This is what my TR7 lookes like:
This is not a photo of my car... I wasn't thinking ahead and I disassembled my TR7 as soon as I got it. So I wasn't able to take any good photos of it. But my car is also black and it is in equally good shape! So until my car comes out of the garage and I can take some photos of it, I will have to use this photo (with permition) to give people an idea what it looks like.
In the late 90's, I started contemplating a fun little convertible RWD car project powered by 4G63 motor. I have made a short list of cars which where my favorites, but lacked in the engine department:
-BMW Z3 1.9
After keeping an eye on the want ads for several years (obviously, I wasn't in a huge hurry to start this project), I found a perfect candidate:
1980 Triumph TR7 Spider edition. This was a pretty rare, fuel injected CA Spider, I was told that only 200-300 of such cars were ever made. Unfortunately for TR7 fans, those cars are not worth much money in now days. So the difference in price between a rare Spider model and run of the mill TR7 convertible is only a couple of hundreds of dollars and really comes down to the car's condition, more so than the particular model.
But it was the condition of this car that made it special. This was an original owner car from Irvine CA. It was daily driven for 72k miles, for the first ten years and it was then placed in the garage because of a bad gas tank. According to the previous owner, the car spent EVERY night in the garage and NEVER saw rain. Judging its conditions, I have absolutely no reason to doubt what he was saying.
So after paying $1050 for the car and then another $1000 to ship it from Southern CA to Mass, I had my new project! This also marked that first time that I bought a car on line and it shipped to me, sight unseen. I took a $2000 gamble and it paid off! The car was as good as it has been described to me and made cross country voyage with out any problems.
Triumph TR7 History
I am not a TR7 expert by any means, but I will try to give you quick background information on this very unique and way ahead of its time car.
US was facing an impending ban on the convertibles, so in the very early 70's British Leyland wanted to have a hard top car for a "convertible-free" market. So originally, TR7 was meant to be a hard top 2 passenger British sports car for US market.
TR7 represented a HUGE departure from the TR product line evolution (TR4-TR6).
- radically different appearance
- no convertible
- weak 4 cylinder engine (TR6 had in-line six)
- different approach to suspension (small wheels/tires, soft springs and LOT of suspension travel).
And most importantly, it represented the demise of much loved TR6. Needless to say, there wasn't much support for TR7 from the Triumph fans (Much like DSM crowd had "embraced" 3rd generation of Eclipse).
But it was a very nice car in its own right. The appearance solicited "love it, or hate it" response. There were relatively few people who remained neutral the Wedge shape, which was marketed under "The Shape of Things to come" slogan. But it was actually a relatively well made and reliable British car!
Unfortunately, TR7 fell victim to poor performance and poor workmanship (due to labor disputes in yearlier production years). The later production cars were vastly improved with the introduction of a convertible TR7 (in '79) and TR8, an aluminum V8 Rover engine, based on old Buick engines. The labor situation was also improved, so 80-81 TR7/TR8's were very nice vehicles, but it came too late to save British Leyland and Triumph. The last cars left production line late 1981.
Today, TR7s are some of the cheapest British roadsters you can buy! You can find them anywhere from $500 (for a decent rebuild candidates) to $3000 (for very nice survivors).
Here are some links to Triumph and TR7/TR8 sites:
Spider vs. Spyder
I am aware that there was no TR7 Spyder. But then, there have never been a Mitsu powered TR7, ether. So I re-named my TR7 Spider to TR7 Spyder, thus reflecting Mitsubishi's way of identifying their convertibles.
For those who do not what know what TR7 Spider was, it was simply trim option package for US. It included red graphic, black and gray interior (the best of any TR7), TR8 steering wheel and Spider wheels (similar to TR8 wheels, but slightly different color).
There were approximate 1200 Spiders sold, 200-300 of them went to CA, where they received a Bosh fuel injection system.
Here are some photos of a well restored Spider:
(my Spider came with out the red graphics and I have removed the luggage rack)