Wedged in Place for 30 Years! 1981 Triumph TR8

If one car was designed to drive a wedge between English sports cars of the past and those of the future, it had to be the door stop-shaped Triumph TR7, and the V8-powered derivative the TR8. This 1981 Triumph TR8 in Indianapolis, Indiana comes to market after 30 years in a barn belonging to the second owner’s parents. The seller drove the lightweight ragtop to this position in 1991 to shelter it from an approaching winter, and it hasn’t moved since. Thoughts of a restoration faded and now it can be yours with a high bid here on eBay. Eight bidders have rose to the occasion, surpassing $8000 so far.

Called “The Shape of Things to Come,” the TR7 and TR8 couldn’t look more different from Triumphs through the TR6 if it had come from another planet. This British-sold TR8 came back to the colonies in the hands of its original owner, an American Air Force Colonel.The Colonel drove it until 1984 or 1985 then sold it to the second owner, and you could well be the third to enjoy one of the few British cars of this type fitted with a V8.

Though described as a six-speed manual transmission, it is almost certainly a five-speed as fitted originally. Barn storage hasn’t done the interior any favors, but I’ll take my chances with this one over any convertible stored outside for three decades. Most of the crime scene decor may well come up to snuff up with gentle cleaning.

Sadly this is as close as we get to seeing the all-aluminum Rover V8, which ironically began life as a General Motors powerplant for Buick’s 1961 model year, according to Wikipedia. This version made 148 HP, and only 352 were produced in 1981, making this quite an interesting find. Some UK models used carburetors while American versions came with fuel injection. It’s often possible to order a US-spec car for delivery in Europe, and it would be interesting to know which induction system lies beneath the hood. Would you take a gamble on restoring this wedge-shaped drop-top?


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  1. DayDreamBeliever Member

    Your eBay link leads to an info page about the TR8, not to the auction itself.

    That’d be here:

    Like 4
    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Fixed. Thank you DayDreamBeliever!

      Like 2
      • Allen L

        If you had used the “w” word one more time, we’d have to have given you a wedgie.

        Like 8
  2. Rodney - GSM

    I could say this car gives me a severe wedgie. But I won’t, well, maybe…

    Like 1
  3. Todd Fitch Staff

    Allen L – lol – True; I should have substituted “portable inclined plane” at least once. Happy Motoring!

    Like 6
  4. Gary

    Why would you park a ten year old convertible? What caused that to happen? I can only assume a potentially expensive repair. Beyond that, It had bad family memories associated with it.

    Like 3
  5. Cadmanls Member

    Oh my that is not a climate controlled barn, doesn’t look as it provided a whole lot of protection. Bet the mice enjoyed the car. Maybe should have driven it that winter.

    Like 2
  6. bill tebbutt

    These cars, when not rusty, are fantastic and extremely tunable. I am surprised the price is as high as it is, given the work that may be required on this one. I *think* you can get a well-loved and great shape one in the mid-teens, so this one seems pricey to me……

    And you’ll recall the TR7 slogan when they came out : “The Shape of Things to Come”


    Like 5
  7. sir_mike

    Wedged in place…Ha Ha

    Like 2
  8. Cman

    I worked as a mechanic at the British Leyland/ Jaguar dealer when these were new. We had several brand new ones on the lot when they were already two years old. Hard to sell then. Horrible build quality. Had to repair lots of items before they could eventually be sold at steep discounts. Trim and fitment issues, engine misfires. I doubt they have improved with time. I’m suppose that someone with the right skills and passion could make something of it.

    Like 6
  9. Murdock

    The original flying door stop.

    Like 2
  10. Howie Mueler

    $8,100 for this?? I must be missing something.

    Like 1
  11. Bigbird

    I had a TR7, the TR8 was considered the one to get. The only wedge these cars had was between you and your wallet, good lord the parts were expensive. Still there are clubs still going that support them. Good luck on this one….

    Like 1
  12. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Over 8K for this POS? Someone is messing with the bidding on this one.

  13. Michael Gregory

    I always wanted a Triumph, but never had the wallet to match the needs. I can still remember when the TR7s were fairly new my dad and I were following one down the street when sparks started flying out from under the car. It was the drive shaft, which had fallen out of the transmission and was busy trying to bring the car to a full stop by digging into the pavement.

    Like 1
  14. Gary

    A LS and a six speed will fix most of the mechanical issues, a Painless Wiring harness for the British electrical gremlins.

    Like 3

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