Make Offer: 1980 Triumph TR7

The Triumph TR7 has long been on the more affordable British sports cars you could buy, and this 1980 example may be snaggable for a decent price given the seller’s “make offer” pricing strategy. Some listings, you know it’s total horse crap, but others feel like the seller genuinely is interested in letting the car go for not much money. This feels like the latter case to me, so check out the Triumph here on craigslist in Richmond, Virginia.

Richmond holds a warm place in my heart as it’s where I found my 1987 BMW 325is, the longest-tenured project car in my garage, clocking it at 10 years. The area is hospitable to vintage cars, being far enough south that road salt and snow aren’t too common. This TR7 appears to have excellent cosmetics, with its period graphics still intact.

The tartan cloth inserts in the door panels is wonderfully British, and despite being from an era of incredibly cheaply-made British cars, the TR7 looks welcoming inside and mostly intact. Details are scarce on the functionality of notoriously fiddly electrics, but the overall good order of things inside the Triumph inspires some confidence.

The engine bay is clean and orderly, and the seller notes a recently-installed Petronics ignition system. This is a worthwhile upgrade, but hopefully, more deferred maintenance has been tackled if the TR7 has indeed been off the road for years. If it can truly be bought for a reasonable best offer, this rust-free example may be worth calling on.

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  1. Rube Goldberg Member

    Dang, I’m looking for a British roadster, and I bet the price is probably right, I just can’t warm up to these. It went agin everything a British roadster purist wanted. We wanted a new TR6, not this. I’m not familiar with the motor, while it does have a cam chain and not a belt, like I previously thought, it’s a single row bicycle chain, and doesn’t look too strong to me. I had a friend that didn’t know anything about Triumphs, told me, he just bought a classic Triumph. I was interested, until he said it’s a TR7. IDK, it has everything you’d want, too much interior plastic, but I believe the motor was used in the Dolomite, and a proven unit. Meh, a Spitfire is all I can afford, much more my speed, and I can sit on the front tire and adjust the points, if need be.

    • That AMC Guy

      The engine in these is the ancestor of the Saab 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and was co-developed by Triumph and Saab. It was actually first used in the Saab 99 since part of the deal was that Saab had exclusive use of it for a period of time.

      Saab found the engines supplied by Triumph to be problematical in a number of areas and brought the design in-house to make improvements. Over the years many engineering changes were made and it was used in various Saab models through 2009. (Last I heard it was still being built by a Chinese company that bought the rights to the 1st-gen Saab 9-5 during the GM bankruptcy.)

  2. Bill

    Had one in 84 not really much of a roadster not much fun to drive, slow, unreliable, I would stay clear of this

  3. JOHN

    WTE. Worst Triumph Ever.

  4. Andrew Franks

    Be very selective with these cars if you want one, and step one would be a rewire.

  5. King Brude

    This was my cousin’s dream car growing up for some reason and he eventually got one, which ended up rusting in my parents’ backyard. He now has another, many years later, along with an Aston Martin, Porsche, Mercedes and BMWs…
    Tartan British? Nah, Scottish…

  6. johnj

    My father put a buick 215 into a 76 Tr7 back in the early ninetys. That car handled good and it was fast enough to be a lot of fun to drive. Was even still good on gas. We did not have any major electrical issues and overall it was a reliable car. The unibody on these seem to be pretty stiff, and there are plenty of suspension tricks and upgrades available. If all of the tr7’s were powered by the buick/rover v8 (tr8) I think they would be looked at much differently. If I could build one today I would do it with an aluminum ls motor instead of the little buick though. If it is rust free it could be a great affordable project and a lot of fun. Light weight and a great bang for the buck with the right engine and trans swap. I would grab it if I had the money but unfortunately I don’t.

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