Buyers guide
TR7/TR8 Buyer's Guide
This Buyer's Guide may be a bit dated but there are still a lot of relevant points so I've included it here. It's also a relic, taken from the original WWWedge site ca. 1995. You should also know that there are other sites with Buyer's Guides. For example, one I've been recently been made aware of is on the WaringstownTR7s site. There may be others. Hunt around and good luck!
The TR7 engine is an 95 hp iron block, aluminium head 2L straight-4 matched to 4 & 5 speed trans. Top speeds are around 110 mph, 0-60 in 11 sec.
Automatic transmissions were available from 1979 until the end of production for both the TR7 and the TR8.
Fixed head TR7's were manufactured from 1975-1980. Prices generally range from $500-$7000
Convertible TR7's were manufactured from 1979-1981. Prices generally range from $1000-$6000
The TR8 (aka TR7 V8) generally available in the US only. These are the most desirable examples of this style. Upgrades include a lightweight aluminum 135 bhp 3.5L Rover/Buick V8, enhanced brakes/cooling and suspension. Top speeds ~135 mph, 0-60 in 8.4 sec. Most had 5-speed transmissions. Prices range from $5K-$14K.
There are about 150 or so prototype TR8 coupes that were imported to the USA in 1978/79. None of those cars were sold as new, although most were, in fact, eventually sold off as used cars. A good portion of the prototypes had automatic gearboxes.
TR8's were sold in Europe and Canada, although not in large numbers. 90% of all TR8 production came to the USA. Of the total TR8 production, roughly 4 out of 5 TR8's are 1980 models.
Approximately 20-25% of total TR8 production had standard Bosch L-Jetronic Fuel Injection. The computer (ECU) on the TR8 is Lucas and can be trouble. The fuel injected TR7s have Bosch ECUs. Parts are readily available.
The TR7 straight-4 engine is not one of the finest that Triumph ever made. Bottom half is cast iron, top half aluminium. Early models experienced problems with warped heads, head gasket trouble, etc.
Many TR7/8's are prone to electrical problems (usually lousy switches and the like).
Early TR7's have a rather tarnished reputation due to quality control problems. Things seem to have improved after 1979.
Braking distance was never a high point with either the TR7's or TR8's.
Despite the bad reputation, the TR7 can be a good car with proper maintenance and attention.
Try to find a TR8 :-)
Avoid the 4-speed transmission at all costs (75-76)
Avoid TR7's with the outline TR7 decals (75-77?)
Avoid early 7's if possible (see 2 and 3) (75-77)
The later the better (80-81 the best)
Convertibles were made during the best years (79-81)
The TR8 alloy wheels appeared on some later TR-7's. The TR7 Spider edition had a special version of the TR8 alloy wheel and were painted a brighter silver.
Much of the interior and some engine stuff is plastic. Watch for damage.
Make sure that the electrics work. Dipping headlights are expensive to replace.
Check wheel wells for damage.
Many 7-8's have had their front air dams ripped off. Check dam mounts and bottom of radiator for damage.
Check the rear suspension carefully for damage.
7's were prone to overheating. Watch for warped head: (White exhaust smoke, low compression, contaminated oil)
Make sure the original emissions equip is still there. Replacement is expen$ive
TR7 - Classic Choice
The following is excerpted from an article in the August 1990 issue of Thoroughbred & Classic Cars titled "TR7 - Classic Choice", written by Graham Robson. I've sent the entire article (with pictures) to David Huddleson for possible future publication in the TR8CCA newsletter. Thoroughbred & Classic Cars is the American name for the British magazine Classic Cars.
What to look for
Although the TR7 has been out of production for nine years, we have not heard of a restoration specialist. Enthusiasts must rely on Rover dealerships for parts supply, and on fading memories for restoration expertise.
Charles Golding of Dennis Golding Motor Engineers, Chingford (tel. 081-529-7979) not only used to run the workshop at the old Triumph-London service centre on Western Avenue, but has rallied an ex-works TR8 and has worked on many other TR7s in the past few years. His TR7 experience is both good, and bad...
" Except in isolated areas, the TR7/TR8 monocoque structure seems to last well, until rust takes hold in several important places. Coupes and convertibles have a similar corrosion record and there are some awfully rotten TR7s about these days, since the oldest UK market examples are nearly 15 years old. Although the whole car is susceptible to rust when it gets older - none of the shell is galvanized, or treated with ultra-efficient corrosion proofing material - the worst visible area of the shell is the seam at the rear wing/sill junction; it's external, and open, and can rot right through.
The biggest potential structure problem is where the rear suspension trailing arms pivot from the underside of the floor; at this point there is flexure, which tends to rot. To spot corrosion signs slide the seats forward, lift up the carpets and look at the floorpan from inside the car. Dennis has actually seen this section pulling out of the floor. The semi-trailing arm locations, on the other hand, are higher and better protected, and rarely give trouble.
More potential trouble spots are the front suspension turrets, which are heavily stressed, and the front and rear wings (inner *and* outer, where there are water and filth traps). But here's a cautionary comment - not only do rear wings rot, along with the inner panels, but replacement parts are no longer available from factory sources. The headlamp pods are cast aluminium and regularly shed their paint.
The panel at the base of the screen, when removed, exposes a water trap which may have attacked the whole of the bulkhead. The bonnet and boot panels, where double-skinned, can start to blister through. Any car offered with filler at the corners can be hiding real trouble elsewhere.
The entire front suspension and steering is supported by a sturdy sub-frame, which looks expensive. Unlike those fitted to Minis, however, these seeem to be very robust and should not have gone seriously rusty."
Original authors (ca. 1994): Lawrence and Tim Buja
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