No Reserve: 1979 Triumph TR7 Convertible

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During its production run, Triumph produced 28,864 examples of the TR7 Convertible. The vast majority of these cars found their way to the US, but they are now a relatively rare sight on our roads. Early examples of the TR7 were plagued with issues, but most of these were addressed during the car’s production run. That tends to mean that if you find a tidy looking car today, then the chances are that you have stumbled upon a good one. This 1979 model shows an enormous amount of promise, and it appears to be a car that is ready to be driven and enjoyed. It is located in Flanders, New Jersey, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding currently sits at $2,026 in what is a No Reserve auction.

If only the TR7 had been as good from day one as it was when this car rolled off the production line in Canley, Coventry. Early cars were built in Speke, Liverpool, and were plagued with problems. A large part of this was due to the high level of industrial unrest at that time, which made quality control a lucky dip. I am in no way criticizing the people who built those early cars. It was just an unfortunate consequence of the industrial issues at that time. I can remember one motoring publication taking an early TR7 as a long-term test vehicle. After 12-months, not only had a large percentage of the drivetrain required rebuilding, but the car already had significant rust issues. The move of production to Canley addressed the majority of the quality problems. It also helps to explain why so many of the later cars have survived relatively well. This White TR7 presents extremely nicely, with no signs of any rust issues. The owner provides a great selection of photos, and the floors appear to be clean. The panels seem to be free of rust, and also look to be straight. Panel gaps are consistent, and the convertible top is free from any problems. The bumpers can be prone to deteriorating as time passes, but these look good. The only apparent flaw that I can pick is some possible staining and discoloring of the wheels. However, this isn’t severe and should be easy to address.

I will say that if the interior trim of this TR7 is original, then its condition rates as nothing short of remarkable. Trim and plastic inside a TR7 had a reputation for being somewhat “biodegradable.” That led to seat and door trim upholstery fading badly, and plastic trim becoming brittle and crumbly. None of those sorts of problems have afflicted this car, with the interior presenting almost flawlessly. The door trims have some very slight discoloring, but it is very minor. The seats are free from noticeable wear, while the carpet is close to perfect. There are no problems with the dash, while the remaining plastic pieces shine nicely. There is an aftermarket radio fitted to the vehicle, but otherwise, it is as it would have looked when it rolled off the production line.

The TR7 Convertible was quite a deceptive little car. In the tradition of British sports cars, it came equipped with a relatively small engine with modest levels of power. In this case, it is powered by a 1,998cc 4-cylinder engine, producing 92hp. Those horses then find their way to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. This is not a combination that holds the promise of breath-taking performance. However, thanks to the fact that the Triumph tipped the scales at a mere 2,200lbs, it could gallop through the ¼ mile in 18.5 seconds. I know, that certainly isn’t muscle car territory. But for a car blessed with relatively little power, it’s still very respectable. Overall, the news is good with this car from a mechanical perspective. It is said to run and drive nicely, with no known vices. The tires are said to be fairly old, so they should probably be replaced before any extended trips are undertaken. The owner states that the odometer is showing 26,000 miles, and he gives the impression that this might be original. However, he doesn’t indicate whether he holds any evidence to confirm this.

The Triumph TR7 is a much-maligned vehicle, and there is no doubt that early quality control issues damaged its reputation almost beyond repair. It was a case of history repeating itself because Triumph faced precisely the same problems with the Stag. However, unlike the Stag, the company was able to address the issues with the TR7. Unfortunately, this came too late to save the TR7. Triumph had intended to continue building the vehicle well into the mid-1980s. However, dwindling sales saw the ax fall in 1981. Finding a rust-free and original TR7 Convertible today can be quite tricky, but this is a car that would seem to meet those criteria. That could make it a British classic that is worth a serious look.

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  1. doone

    Brake pedal has a lot of wear on the right side leads me to think its 126k miles. Otherwise in decent shape though some of the undercoat has flaked off. Idle at 1500 seems very high. Still, a buy at $3500 or less.

    Like 1
  2. Sherminator

    I don’t ever remember a TR7 interior that wasn’t plaid. Even if not, this looks like a complete interior redo.

    Like 1
  3. MoragaPulsar

    These are truly not any fun to drive. I so wanted to love these, but TR7s are slow, steering is heavy, visibility is pretty bad and the door belt line relative the the drivers shoulder is uncomfortably high. My biggest “imagined vs real” disappointment for any car.

    Like 1
  4. Solosolo UK ken tilly UKMember

    Back in the day when I was a classic car dealer it was near enough impossible to sell a TR 7. I refused to take one even as a trade-in against another car, only received them as consignment stock and then only for 30 days otherwise they became permanent parkers! After 30 days it would be parked outside in the yard until the owner came to collect it. A friend of mine was Chairman of the local Triumph Sports Car Club and he owned one but told me they were rubbish cars.

    Like 2
  5. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    I bought a white TR7 convertible from a mechanic in late 80s, he had done a head job and owner didn’t pay. It was a pretty fast car and fun to drive, until one day it dropped a valve. I have a parts car TR7 with my project TR8, a retirement project that will never get done LOL.

    Like 0
  6. LynnMember

    There is a reason that u don’t see them on the road. They fell apart!!!!!

    Like 1
  7. mike

    I sold them New…. Lot of em..never made it home the first day… absolute junk..
    this could be 25,000 miles very easily.. most of them dont even run that long..
    to be 125,000 miles…. that would be a WORLD RECORD…

    Like 3
  8. LynnMember

    I should have know the first night I drove the car. The throttle cable fell off while doing 60 mph on the interstate

    Like 1
  9. Mike

    I dont doubt it a bit Lynn… I sold one and the customer wanted to drive it off the
    showroom floor… it started up.. but wouldnt move.. the clutch went out.. He was
    a friend of mine..and I warned him not to buy one.. but he HAD to have it.. all he
    said was.. call me when its fixed… he was towed in at least six times in the first two months.. finally came in with his tail between his legs..and said.. I need a car thats dependable..Im a salesman…so.. he trade it off before he made the second payment

    Like 1

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