while we were on the way home from purchasing this fine example of “the shape of things to come.” The TR7/8 was Triumph’s (and British Leyland’s) final attempt at producing a sports car for the masses. It’s controversial and polarizing Harris Mann styling was very unique at the time, giving an almost mid-engined look to a front-engined car. I love “wedges”, as they are known by Triumph enthusiasts, having owned several TR7’s and a pre-production TR8 coupe that we reluctantly sold a couple of years ago. I particularly like the coupes, having been introduced to one when a very good friend of mine let me drive his prize-winning TR8 coupe from Texas to North Carolina when my car overheated on the way home from a Vintage Triumph Register national convention. What a way to cross the country! But let’s look into the reasons I purchased this particular wedge!

IMG_2648

As you can see from the rear deck, we have the original green paint poking through the peeling, poorly applied blue-gray paint. If you look closely under the rear bumper, you’ll see a second exhaust pipe on the right side, so is that TR7 moniker correct, or is it a TR8 masquerading as a TR7? No surprise, it’s a TR7 that at one point had a Buick V6 transplant.

IMG_2647

As you can see here, though, the V6 engine is long gone. As a matter of fact, so is the steering column, original rack and pinion, and a lot of other components that would normally be under the hood. One trivial item that is still present is the air conditioning controller, the small tan box in the lower left of the picture. Rust has taken hold in certain spots known to all Wedge lovers; the seams in the nose panel, base of the windshield pillars, fender lips, and other spots. The floors are solid, though.

IMG_2649

Here’s a picture from inside the 42 Autosports/42 Dyno Services shop where I purchased the car. That’s the original lime green TR8 media car (as in the one from the cover of Car and Driver) there in the front, a TR6 behind it, as well as a bunch of performance-oriented Subarus and a Maserati Bi-Turbo getting an engine transplant. There were several other Triumphs getting worked on as well.

IMG_2646

I actually bought the car from my friend Jack, who owns 42 Dyno Services. If you’ve looked the car over, you’re probably wondering why I did! Yes, there are more solid TR7’s and TR8’s out there. But I have a specific purpose in mind for this car, and the TR7 is perfect for what I want to do. If you’re a long-time Barn Finds reader, you’ll know I race an Austin Marina in the 24 Hours of Lemons and ChumpCar with Austin Powerless Racing. Our team has decided we want to go faster but stay with eclectic British iron, so this TR7 (purchased for two-digit money) is perfect! But I’ve saved the best for last!

IMG_2657

This lump happened to come along with the car! I’ll let you folks tell me what it is in the comments. Let me know where you think it should go and what the results may be, and thanks for following along with my find!

Like This? Get Our Daily Email

Comments

  1. Blindmarc

    Is that a stag engine? I couldn’t get my phone to zoom to get a close up.

  2. Lode

    Rover V8 fuel injected.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @ Lode, you are correct. 3.9 L, 1995 Discovery, originally manual tranny.

  3. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    Good luck with your project, Jamie. I don’t know what that lump is but if it runs it’s certainly worth more than that wedge. And it has a clutch, so out of a Brit car? Not a Stag V8, which looked like two mirror-image TR7 fours joined at the hip. More likely Lode’s right—a Rover. Lots of tubes and hoses, maybe ’80s vintage.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @ Dolphin — thanks! The “lump” needs a water pump, injectors and a cam at least. But it did come with the ECU and auxiliaries.

  4. Greg

    We run a 76 TR7 with a 3800 SC V6 in the northeast Lemons great car handles like go kart.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @Greg — We’ve been muttering about heading up to New Jersey for a race…hmmmm…

  5. Dave

    A birdie tells me that is a Rover V8, 3.9 Litre, from a rather rare Discovery 5 speed manual.

    Nice battery tray Jamie. I see you are going to get to weld a little. All in all, a solid coupe, and the 3.9 5 speed is a prize!

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @ Dave — no tranny yet (any leads???). Yup, some welding for sure. Battery will end up in the trunk; we bought a nice relocation kit for the Marina; it will transfer just fine :-)

  6. Trent Poole

    Oh I remember Jaime from my days in The Triumph Club of The Carolinas and I can attest that this man is the real deal. A true Anglophile. Always had nice cars including a nice Italia. I bet he has a nice project going. The engine does look like a Rover V8.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Hi, Trent! Hope all is well!!! I don’t know about “nice” cars, but we still have the Italia :-)

  7. jim s

    looks like a fun project. when do you plan on having it ready to race and at what race track.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @Jim S — probably not until late 2016 at the earliest. We actually have another car to build up first. In an ideal world it would be September 2016 at Carolina Motorsports Park, but if ChumpCar runs at Sebring next year that will be a target. That being said, the other car and moving come first, so 2017 would probably be more realistic.

  8. Ken

    Jamie,
    Weren’t you supposed to drop that at my house on the way home so we could do something even more foolish than stick the proper V-8 in it???

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @ Ken — still looking for a similar car for you!!!

  9. alan

    The shape of things that have come and gone.

  10. Monsieur le Baton

    You have as many tranny options as adaptor plates can fit. standard issue was the R380 i believe which is a good box in itself, or its predecessor the LT77…. having said that many fit the Ford type 9 option but the best by far, although a lot rarer is the toyota supra box, a w58 i think – lots of choices and ideas. – i’d err towards a twin carb SU Hif 44 swapout also – less wiring hassles, or go the whole hog for an edelbrock inlet manifold – here’s a pic of mine (3.5 from a rover P6 & RR P38 exhaust manifolds ) which might give you some ideas. Good luck :)

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Thanks for the suggestions! We’re somewhat constrained by the race series rules as to what we can spend, so I suspect we will end up with the LT77 (is that the same as a TR8/Rover SD1?). Interesting thought on the carbs vs. fuel injection. I had a TR8 with the edelbrock and a 4-bbl, so that’s certainly tempting for the simplicity, on the other hand we own the fuel injection already…so we’ll see. I speak SU/Stromberg, but not so much fuel injection!

  11. Monsieur le Baton

    Yes thats correct the SD1 manual box was the LT77, you can still get your hands on the ‘special vehicles’ boxes which were hardened bearings for the police and Ministry of Defence – , usual problem normally is the bellhousing…. exceedingly expensive. you may find the 4wd belhousing wont fit in the tr7 tunnel, and you’ll need to look for a 2wd box/bell instead.

    One thing to be wary off, is to work out the gearbox numbers and suffixes, reason for this is that, rover did a few models of the sd1 that werent the v8, so you can end up with an lt77 box which didnt come off a 3.5 v8, and they used the same box in the sherpa van also, same box, super low ratios – so do you homework before handing over money for one……..

    great piece here about said boxes –
    http://www.gomog.com/allmorgan/gearboxes2.html

    On the fuel injection side its a bit trickier to setup due to not only needing an ecu, but also a maf meter and the lambda sensor plus crank and other sensors, which all need to work etc – not overly difficult, just a little bit more tempermental on an unknown engine…. – at least with carbs you know what you’re getting, – and due to it being a close relative of the buick 215, parts are easy to come by.

    One thing i would say is to keep an eye out for the edelbrock rover v8 inlet manifold on ebay etc – prices fluctuate, but normally can be bought for $100 or so.

    looks like a great project – good luck :)

  12. Monsieur le Baton

    oh i forgot to mention you will probably need to find a short nose water pump and early crank pulley to fit in the tr7 – i may have a spare pulley, will take a pic this weekend, see if its shorter than the one you have. along with that you’ll need a front engine casing also which suits the above – which i also might have – free to a good home if the postage not too much to the US :)

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.