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Under Wraps 28 Years: 1977 Triumph TR7

When introduced in 1975, the TR7 was advertised as “the shape of things to come.” That boast was a nod to the car’s wedge-shaped appearance, a departure from the TR6 which many consider the last of the volume-produced traditional British roadsters. The cars would be built through 1981, with more than 115,000 copies produced overall. This ’77 edition has been laid up for 28 years and has some rust issues, especially the driver’s side front fender. But it has a sunroof, which may have been dealer-installed. Located in a garage in Carroll, Iowa, this British project is available here on craigslist for $2,500. Another nod to Gunter Kramer for the tip!

The TR7 sports car was a product of British Leyland and built in the U.K. It first debuted to the American market more than a year before it was available for consumption in England. Early TR7s were known to have quality control problems (a friend of mine had a ’75 and it gave him trouble) that supposedly were worked out as production and time went on. Rumor has it that these cars were not the savior that British Leyland had hoped for, so production lasted just seven years.

As the seller says this car retains its original drivetrain at 85,000 miles, the engine would be a 1,998-cc eight-valve, overhead cam four-cylinder unit. It was said to produce 92 hp in the U.S. The car is rear-wheel drive and has the optional 5-speed manual gearbox that Triumph offered. We’re told the TR7 was last started as recently as two years ago, but its long-term dormancy suggests a lot of work will be needed under the bonnet.

The car is painted two-tone brown and bronze, with a division line running the length of the body. Besides replacing the front fender, we’re not sure what else might be required with the body. And the photos are too dark to fully assess the condition of the interior. My friends have always told me that when restoring a British sports car, you should always start with the best one available. Does this one qualify for that?

Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    I am old enough to remember the slogan “the shape of things to come”. It’s one of those slogans that I quickly turned it around in my head to mean something negative and derogatory. The same way I thought of Renault’s slogan in the early 80’s as “the one to watch”. Yea, I watched them go down the tubes in the US market. Just like Triumph in the US market as well as the world. All the blunders of the British Leland group largely stemming from mismanagement of the company. I like the Triumph cars that came before the TR7. The TR6 being my favorite or a Dolomite Sprint.

    Like 4
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    After seeing the rusty front fender,I run as fast as
    I could,in the opposite direction.

    Like 3
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Maybe get the “pay to haul it off” guy to pick it up on his way to pick up the Suburban.

    Like 5
  4. ricky

    I owned a 1977 TR7 back in the day. Never again.

    Like 4
  5. Michelle Rand Staff

    Triumph did offer a sunroof as a “factory” option but most likely the fitting was farmed out to specialists. Specialists were Britax or Webasto. Rimmer has some parts. Webasto is around. The Speke factory was responsible for the production of this car until BL had had enough and closed Speke to move to Canley. Speke made an art out of labor strife. Possibly nothing good ever came off the line from there. So if you have an “A” prefix in your VIN, get ready for some rebuilding. Canley cars were built 1978 and after. The TR8 is a great car, I am not sure I would own even a good TR7.

    Like 4
  6. Lynn Dockey Member

    I owned a 79 that rebadged as an 80. Believe me the later cars did not have the bugs fixed. Biggest pile of junk ever. First day I had it the throttle cable fell off. All downhill from there. My bid is $2.50

    Like 1
  7. Howie

    Very dark photos, sunlight would make it look even worse!!

    Like 2
  8. ClassicCarFan

    I’d agree with Michelle… early, 4-speed, Speke-built, hard-top-only versions are pretty undesirable. build quality got progressive better with move from Speke to Canley, and ultimately to Rover’s Solihul pant at the end. Late, 5-speed, (esp convertible) TR7 were finally quite decent cars, and as noted, the few TR8s that were built were very good.

    Today, the TR7 is quite a bargain and if you are not too much of a snob…. a good starter classic. They will always suffer from the syndrome of “not being a TR6, 5, 4, 3 and 2” as they were a radical departure from the earlier evolutionary series. in the same sort of way that the XJS was always handicapped by “not being an E-type” so undermining the fact that it was a pretty fine exotic V12 150-mph grand tourer in its own right.

    The eighties wedge styling is not for everyone.

    Like 2
  9. Arthur S. Brown

    I do know that the intact drivetrain of a 2 L SOHC pinto will slip in unmodified. Yo do not even have to shorten the drive shaft if I recall, and the rear axle spring perches line up and bot onto the Triumph rear leaf springs. It solves ALL the problems with the drive train of this car. The rust, the electrics, etc. are for you to hash out but the pinto 7 was even faster than the original.

  10. DA

    The vehicle isn’t worth .25 against what it would need to bring it back to what it was – which wasn’t much in the first place. Ugly and Unreliable – a U2.

  11. ricky

    When I purchased my 77 TR7 in 1980, I wanted to like it. I washed it, tuned it up, kept it inside, drove it caringly. I really liked the wedge design and the interior was stylish and comfortable. But the romance didn’t last long. It began to leave me stranded time after time. I replaced everything I could think of that might be the problem. I enlisted the aid of my friend who was an aircraft AP. The car continued to be unreliable. Yes, when it ran it was a fun car. But those times proved to be rare. Eventually it blew a head gasket. Warped the head in the process while the gauge continued to show normal temp. Finally let it go, a flight tech hauled it home on a trailer. I informed him of the problems I had encountered but the wedge bug had bitten him. I moved on to Fiat X1/9’s which actually were more reliable.

    Like 1
  12. mike

    My nephew had one when he was a student at kansas university.He had nothing but trouble with the electrical system.No mechanic in lawrence ks was able to repair it.It was terrible mechanically.

  13. Lynn Dockey Member

    Majority of us don’t want anything to do with another one

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