The Triumph TRs – Triumph TR7/TR8

In 1975 Triumph introduced Triumph TR7 as the successor to the Triumph TR6.  The design of the Triumph TR7 was radically different that the previous Triumph TR cars.  At that time the Triumph TR7 was introduced as the shape of things to come.

Triumph TR7 – The Shape Of This To Come

This was quite a different English sports car – you could even get an automatic transmission!  It took Triumph owners some time to get used to the less square look that the previous Triumph TR designs had.  It might be accurate to say that Triumph enthusiasts still have not accepted this change.  This can be seen in the current marketplace where Triumph TR7s commonly sell for considerably less than a Triumph TR6 in similar condition.

Rear Quarter View of the Triumph TR7

The Triumph TR7 is a frequently overlooked car when someone is looking for a driveable sports car.  I don’t have too many problems with the exterior styling of the Triumph TR7, but some of the interiors that were available take some getting used to.  Triumph must have hired the same person that designed the tartan seat covers for the Lotus Espirt.  It seems that in one fell swoop that Triumph went from having one of the nicer interiors in the TR4/TR250/TR6 to having one of the worst in the Triumph TR7.

Note the Tartan Seat Pattern in the TR7 Interior

The Triumph TR7 was available in both a hardtop and a convertible, however in the USA, the Triumph TR7 was only available as a hardtop from 1975 to 1979.  The convertible model was only available in 1980 and 1981.

Most of the Triumph TR7 Cars Were Coupes

In the USA, the TR7 engine is a 1,998cc 4-cylinder single overhead camshaft with 2 Stromberg carburetors that produced 92 horsepower.  This horsepower rating was 14 horsepower less than the horsepower of the USA model TR6.  The TR7 cars that sold outside of the USA had 105 horsepower due to less stringent pollutant requirements.  In the USA the 0 – 60 mph time for the TR7 was 11.3 seconds, while the earlier TR6 would reach 60 in 10.7 seconds.  The non-USA Triumph TR7 had a 0 – 60 mph time of 9.1 seconds, more than 2 seconds faster than the USA version!

The Triumph TR7 Engine

The Triumph TR7 engine was interesting in that it was oriented at 45 degrees.  In addition, this engine had been used by Saab in the early Saab 99 cars.  When it was used by Saab the displacement was 1,709cc, but Triumph bored the cylinders a little to bring the TR7 engine displacement up to 1,998cc.

In 1980 Triumph introduced the Triumph TR8 which had the 215 cubic inch (3.5 litre) Rover V8 engine that produced 133 horsepower in 1980 when fitted with two Stromberg carburetors or 137 horsepower when fitted with Bosch fuel injection as in 1981.

The Triumph TR8 3.5 Litre V8 Fuel Injected Engine

The Triumph TR8 was quite an improvement in performance over the Triumph TR7.  The Triumph TR8 has a 0 – 60 mph time of about 8.5 seconds.  For price comparison, the 1980 Triumph TR7 Coupe sold for $8,465, while the Triumph TR8 Coupe sold for $11,150.

The Triumph TR8 Visually is the Same as the Triumph TR7

There were many more TR7 cars sold that the TR8 model, but the Triumph TR8 is quite a desirable car.

The Decals on the Back of this TR8 Help to Identify the Model

The Triumph TR7 was rallied with both the 4-cylinder and V8 engines.  In the World Rally Championship it was not a particularly successful car.  I was only able to find the following top five finishes:

1977 – John Buffum/Vickie: 4th, Criterium Molson de Quebec

1978 – Jean-Paul Perusse/Louis Belanger: 5th, Criterium Molson de Quebec

1978 – Tony Pond/Fred Gallagher, 4th, Lombard RAC Rally

1980 – Per Eklund/Hans Sylvan, 3rd, Rally of 1000 Lakes

Buffum’s and Perusse’s cars were TR7 models while the European cars of Eklund’s and Pond’s had the V8 engine.

Per Eklund’s Triumph TR7 at the 1979 San Remo Rally

Per Eklund Finished 3rd at the 1980 1000 Lakes Rally

In the United States, the Triumph TR7 was rallied very successfully by John Buffum.  For a very complete account of John Buffum’s success in 1977 click on the following Triumph Sports Owners Association December 1977 newsletter:

TSOA Dec77 Newsletter

In summary, the Triumph TR7 and to some extent, the Triumph TR8 cars are under appreciated, but they seem to be good cars for someone who is looking for a good, driveable sports car.

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1 Response to The Triumph TRs – Triumph TR7/TR8

  1. Dave Smith says:

    Wow! The blue one pictured was just like my first car back in 1988. That car was so fun to drive. A middle aged gentleman offered me $5K for my car. I thought he was joking but he wasn’t. Anyway, I kept the car for 4 years and received double what was paid for it. All’s well that ends well. Great starter or hobby car. It’s British, it will break. Have patience. The drive is worth it

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