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Same Owner 30 Years: 1980 Triumph TR7

The Triumph TR7 is a sports car built in the UK by Triumph and its successors from 1975-82. The car is characterized by the “wedge” shape and swage line sweeping down from the rear wing to just behind the front wheel. Advertising of the day referred to the car as “the shape of things to come.” This 1980 edition in convertible form looks like a nice survivor and its second owner has had it for 30 years. Located in Burnsville, Minnesota, this TR7 is available here on craigslist for $7,500.

During its development phase, the TR7  had the code name “Bullet” which was befitting of its unusual but aerodynamic shape. Rover-Triumph was a division of the British Leyland Motor Corporation and they had high hopes for the car when it debuted. Initial demand for the TR7 was so high in the U.S. and that it delayed entrance into the home market on at least two occasions. The sports car was powered by a 1998 cc 8-valve, 4-cylinder engine that produced 92 hp when set up for the U.S. market.

This 1980 edition has had just two owners in the last 41 years, with the seller in possession for three decades. It looks to be in great condition, although you can see a little chipping in the paint on the pop-up headlights. The car has seen more than its fair share of use at 131,000 miles, yet everything looks like a less traveled automobile. The convertible top is good and the houndstooth pattern on the upholstery has held up well.

The seller has done some recent work on the car, such as new tires and brakes and the car runs well with no leaks. NADA concludes that the top dollar for one of these cars is about twice that of the seller’s asking price. Though more than 143,000 of them would be built over eight model years, early quality problems undermined the car’s reputation. That improved over time and later editions, like the seller’s car, are considered more reliable.


  1. Jeffry R Harris

    Not to Nitpick, but the interior is plaid not houndstooth, very nice car always have liked them but especally the TR8

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  2. Howie Mueler

    Not too bad, no engine photos and ugly plaid interior.

    Like 1
  3. Healeymonster

    Back in the eighties I worked wrenching in my uncle’s foreign car dealership. My uncle would go every Wednesday to the Bay Cities auto auction when it was still in Fremont Ca. One day I had to pick up one of his purchases from the auction. To this day that 1980 “Shape of things to come” TR7 has to be the worst car he ever bought. It looked beautiful to the eyes, but every wheel bearing, the transmission and diff all made grinding noises. How could so many seperate items all go bad? There is a saying..”Not all cars at auction are bad, but all bad cars go to the auction!” We sent this one back!.

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  4. Coach

    The ad says 31k miles not 131k, seems like a steal to me with the lower miles….

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    • wuzjeepnowsaab

      It says the odo’s rolled over

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      • Coach

        Missed THAT!!!

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      • Howie Mueler

        In the actual Craig’s List ad it says twice that it is only 31,000 miles. Only here it says 131,000 miles.

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      • wuzjeepnowsaab

        @Howie Mueler, in the info boxes on the right side of the ad it says rolled over

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  5. MoragaPulsar

    Yes, the looks and expectations far exceeded the delivery of the TR7. Very high beltline, terrible steering response with the quality feel and finesse of a forklift, maybe less. A few beautiful TR6s have been shown here recently. I never had the opportunity to drive one, but would love to hear the opinions of those people who have driven or owned both the TR6 nd TR7 (or TR8).

    Like 1
    • Richard S Sikes

      In the late 1980’s I had the dis-pleasure to own one pristine white TR-6 and over the next couple of years, a couple of TR-7’s. The TR-6 was the car to get noticed in! it was a cream puff and every time I stopped to get gas, someone would want to look at it. Unfortunately, after owning Fiats, Alfas and Porsches, I was disappointed in performance, but mainly handling. The cost to replace the suspension system and upgrade, was astronomical. So I sold it for a tidy profit. Then the two TR-7’s were even a much bigger disappointment. I questioned how a civilized people such as the Britts could produce such an awful piece of machinery. I have owned late 70’s MOPARS that were terrible in quality, but still head and shoulders above the TR-7. Everything broke down. I walked down the road from sudden break-downs in these two more that I can count. They were also slow and handled worse than an old Valiant. I lost a little money and was so happy to say ‘good riddance.”

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    • Paul T Root

      I had one for 3 years in the 80s. It was pretty good, a little work on the rack and Pinon and it did fine. Gas stations didn’t want to deal with the ZS carbs so would play many tricks to pass California smog.
      The 5 speed was pretty awful. My blew up o. The San Diego freeway in Aniheim. Replacing it was pretty easy, though.

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  6. Michael B B Nicolella

    I have a 1980 TR 7 drop top. About 60,000 miles. The car is better than its reputation and I’ve grown to like it. Fairly reliable, good looking, and a decent drive. I don’t have big dollars in this thing and it isn’t worth all that much but it is easy to work on and is adequately speedy. I am saving money for a TR 8 which I think with some mods would be a really good car..

    Like 1
  7. Howard Kerr

    I am NOT trying to sound hateful but ” houndstooth pattern ” upholstery? This car has PLAID upholstery.
    A long time ago I owned a 60 TR3 and a 72 Spitfire and rode in a co-worker’s TR6, all fairly decent cars. I like the 7s and 8s, though never drove one. My only reason for still wanting to own one is curiosity. It seems like ALL of the Triumphs were eventually electrical problem children.

    Like 0
  8. Mark Member

    I have owned both the TR7 and TR6 and driven the TR8. I actually acquired the TR7 first. The TR6 was the better “sports car” by far but the TR8 was close.

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  9. bobhess bobhess Member

    You have to grind up a whole bunch of hounds teeth to make any upholstery. Terrible mess the Brits made of the English language, and these cars. They had the chance to do something special and didn’t do it.

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  10. Mike Cobb

    I owned a 1980 model TR-7. Hardtop w/sunroof that leaked every time it rained and filled the package try behind the seats. Ignition system was trash from the start. Car looked interesting but couldn’t get out of it’s own way. Slower than molasses in January. I’d own a Triumph again, but it would have to be a TR-6.

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  11. wuzjeepnowsaab

    I will never understand why people will go through the work of listing a car for sale, taking pictures and uploading them, and miss such a no-brainer thing like open the dang hood to take a picture of the engine bay

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  12. Howie Mueler

    @ Wuzjeepnowsaab Yes i see that now, but also on the left it says 31,000 actual miles.

    Like 0

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