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Wedge So it spreads... Hello, looking at TR7s

100DashSix

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Hello.

Not new to the forum, but new to this section. I migrated over from the Austin Healey area into MG last year, and now it seems the car disease inside me remains unsatisfied.

As such, I'm interested in hearing about Triumphs and peoples' experiences with them. I've read a few buyers guides and am looking at the late-model TR7s (79-81), as I haven't seen even one TR8 for sale.

Spitfires look neat (and I hear good things about their handling), but I prefer the wedge styling of this unique car.

So. Opinions? Experiences? Insults? (I hear some say that the TR7s aren't "real" Triumphs.)
 

Banjo

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Welcome to the forum! Hope we can feed the need for all your LBC marques.
I'm an early TR guy myself. I've had 2 TR4As and now am restoring a 54 TR2. I've never been enamored with the 7s and 8s, but that's only because of it's styling. I have to say, if I came across one for a good price, I'd probably get it. Especially an 8.
I'll let the local "wedgies" give you the rave reviews you're looking for.
the only people who consider the wedges "not a real TR" are being a bit over critical in my opinion. They are a VERY different car from any earlier TR, but they're just as much a TR as any other.
If the 7/8 is what gets you going, then go for it!
 

tr8todd

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I love the cars. I started out a MG man, and then I went for a ride in a TR8. I still have a MGB, but it just sits in the garage unregistered, and covered. If you do decide to buy one, buy a nice one that is owned by an enthusiast. Spend the extra money at purchase time. They can become expensive to restore, but a well cared for one will be relatively cheap to maintain. The modified ones will give you more smiles per mile and will be easier to work on. Cars of that era were strangled with smog controls. A TR8 with a nice cam, headers, and a four barrel carb, along with a nice suspension and tires is an absolute thrill to drive. It will deliver around 20 MPG, and will outperform many high dollar sports cars.
 
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100DashSix

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Thanks for the greetings. The old(er) cars definitely have a great style in their own right, Banjo, though I've found a huge difference in the feel of driving between, say, a 57 Healey and a 74 MG. I guess I have ruled out the old Triumphs, but perhaps one day...

Speaking of prices and availability, Todd, where could I find a TR8 and what's a good price to pay? I've been checking Hemmings (typically overpriced, I've found) and Craigslist (sometimes very good deals there), and don't tend to like ebay at all. These sites and car club classifieds have come up empty for 8's, however.

If I can't find a TR8, could I expect a relatively rust-free and strong-running TR7 to be ~$1,500? Even more importantly, are they still fun even when bogged down with emission control devices?
 

Mickey Richaud

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I LOVE my TR8, and think that both the 7's and 8's are very underrated.

As for them not being REAL TR's, they're not, if your definition is based on TR2's through TR6's. They were a complete departure from those cars, and because of the economy and regulations of the times, never had a chance.

For some really good insight, check out this site:

https://www.austin-rover.co.uk/index.htm?cotm200304f.htm

Click on the TR7/TR8 link on the right-hand side of the page.

As for price, they are beginning to rise, so now is the time. There were only approximately 2700 TR8's built, so they are pretty scarce. The neat thing is that a TR7 is VERY easily converted to the V8, since it basically was designed to accept the lovely Rover V8.

And by all means, drive one. It'll make a believer out of ya!
 

Mickey Richaud

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AngliaGT

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Exactly,as Mickey says "drive one".
I used to be pretty down on TR7's -
- (as a TR6 owner),until I drove one.
I was impressed!I'm still trying to figure
out how to afford it (& the insurance,& the...).
Find a good one,drive it,& you'll be convinced.

- Doug
 

tdskip

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I recently found a TR8 that I'm sorting out, and I can offer up that they are very-very different to drive than an older LBC. They feel much more modern, provide much better wind protection, and the V8 makes wonderful noise.
 
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100DashSix

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I actually saw that Top Gear video when it was posted here a few days ago and enjoyed it. I'd be curious to see a non-modified TR7 in the video, though; it seems like all those cars were TR7s with the Rover V8 conversion. Speaking of which, I'll continue to look for a TR7 already converted over to some kind of V8, preferably a factory-style conversion. Hopefully I can find a local TR7 and give it a drive, to find out if I like it without the conversion.

For an easy switch, Mickey, what has to be done? In fact, how easy is it to obtain a Rover V8 or suitable engine?
 

swift6

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Most have covered the subject pretty well here but I will add some more. The wedges were a revolution in design compared to the evolution of the TR2-6. The advertising slogan was "The Shape of Things to Come" after all and the cars still look more modern than their production years would have people believe. The cars are remembered poorly but TR7's boast the highest production numbers of any TR. It still wasn't enough to help British Leyland survive. When the TR8 was eventually produced it was regarded as the car that the TR7 should have been all along but it was too little too late.

I own both a TR6 and a TR8. Used to look down my nose at the wedges. Then I drove a TR7. Straight line performance and power for TR7's are right on par with stock TR6's. The 6 is torquier but that's about it. The wedges have a shorter wheel base than TR2-6 but a wider track. Other than the more modern design, the wedge really shines on driver and passenger comfort. There is so much more room and they are extremely comfortable to be in for extended periods.

In 2001 I was able to spend about a week with a TR8 roadster and it really hooked me. When I began looking for a wedge I wanted a V8 but I also wanted a coupe for the stiffer shell, lighter weight. I thought for sure I would have to build a TR7V8 out of an older TR7 Coupe but then I happened upon a TR8FHC about 80 miles south of me. Even though the TR8 Coupes are one of the rarest TR's, their prices don't reflect it because everyone wants the roadsters. My TR8FHC is my daily driver. Year round. Having both a TR6 and a TR8 lets me feel like I'm enjoying the best of both worlds.

The reason all the wedges in that Top Gear video were converted TR7's is because TR8's were mainly export cars to North America. Less than 30 stayed in England (some say 36, others say 18). The Rover V8 is the same that was used on any of the V8 Landrovers until fairly recently. In England that V8 was used in over 25 different vehicles. Its also based on the Olds/Buick/Pontiac V8 that was made in both 215ci and 300ci displacements. So finding an engine can be fairly easy, but not necessarily cheap. The major modifications to convert a later (5 Speed) TR7 into a TR7V8 include the front sub-frame and transmission bell-housing. There are a lot of other smaller things that can also be part of an improvement regimen. If it goes that way I'm sure we can direct you in the right direction.

As far as any styling complaints go... a friend of mine used to own a Java Green TR7 Coupe. Bought it brand new in 1976 when he lived in New Jersey. His only comment on the color and the styling was that he couldn't see either while he was in the car. It was his current TR7 roadster that provided me with my first wedge experience.
 

tr8todd

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I know of four TR8's for sale right now. 1) the 28,000 mile green convert in my garage. Still needs a little reassembly after paint, new tan canvass top, bone stock except for larger front brakes. 6K now or 7.5 finished. 2)Woody Cooper recently took in a TR8 conv that he was planning on going thru and putting back up for sale. Should have some minor improvements and be around 8K. 3) A brown coupe that has recently finished a complete resto. This car is for all intensive purposes a brand new car. It has been modified. It has a tan leather interior, a 250HP 4 liter motor, rebuilt tranny and rear end, and new 15 inch wheels and tires. The current owner took a job and travels alot. He has to pay storage for the car in Boston and rarely gets to drive it. His dad owns 2 very fast TR8's, so there is no need for him to keep his. This car is priced at around 10K. I would buy this car in a heartbeat if the economy around here wasn't so bad. I am a plumber and the new construction has stopped cold here. 4)an aqua 80 convert that has been seriously modified. 4.9 liter pushing 325 HP or so, with a Quaife LS rear end. It had a complete resto about 5 years ago and is showing a little wear. This car is priced around 11.5K It will run a 1/4 mile in the 12's and top out above 160 MPH. Think of it as a British Porche 911 that won't swap ends in a corner when you lift off of the throttle. Woody's web site is https://www.thewedgeshop.com
 

Mickey Richaud

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100DashSix said:
For an easy switch, Mickey, what has to be done? In fact, how easy is it to obtain a Rover V8 or suitable engine?

The front subframe needs to be either changed out or modified - easier to change it, a bolt-on affair. Different drive shaft and bell housing (assuming the 7 has the five speed), radiator, etc. All bolt-on. As for availability, most any Rover engine will work, and there are plenty of Range Rovers out there. As Todd mentioned, Woody Cooper is a great resource. Brad Wilson (Wedgeparts, Inc.) lives right here in Clarksville, and has helped me immensely with my restoration. He's done several conversions, and has a couple of projects available now. His website (www.wedgeparts.com) has a section on converting 7's - take a look at it when you get the chance.

We're driving the TR8 down to New Orleans next month - something I would not have attempted with the TR3 (I know: WIMP!), but the 8 is a great road car - very comfortable and lots more room for "stuff".
 

Mickey Richaud

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mgb4tim

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The 7's are neat. Mine is still DOA, but those I talked to who have them, love them.

The late model 7's were fuel injected, unless changed. From what I'm finding, the FI spares are tough to come by.

Not too much 7/8 support here. As noted above, many look down at the 7's until they drive one. Still, you can get "need to know" info here, but its not a 7/8 chat arena like it is for the "classic" TR's. There is a more active and 7/8 specific forum if you do a Google search for "tr7 forum".
 

tr8todd

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I just noticed that you are in Va. There are many active TR8 owners from your area. If you are serious about buying one, I have a suggestion for you. Take the next 3 months researching the cars. Show up at the import car show at Carlisle Pa in May. There will be at least 20 TR8's there. They will range from pristine stock examples to over the top modified ones. TR8 owners as a rule are regular guys and will be happy to let go for a ride or even drive the car yourself. There should be a few that could be bought at the show. Most TR8's that I see sold, never really get put up for sale. Most are word of mouth affairs. That may be different in other parts of the country. I have been seeing a recent trend. Most of the good ones that come up for sale are being bought by people who all ready have at least one other TR8. The project ones are being bought by newcomers who mistakenly think they can save some money buying a fixer-uper. I've had six. I know a guy in Fla who has six now, and a few others who have three. A guy from Detroit recently sent two TR8's to Woody to have them gone thru. Almost all of the remaining coupes are owned by guys who also have at least one other TR8.
 

Flinkly

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by the sound of it, i hope i never get the tr8 bug, and it sounds like your in for some work just to get one hooked.

good luck.
 

swift6

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There is defintiely some satisfaction to owning a real TR8. You can get the same driving kicks by converting a TR7 but its like cloning an RS/SS Camaro out of a 6 cylinder grocery getter. It might look and perform the same but its still not the real deal. Elitist attitude? Maybe... but its also a valid value point. The more clones that are made, the more valuable the real deals become.
 

tr8todd

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I just talked to Woody. The TR8 he had last week is sold, and the brown coupe was sold to a guy from Texas that owns a conv all ready. Just a note on converting a TR7 to a V8. It is not that cheap to do. If you want a stockish TR8, you are better off buying a real one. If you want a highly modified car, it would be cheaper to start with a TR7 and adding the modded parts. If you start with a TR8 you will have a higher buy in and you will change alot of the original stuff anyway. That is why I have a stock one in the garage. It would cost alot more to modify this clean car than to buy one that is done. I have no desire to drive a bone stock TR8. I'm a speed freak of the highest order.
 

ObiRichKanobi

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mgb4tim said:
The late model 7's were fuel injected, unless changed. From what I'm finding, the FI spares are tough to come by.

Sometimes you have to look for cros references. Let me know which parts you can't find, and I'll see if I cna scare them up.
 

tdskip

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ObiRichKanobi said:
Sometimes you have to look for cross references.

That is a really good point, I've had to look at Olds F85 parts for my distributor cap and rotor. Range Rover for some others...

Didn't Practical Classics have parts cross-reference summary on their web site? Anyone have a copy?
 
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