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RE: MGB vs. TR7 as son's first car

To: patti morris <>
Subject: RE: MGB vs. TR7 as son's first car
From: Chris Delling <>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 10:23:17 -0500

I would agree with your perception that the early TR7's did suffer from
terrible quality and workmanship.  1977 and 1978 model TR7's are
acknowledged as being amongst the poorest quality cars ever built anywhere.
 They also featured a very thrashy, poorly designed 4-speed tranny.

With the move of the production to new facilities (without labor relations
problems that plagued the original facility), the introduction of the 5
speed tranny, and the roadster body, these cars became very good all-around
cars, albeit with "modern styling", that remains a subject of debate.

I still prefer the MGB for a number of reasons.  However, I do believe that
the later TR7 convertibles are every bit as much a sports car as the MGB,
and with their modern suspensions, and more powerful motors, are very
capable, comfortable cars. 



At 06:37 PM 12/28/97 -0600, you wrote:
>Hi Brian,
>I saw your posting needing knowledge of the TR7. I've held my tongue during 
>the last TR7 thread but if you considering one I have to speak out.
>Back in college, and this was between 1976 - 80, I was working part time at 
>small foreign car repair shop in Indiana. We worked on lots of MGs and 
>Triumphs of all years Since the nearest dealer was over 60 miles away in 
>Indianapolis, we did work on many cars that were pretty new.
>The MGB is a good British sports car. There are none better. It has a 
>strong drive train and is simple to work on. Properly maintained, it is 
>very reliable in spite of the battle stories you read here. It's downfall 
>these days is that the newest examples are now nearly 20 years old. Rust is 
>it's enemy. The older chrome bumper cars were a little less complicated 
>than the later ones if you have a choice.
>Triumphs in general are also fine cars. I thought the TR6 in particular was 
>nice but I never owned one. The TR7 on the other hand was junk even when 
>new. The cars I saw were very low milage. There were all sorts of little 
>problems that made them difficult to work on. An example is one I went to 
>set the timing on and found the distributor body siezed in the block due to 
>corrosion. The sun roofs leaked. Paint flaked off the headlamp covers. The 
>Lucas electronic ignition had a fault that would shut down the car (though 
>the MGs were also having the same trouble). Those are just the problems I 
>recall. Besides being ugly, the car felt (and was) cheap.
>There was a small TR7 club in town at that time. They took a trip to Brown 
>County, Indiana which was about a 150 mile round trip. 14 TR7s set out 8 
>returned under their own power. These were almost NEW cars! I think this 
>incident more than anything set my opinion. I have to doubt ANY TR7 has 
>actually improved with age.
>I will now go back over here and lurk in my dark corner.
>John Morris
>From:  John McEwen[]
>Sent:  Sunday, December 28, 1997 11:03 AM
>To:    Brian Furgalus
>Subject:       Re: MGB vs. TR7 as son's first car
>>I subscribed to this list in an effort to gain some more knowledge of the
>>TR7.  It has always been my understanding that the MGB is a much more
>>reliable means of transport.  I couldn't possibly afford to get him a TR8,
>>they're quite expensive here.  So, I guess my question is, which one is
>>better for a young driver?  Which is more practical?  Easier to work on?
>>More fun???  Thanks!
>>         Brian Furgalus,
>>         Avon Lake, Ohio (Suburb of Cleveland)
>>Get free e-mail and a permanent address at
>Hi Brian:
>I own an MGB and have recently purchased a TR7 Coupe and am doing a
>continuing comparison report on the MG list which I am copying this message
>The two cars are a bit like apples and oranges.  The MGB is a traditional
>British sports car with all the quirks and foibles associated with its
>Lucas electrics and archaic engine and suspension.  It can be very reliable
>if properly maintained and is a very satisfying car to own and drive.
>All MGBs are relatively simple to maintain and restore.  They will teach a
>young man - with proper guidance from an interested and knowledgable parent
>- the art of maintaining and repairing machinery.  They will give him an
>intimate understanding of the functions on an internal combustion engine
>and the associated bits that surround it.  MGs will also teach him
>patience, manual dexterity and basic engineering principles.  They will
>teach him to be resourceful and to have faith in his own ability.
>MGs are an excellent choice in terms of the availability of replacement
>parts and reproduction pieces of all sorts.  They have adequate power and
>decent handling so that he shouldn't endanger himself due to inexperience
>behind the wheel.  They have also proven themselves to be quite stout in
>case of mishap - for an open car.
>They are comfortable and roomy and quite weather tight if the top is in
>good shape.  The trunk is adequate for most things and space behind the
>seats when the top is up will hold a good deal of gear.
>The TR7 coupe is a much more modern car internally and externally.  The
>construction is more modern and the coupe is tighter to the weather.  It
>has a better heating and ventilation system than the MG, with a powerful
>fan and good internal ventilation system.  The interior is quite
>comforatable with good seats and good driving position.  The dashboard is
>very modern-looking with lots of plastic panels, useful storage bins, and
>well laid-out instruments and controls.  It has a large glove compartment
>and console cubby.  Both cars use similar multi-stalks to operate lighting
>and wipers.  The TR7 has no room behind the seats but does have a large bin
>under the rear window - which is heated.  The windshield is very large and
>offers excellent visibility.
>The TR7 uses a Saab-derived OHC cam slant four of 2 litre displacement
>which runs very smoothly and makes good power.  It uses a mechanical fuel
>pump which is a real improvement over the Lucas electric version in the
>MGB.  The engine is generally very accessible and easy to work on -
>especially because of the forward-opening hood on the car.  The engine uses
>Stromberg carburetors which are less desirable than the SUs on the MG but
>probably do a more efficient job of mixing fuel  Gas mileage in the TR is
>better than the MG by about 3 mpg in average city driving.
>The suspension of the TR is much more sophisticated and modern than the MG.
>It uses Macpherson struts instead of coils with lever shocks.  These are
>cheaper and easier to replace than the equivalent MG bits.  In the rear,
>the axle is better anchored and uses modern tubular shocks.  The TR rides
>and handles better than the MG but requires a bit more skill at higher
>cornering speeds.  The TR is a faster car and has better acceleration but
>this is not unusual for a larger engine.  The TR also revs much higer than
>the MG with its 7,000rpm redline.  It has excellent brakes which are power
>assisted unlike the earlier MGs.  It is much less demanding to drive a TR
>than an MG.
>The TR has an inferior transmission - until the addition of the Rover
>5-speed in later cars.  The early transmission is an Austin Marina unit
>which was not up to the work demanded of it.  It is difficult to shift well
>and the clutch is difficult to operate smoothly.  Part of the trouble lies
>in engine and transmission mounts and support rods.  The differential was
>also inferior to the job at hand and was subsequently replaced in later
>model.  The car is noisy inside as a result of these poor pieces and the
>noise is amplified by poor or absent sound deadening material.
>The styling of the two cars is very different.  The MG is classic roadster
>while the TR is '70s Japanese.  Most people hate the wedge.  The advantage
>is that the droop snoot is very easy to see over and the high rear gives
>incredible storage space.  The car has a big trunk for a sports car.  The
>ugly bumpers are very forgiving in the parking lot shunt and aren't much
>uglier than rubber-bumper MGs.
>Pricewise, the TR (especially the coupe) will be cheap and the MG
>relatively expensive.  The TR will have more expensive parts, and they will
>be less easy to find, but the bonus is that you will find TRs in junkyards
>where you won't find MGs.
>My recommendation is simple.  Don't buy the kid a sports car at all.  Buy
>him a rusty, full-size Chev pickup truck.  When he has his accident - and
>he will - he will walk away.  He'll probably even drive away, which is more
>than the car he hits - or hits him - will be able to do.  When he has
>driven successfully for two years, let him go out with you and buy the car
>he likes.  You'll sleep at night and he will appreciate what he has.  Keep
>the pickup.  You'll both use it for the rest of your lives.
>John McEwen

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