1980 TRIUMPH TR8View vehicle description
Unravelling the production history of the TR7 and TR8 is a challenging endeavour. Three factories built the cars during their production run from 1975 to 1981, namely Speke, Canley and Solihull. And at times, due to strikes, there were periods when no cars were produced at all.
The TR7 was designed by Harris Mann and manufactured by British Leyland through its Jaguar/Rover/Triumph division.
A more powerful V8-engine version of the TR7 was planned in the early stages of the TR7’s development, a prototype being produced in 1972. Due to BL’s perilous financial state and labour problems, the project was much delayed.
By 1978 some 145 prototype cars were built with V8 engines and usually automatic gearboxes. These cars were ‘evaluated’ and were then sold off used, with no distinct badging, as is the case with this example.
The ubiquitous Rover V8 engine was used, Triumph’s own V8 as fitted to the Stag being seen as not reliable enough.
Total worldwide production is said to be 2750, though no one is exactly sure. Classic & Sports Car magazine’s figures swell that number by another 65 if you’re counting.
TR7 and TR8 production finally ended in October 1981.
With genuine right-hand drive TR8s being rather thin on the ground, thanks to only around 20 cars being produced, over the years many TR7s have been converted, some receiving little more than an engine upgrade. That is not the case here, as we are pleased to be offering for sale a fine example.
This car has had a remarkable life, starting life as a TR7 V8 prototype, hence the TR7 badging rather than TR8, and just the BL under bonnet sticker denoting it as such. It was then used for further competition department development before apparently being bought by a member of staff and eventually being bought by the current owner in 1998.
He used the car as interesting everyday transport for a some of years before it was eventually parked in the barn we find it in today, and where it has remained for a number of years.
Knowing it was going to be sold, a mechanic friend has recently started the car so the owner knows the engine still runs, but without a full recommissioning it has been decided not to run it again until it has been given the appropriate servicing.
As can be seen from the pictures, this is a genuine barn find, even though the owner did leave it there himself!
On the Outside
There is always a certain excitement looking at a barn find car, an expectation and hope that under the decades of untouched dust there is a hidden gem waiting to be found. In this car, under the thick layer of dust and barn dirt from years of sitting in what was dry air of the barn before it recently started to come down, the Triumph does look to be in rather good condition. Looking through the grime the paint appears to have a good finish with a bit of shiny surface showing through the dust in places, and the panels also look to be good.
Of course its hard to be certain in these situations, but the body work does look to be free of damage or corrosion, even around the usual culprits of the wheel arches and sills.
The trim is all present and in good condition, including a rare front splitter which has been removed but is with the car, and it has factory alloy wheels all round, and a spare rim. The tyres should be considered unusable due to age.
We believe the pop up headlights are working but were not able to check.
On the Inside
Open the door and it still smells like a Triumph, having been shut up for so long the scent of ‘70s fabrics hits in a wave of nostalgia. As the barn was dry and the doors and windows shut the cabin is not particularly dirty, apart from the spider webs it looks like it was parked a couple of weeks ago with odds and ends still lying around.
The seats have work very well, there are very few signs of use as the bolsters are good and the red tartan fabric excellent, which continues onto the door cards, again in great shape.
The carpets we believe are good under the floor mats and headlining are in very good too. The steering wheel is good and the dashboard has no cracks. Being an experimental car it has an extra pod of three gauges under the drivers side dash.
Excitingly, under the bonnet of the TR7, instead of 2 litre four banger, we have the legendary 3.5 litre Buick based Rover V8, topped with what looks like a Holley carb and breathing out through a one off heavy duty race/rally special exhaust from its competition days.
The owner has had a mechanic inspect the engine, turn it over and briefly fire it up, and it apparently ran well, as it did when parked all those years ago. However, as rubbers perish, oils degrade and the new petrols are harsher, the new owner will be needing to do a major service and light overhaul replacing the fuel line and brake flexi hoses, and checking the condition of other parts as a precaution.
Under the car, beyond flaking underseal the chassis and floor look good from what we can see.
The owner tells us the car was built as one of a small number of V8 prototype TR7s, a different car to the TR8 or DIY converted home brew V8s, so was owned by BL for the first few years, evidence of this being the under bonnet sticker denoting it as a V8 TR7. Its then thought, to have spent time as a development car for the BL competitions department, being maintained by Dennis Golding, a sports race car garage in London.
The vendor used this fire breathing, rear wheel drive manual beast regularly, no doubt surprising a few BMWs and 3 litre Capris at the traffic lights!
When he stopped using it, it was parked in this barn where is has remained untouched.
There are some papers referencing the early prototype years in the photo gallery, and an HPI report.
What We Think
This is an intriguing and exciting opportunity to own a piece of motoring history. Many collectors value prototypes and factory specials highly, and this is just that, and from the owner we know its story almost back to the beginning.
Having been dry stored for a long time it remains in what appears to be very solid condition (but as with all projects and barn finds, its hard to be sure until its cleaned up) that just needs a good service and very good clean to get it up and running. Seeing this gem of a car emerge from the grime will be hugely rewarding for someone.
Our estimate for this car is £10,000 - £15,000.
Viewing is always encouraged. This particular vehicle is located with the vendor in Ely, Cambridgeshire; To arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage options plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
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