The Wedge – 1980 Triumph TR7 Roadster

“What an attractive little sports car”, said nobody ever about the Triumph TR7. Which is sad really, since Triumph’s last gasp in the US is, with the benefit of hindsight, quite a handsome thing. Following the wedge look of such high-end sports cars as the Lotus Esprit and Lamborghini Countach, and moving Triumph out of the world of sixties roadsters and into what sportscars of the 1980s would be, it was doomed the way much of the world of British Leyland was. Whether you side with labour or management, there’s no denying the ultimate outcome – non-luxury British cars were not sold in the US after 1981, and only reappeared in the form of the BMiniW in 2001. You can find this last-of-breed 1980 Triumph TR7 for sale somewhere in Pennsylvania for $3900.

1980 Triumph TR7 left front

Fortunately, this dark red is a more timeless, elegant color than some of the other hues offered at the time, many of which resembled things you’d find in a baby’s diaper, or for that matter, kitchen appliances of the same period. This car looks particularly straight, with the neat Triumph wreath decal on the nose and steel wheels with beauty rings. When you do see one of these, they’re almost always stock – why is that? Yes, there’s enough room to drop in some kind of V8, and that’s been done, but what about modifying the Triumph lump? The 16-valve Sprint was planned – is it too complicated to replicate that with bits from a Dolomite Sprint? Do *any* Saab bits cross over?

1980 Triumph TR7 interior

Inside and out, the car was so vastly modern compared to its forebears, it’s no surprise Triumph lovers had a hard time accepting it. This design could have survived much of the 1980s untouched and still seemed contemporary. Inside this car, everything looks straight and clean, but the seat covers suggest the need for new upholstery.

1980 Triumph TR7 engine

Here’s the engine, with dual SUs, which were no doubt strangled when the car first came out. Look at all the space in front of the engine – you’d better hope anything that needs service is up there, because in the back, that black cowling is severely impeding access. Everything looks clean and corrosion-free here, including the shock towers – all critical in an eastern car. Let’s hope it’s hibernating safely right now, given the amounts of snow the eastern states are expecting.

1980 Triumph TR7 right rear

The tail lights never seemed to fit the design on these, like they were adapted from another car. It would have been so much more modern to have them fill their space instead of held by protrusions in the rear panel. Unfortunately, there is no European bumper option for these, as the whole world was lumbered with the American bumpers. Hopefully the sound of the dual tip exhaust will make up for the looks. The only issues on this car are said to be a non-functional clock, and brakes that work but have long pedal travel. Wait for the snow to melt and make the first offer to drive it home!

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One Response to “The Wedge – 1980 Triumph TR7 Roadster”

  1. steve in podunk Says:

    I had one of these for a while years ago. I never did get it to run right; it was a bodged up mess. It mostly sat in the yard and mocked my ineptitude at fixing it.

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