Triumph’s TR7 makes a great alternative to more common sports cars of its time. It’s got a divisive notchback wedge design, flip-up headlights, gawky big bumpers, decent power which is sometimes hampered by smog equipment, as well as plaid seating, a useful trunk and the most modern amenities you’ll find on any affordable British sports car of its time. All those things make it a good alternative to cars like the Mazda RX-7 with its rotary engine, plaid seating, useful rear hatch and… wait, what? The Japanese car is weirder? Anyhow, TR7s seem to have suffered greater attrition, so let’s pretend it’s weird just for being rare and take a look at this 1977 Triumph TR7 coupe for sale for $3500 in Carver, MA.
Truly a case of making lemonade of a lemon, the lemon being the lack of a convertible top on a car that’s more ubiquitous and better-looking topless. Sure, it’s a bit of a all-show, no-go kind of deal, but there are some valuable upgrades behind the sticker-and-light package, which itself faithfully replicates period rally TR7s. Some cars also got white fender flares along with wider wheels, but basically the builder captured the look quite effectively. And if you find the look truly offensive, it will peel off in a couple of hours with the help of a hair dryer.
Clearly, the seller has a TR7 addiction, and he says as much – this car is up for sale because he’s got half a dozen TR8s, a couple of TR7s, and the results of 30 years’ worth of parting TR7/8s out, and he’s promised his wife to thin the collection. The car benefited from a caring previous owner, who installed all the rally parts and made numerous mechanical repairs and upgrades.
Those repairs and upgrades include an aluminum radiator, rebuilt dual SU carburetors, and a stainless steel exhaust system. If you want to do more to back up the looks, you can add a performance header and cam, as well as UK-spec pistons, or go crazy and find yourself a 16-valve sprint head from a Dolomite. That said, even the factory performance was not bad, given the constraints of selling any North American spec car in 1977.
The interior got a full retrim in modern sound deadening material, new seat covers (sadly not the matching plaid), and a modern stereo. And for the non-decisive (convertible or hardtop?) there’s a full-length sliding soft top that’s in good condition. The whole package looks like a turnkey classic (are they ever really turnkey?), ready for regular driving or further upgrades – could the improvements sway you to put up with the hardtop?