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Triumph TR7, Copyright of Jacob Frey, Flickr

Triumph TR7 (1975-1981)

The Triumph TR7 was the last of the Great British Roadsters
Triumph’s new sports car at time was indeed a move in a different direction when it came to the traditions of the TR line. Primarily this wasn’t a roadster, not yet anyway.

This coupe was launched in 1975 for the U.S market as Triumph and MG had already seen success across the pond with the TR6, the Spitfire, MG Midget and also the MGB. It seemed America was the place to sell the TR7, and Triumph had prepared and designed their new sports coupe to meet the strict crash regulations and emission laws in the States. The TR7 is known for a strong chassis and impact absorbing bumpers, as well as extensive anti smog equipment which hampered performance somewhat.

In 1976, just over a year later the Triumph TR7 went on sale in the UK with European restyled bumpers and not so restricted engine confinements making the TR7 more powerful than the American version.

The overall design of the TR7 was initially met with some reservation, although the free thinkers amongst the buying public saw this coupe as an innovative bold design for the future.

Of course many TR enthusiasts wanted to see a roadster made, and in 1980 Triumph released a convertible version to the approval of the British press. This new model was indeed a success and certainly impressed the purists as well as the buying public.

Today it joins the ranks of the TR line, and is indeed an appreciating classic with values higher than indicated in current price guides.

A BUYERS GUIDE

The much maligned wedge has had more than its fair share of critics over the last 40 years, and up until more recent times had fallen down the route of most humdrum seventies British cars. However, the tide has most definitely turned, with a greater appreciation for these iconic little sports cars now becoming more evident as values start to rise.

The beauty of the TR7 is its modern design and construction for its time, making it relatively simple to work on when it comes to maintenance.

Early models tend to lack the build quality of the later ones so be mindful when you look around. Obviously with most cars of this era, rust is the big issue so it would be sensible to check the entire car for signs. Start at the front, as nose panels and bonnets rot, and work your way back checking the front sub frame, sills and wheel arches as you go.

Don’t forget the usual water traps such as under carpets and the spare wheel well.

The later models benefitted from a stronger five speed gear box, which also made motorway driving more fuel efficient than the original four speed; don’t expect a totally smooth gear change from either as they are a little “notchy” by nature.

The TR7 has a chain driven engine which is hard wearing, nevertheless listen out, as if it’s too noisy it might be time to change it. Check everything electrical to make sure it’s all in working order, especially those pop up lights.

INTERESTING FACT

During the development of the Triumph TR7 it went under the secret codename “Bullet”, although these days its less glamorous nickname is the “Wedge”. The original prototype model was actually badged as an MG. This was because it was built in Longbridge, which wasn’t Triumphs factory.

Mark Wilkinson (Managing Partner of Heritage Classic Car Insurance) says

“The initial reaction to the Triumph TR7 was one of bewilderment. After all TR stands for Triumph Roadster and the launch model was a coupe. Be that as it may Triumphs forward thinking created a real individual statement of the times. When all roadsters/coupes were starting to look dated, Triumph managed to re-ignite the passion of these cars with aerodynamic lines ahead of their time. Well done Triumph!”

INSURING A Triumph TR7 (1975-1981)

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