The shape of things that came ... and went

Wedgies Anonymous – Why I love the Triumph TR7

The shape of things that came ... and went

The shape of things that came … and went

It has become common practice in modern society to “rewrite the narrative” and look back at the past as we experienced it (at the time) and then recast it as something altogether different with the benefit of hindsight and perspective.

Somewhere in the back of our collective memory I am sure we all know that the unloved Triumph TR7 was the best-selling TR of all-time. I am equally sure that we rationalize that fact by attacking the decade in which it was sold and point to the fact that so few of them appear to be left on the road. My question is, “where did the 140,000 cars go?”

When was the last time that you saw a TR7 on the road? Personally, I have seen more Ferrari GTOs in the past three years than I have of the once ubiquitous wedge. Were they all reduced to mounds of red oxide having been waylaid by blown head gaskets or were they abandoned at the first opportunity by uncaring owners?

It may be hard to admit at times, but I am a fan of the Triumph TR7 (and an even greater admirer of its larger-engined TR8 brethren) and have had three run across my path over the years.

It says something that the first was purchased in 1990 for $25, the second in 2009 for $400 and the most recent was actually a “just get it out of the garage and its yours” deal. While it’s hard to get a good set of tires for less than $500, all three cars found a new purpose in my care (or at least I hope the latest one will too). Having driven all manner of cars, including almost every British sports car ever produced, the TR7 remains one of the best-handling and fun to drive cars of them all (although it might be heretical to speak such thoughts out loud).

7spiderThe TR7 is a fine car and its styling is of an era when Charlie had angels and one boarded the Pacific Princess for love. Hair was feathered, pants were tight and disco reigned. While the 70s may not have the intrinsic appeal of the fifties or sixties, or even the eighties for that matter, the TR7 is a perfect time machine to revisit an era that almost all of us were alive for (even though we may have been in diapers at the time). The Mustang II or Chevy Vega bring an image of a gold medallion resplendent in a tuft of chest hair visible through an unbuttoned silk shirt. The Tr7 evokes labor strife, too many drinks at the local pub the night before and soccer hooligans. Which would you rather have? After all, the TR7 killed Triumph and was the beginning of the end of the British auto industry; where else can you find a car with that kind of historical impact?

75triumphtr7Does anyone out there still have a TR7? Did you then? Does anyone still love the Wedge? If so, where are you and why don’t we hear more from you. In almost every meeting regarding the future of the hobby I hold out against reason and argue that the TR7 will go the way of the rubber-bumper MGB and make a comeback into collectibility. Usually, that optimism is met with laughter if not outright scorn but I continue to hope and believe that the numbers of TR7s – on the decline for so many years now – will start to rise as collectors restore the cars and put them back on the road.

If there are any aficionados of the TR7 out there, please let me know. I would like to hear from you and maybe start a 12-step program or organize a support group for us (Wedgies Anonymous?). But most importantly, find a wedge, fix it up and put it back on the road. It will be the cheapest (and possibly the most fun) British car you will ever own.

 

 

facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmail


'Wedgies Anonymous – Why I love the Triumph TR7' have 22 comments

  1. July 22, 2014 @ 5:36 pm Steve

    Hi,

    From out of the wilderness, here I am, a proud TR7 owner. I bought a non running, 1976 hardtop just like the one in the poster, mine had a perfect body and paint – in Ferrari Red. The previous owner had the paint done, then never picked it up, The body shop kept the car for 10 years until they sold it to the guy who sold it to me. The carbs were flooding, so I took them apart and found someone used silicone sealer on the gaskets – which reacts with gasoline so the float bowls were full on gummy worms. I rebuilt the seats, new black vinyl covers, (car pre dates the plaid) new foams, diaphrams etc, rebuild the transmission and replaced the clutch, did the brakes, rebuild the front suspension etc.. Now I have a daily driver that is excellent on gas and like your article says, is an excellent handling car. I’ve owned 2 spitfires and would say my early TR7 with the 4 speed is faster, better handling but the lack of a soft top is unfortunate. The trunk is huge for a sports car and the parcel shelves in front of and behind the driver, although dangerous, are very handy !

    Cheers,

    Steve

    Reply

  2. July 24, 2014 @ 10:47 am Charles

    As the persent owner of a 1975 TR7 and two 1980 TR8’s and a past owner of MANY European and a couple of 280ZX’s. I can honestly say I prefer the wedge cars. I have owned the TR7 and one of the TR8’s for over 10 years and have done nothing more than at times expanding the “fleet”. Mechanically they have been flawless and require only routine maintainance
    Both FHC and DHC have their good points. The cars have been very reliable and are more comfortable to drive than anything previously, with perhaps the exception of the 280ZX’s.and then it is a draw. As both TR8’s are modified and produce around 275 HP +++ from their 5.0 L engines the performance if more than reasonable. The TR7 is almost entirely as it left the factory. Exceptions include TR8 front brakes and wheels and round air cleaners. The estimated 120,000 miles have been done with regular care and so far nothing more.
    Would I recommend wedge car ownership? MOST CERTAINLY . Either car can be a joy to own and drive, DHC or FHC; this is owner preference.

    Regards,

    Charles

    Reply

  3. July 24, 2014 @ 11:35 am Sam Justice

    I’ve owned 5 TR7s and presently have two Spiders and another 1980 parts car. They are indeed fun to drive and comfortable, although a bit hard to enter and exit for an old man like myself. They are presently very cheap, but don’t cry for us TR7 owners; we’ll take the fun and leave the investing to others.
    Sam Justice

    Reply

  4. July 24, 2014 @ 2:05 pm John C. Iseman

    I own a TR8 and a FHC 78 TR7
    The wedges are very dependable, comfortable and great handling.
    They are the best Triumphs ever made, especially the TR8.
    I suggest that doubters should try one or stay with their 1950s
    “Tea Bagger” express.
    Visit the TWOA wedge site or view the Facebook page for the TWOA.

    Reply

  5. July 24, 2014 @ 2:08 pm Chris

    Hi. My names “Chris” and I’m a Wedge-a-holic. (Hi, Chris!)

    I’ve loved “The Shape” since I first saw one as a teenager. I remember reading the car magazines about the great handling of the TR7 and looked forward to the release of the TR8. I still remember the road trip with my family to California in the early 80s and seeing a genuine TR8 for the first time. I was shouting and pointing and everyone else in the car couldn’t figure out what was getting me all work up.

    Fast forward a few years. I finally got my TR8, got it running and took it with me and the family to Hawaii for a few years of fun in the sun. Fond memories; driving down Nimitz Highway with my daughter; getting caught in the sudden showers with the sun still shining; driving to Fosters Point for picnic lunches, the big “date” with my lovely wife at the pineapple plantation, and of course the obligatory two hour drive around the island.

    We’re back on the mainland now and the TR is off the road the moment. But she’s not forgotten. You see, we’re getting ready for a fresh start! The engines been rebuilt, a new coat of Poseidon Green is in the works to be followed by a new golden tan interior. Soon, the old girl will be back in all her former glory and ready to create new memories. You see, I have a new grand-daughter and I think she just might see the fun of getting caught in the rain while zipping down the road with the hood down on the way to grab a Coke with her grandpa.

    Reply

  6. July 24, 2014 @ 4:10 pm Bill

    My first ever new car was a 1977 Tahiti blue TR7. I traded that in a couple of years later for a 1979 TR8 Coupe. Almost 34 years and 300,000 km later, I’m still driving that car, and loving it!

    Reply

  7. July 25, 2014 @ 5:02 am StevenH

    Having had many LBCs, I must say that the TR8 is very civilized, almost modern by today’s standards. I have two TR6s, an original 26K mile Mimosa Yellow 1976 and a fully restored and periord correctly modified 1974. The 1980 TR8 convertible in Poseidon Green with Tan Tartan interior, which I purchased two years ago from the original owner, now has approximately 6,000 orignal miles.
    I have the original window sticker as well as all the related sales slips, original battery (no longer useful) as well as the original wheels and tires (14″ Compomotive wheels and tires on the car now). Upon purchasing the vehicle, it was flatbedded to Woody’s Wedge Shop where it was gone completely through, fuel tank removed and cleaned, new sending unit and pump, flushed out fuel lines, flushed out brake lines, flushed out antifreeze, replaced wires and plugs, all other fluids and filters replaced, installed Petronix distributor, replaced water pump, brake master, clean and adjust carbs, grease wheel bearings and replace shock absorbers with NOS adj. Konis. I am sure other issues were addressed at that time as well, just cannot remember all the details without looking in the car’s file. Recently the A/C was updated to R134. and it actually blows cold! It is a very smooth driving, confortable, and enjoyable vehicle. Whether it will follow the Sunbeam Tiger as a late blooming desireable collectible with rising value is anyones guess. In the meantime, I will occassionaly enjoy a summer drive to a crusie night and explain to the many the attributes of it to the many who are unaware of what a TR8 car is.

    Reply

  8. July 25, 2014 @ 1:50 pm John

    I am unquestionably a Wedge-aholic and have been since 1976 when I bought my first TR7 after graduating from college. It was my daily driver for 10 years, even if I did work for GM. If asked I just told people that it was the prototype for the Fiero. I still own that car and after a full restoration (winter driving and salt takes its toll) it is back on the road. I also have a late model TR8 that is mostly original which I acquired a couple of years ago. The only thing that would keep me from a third is someplace to store it.

    Reply

  9. July 26, 2014 @ 5:03 am Anthony Brucia

    I have an ’80 convertible “7”. Had it about 5 years still enjoy it in nice weather. It works both ways. If Moss “recognized” the wedges, the Triumph community would recognise us! We would feed off each other and create more business for Moss and more interest in the wedges.

    Reply

  10. July 29, 2014 @ 7:11 am Clay

    I have owned 13 Wedges over the years. Right now I own two wedges, a TR7 and a FI TR8. Both run and are drivable. I have noticed over the past five years that wedges are disappearing.The major problem with TR7s is that the owners are getting older and can no longer do the work on their cars themselves, while it seems to be impossible to get any shop to work on the cars. It also doesn’t help that the cars are held up for scorn and ridicule by other Triumph and MG owners.

    Clay

    Reply

  11. August 2, 2014 @ 1:33 pm Doug

    I have one of the original 1975 TR7s. In addition, I own a 1978 TR8 Coupe and a 1980 TR7 convertible. All are still drivable and I have them all licenced and insured. I drive my cars all the time. I too have not seen any TR7s this summer – as a matter of fact I haven’t seen a TR6 this summer. All British sports cars are becoming a rarity on the open road. It is common for wedge owners to have 2 or three TR7s or TR8s.

    Doug

    Reply

  12. August 4, 2014 @ 1:25 pm Johnny Oversteer

    It is rare for any article on any British sports car to elicit the response that the loyal cadre of wedge owners have shown to Wedgies Anonymous. It’s both heartening and gratifying to hear that there are passionate and articulate fans of these criminally underrated cars out there. During a discussion last Friday with some people at the office, I used the response to this article as proof that there are Wedge fans out there, we just have to a better job of responding to what they want to see in the catalogs and from Moss as a company that is sympathetic to their needs. If I’m right, spread the word here and on the longer article at http://www.britishmotoringjournal.com to all your fellow wedge owners. I have often been told that the cars all disappeared, but after all these comments, I’m not so sure…

    Reply

  13. August 9, 2014 @ 6:15 pm Mark

    I’ve had my TR7 wedgie for 32 years. Bought it in ’82 from the original owner when I lived in Houston. It is a blue ’80 convertible that sat on the dealer’s lot unsold until ’81. It was retrofitted by BL with non-plad seat and door panel inserts, luggage rack, and fancy wheel covers. It is blue and has 47k on it and is mostly original.

    I met another 7 owner at a British car show in southern NM in April and what really caught my eye was the heater control valve conversion he had done; it looked neat and worked. I don’t see any 7’s or 8’s on the road anymore; just an occasional one at a show.

    I now live at 8,000 ft. elevation and the original 80 hp is suffocated to maybe 60. Most of my time with it is trying to get it to run decently. I’ve installed a UK spec Delco dizzy with Luminition conversion which helped some.

    Reply

  14. August 15, 2014 @ 12:23 pm Jim

    I have owned many LBC over the years. I currently have: 1968 TR250, 1973 TR6, and a 1982 TR8. My wife was the driving force behind the purchase of the TR8. We have had the car for just over 2 years and it has really grown on me. The FI has been removed and replaced with a Holly 390 dual pumper. Along with other modifications it puts out around 210 hp. It is by far the best handling Triumph I have ever driven. The car is very comfortable and a pleasure to take on a road trip. The TR8s are a very under appreciated sports car.

    Reply

  15. September 23, 2014 @ 3:00 pm davr

    p. I just picked up my TR 7. Bought it in the spring it is a red hard to and all original as nerd as I can tell had a engine isdue I believe from setting and with the busy summer just picked it up. It is a very interesting car and I never do see them any more it us red with the plad interior. I am still learning how to get in and out of it. Hard top you know actually it has a sun roof. I am going to try to rub out thepaint to bring back the shine. I hope to put some miles on it this fall goes with my TR6 and MGB. I hope to take some trips in it next summer

    Reply

  16. November 7, 2014 @ 7:02 am Jim stuart

    I have a silver TR8 roadster and a white TR7 coupe about to undergo an 8 cylinder conversion.

    After 30 years of MGB and Midget ownership I am only sorry it took so long to discover the 7 and 8s. These are the best handling of affordable British cars.
    Se

    Reply

  17. March 4, 2015 @ 11:10 am Mike

    I am not a “Wedgieholic” but…I have always thought they were pretty cool, I have several MGs (B Roadster, C GT, B GT) and a Rover 3500 SD1, if I could find a fairly rust free TR7 or preferably TR8 I would probably go for it…(yes all my MG buddies are shuddering as we all blame BL for their mis-handling and the demise of the MG Marque due to the Triumph marque being preferred by BL management) I have always liked the shape of the “wedge” and yes the question is where did the 140,000 cars produced go?? You very rarely see them around here – although a wrecking yard near me has a FHC and DHC in their bones yard and have a very unreasonable expectation of what they are worth!
    Just my humble opinions! :)

    Reply

  18. January 21, 2016 @ 6:06 am Randy

    I have been a TR7 lover since watching the original TV commercials of “The shape of things to come” in the 70s. I acquired my first TR7 in 1979, trading my Camaro in on a red 1975 coupe. I am a fan of the entire TR line but do prefer the TR7 with its futuristic styling, great handling, comfort and easy to work on four cylinder engine. Being mechanically minded, I have always enjoyed working on my own cars however I was disappointed in the quality of my TR7. Nothing major, just LOTS of little annoying problems. I figured my original TR7 was a lemon so I sold it and bought another lower mileage TR7. Sadly, it was less sound then the first. Still, I remember both cars with affection and have always wanted to have a convertible (DHC) TR7. Recently, I purchased a 1980 TR7 Spider in need of work. I have spent the summer, doing body work, painting, new top and interior. I am currently rebuilding the “rebuilt” engine that came in the car. I feel that I have been blessed with the mechanical skills to put a car like this back on the road and keep it there.

    Reply

  19. September 29, 2017 @ 5:59 am Larry L. Gray

    I bought two barn finds for $400 each. The ’79 FHC looked good; nice body, minimal rust, and the PO said it was stored after carb problems. He lied. The engine was frozen solid so I went looking for a donor engine.

    The ’76 FHC was crumpled and looked like Swiss cheese after sitting in a field, but the engine and transmission only had 48K miles.

    I’ve been working little by little for almost two years and I have completely rebuilt the engine/transmission.

    Next the ’79 get’s the engine/transmission pulled, engine bay and interior stripped (I have a complete new interior), and after minor sheet metal repair and stripping, a new paint job. Then the interior and rebuilt power train will be installed.

    I’ll never get the money back that I’ve pored into this project, but it has been fun. I’m now a member of five LBC groups & forums.

    Hopefully, before the New Year, I’ll have “The Money Pit” (our family name) back on the road after 12-years being layed up.

    Be brave. Buy a TR7.

    Reply

  20. February 15, 2018 @ 7:40 am Steve Brooks

    I am the proud owner of a 1981 Persian Aqua FI TR7. The car sat in the previous owners garage as a non runner for at least 9 years before he put it on Cragslist. I purchased it without hearing it run (I know, I know!) and brought it home. By joining the TWOA, and with Moss parts, I found an issue with the FI and got it running again. Since then, I have really been amazed at this car, after being a loyal MGB and MGB-GT owners for many years. The handles extremely well, the FI makes for a smooth running engine! Have enjoyed many “runs” with the local British Car Club and took second place in my class at last years Show of Dreams!
    However, I succumbed to to MGB urge and bought a 1977 MGB to keep the TR7 company in my garage. Now I have 2 beautiful cars to enjoy!

    Rock on Wedgies!

    Reply

  21. March 24, 2018 @ 1:45 am Geof Hole

    Hi fellow TR7 fans from the birthplace here in the UK.

    I’d just like to add my comments from a British perspective about the TR7. As already said you don’t see many TR7’s on the road these days and that’s exactly the same over here. I think our weather has killed off many cars. The rust is expensive to repair and finding a good example is difficult. Although I will say reasonable cars can still be found but no very often.
    The RHD TR8 was not made in great numbers here mainly for export to the US only so the original factory TR8’s are very scarce. Most are conversions.
    I’ve had three roadworthy TR7’s and two more donor cars making five in total. All five were/are FHC.
    The first was in 1978 as a 20 year old, Tahiti Blue – 4 speed with an aftermarket glass tilt/removable panel.
    An early 1975 car from the BL Speke factory in Liverpool. It did a head gasket, rear wheel bearings, drivers window winder and a fuel sender unit. Other than that it was a very good car; I owned it for 2 years.
    I than had a massive gap in TR7 ownership. House purchase, kids etc…..
    Then in 2000 the urge struck (you all know the feeling) I had to have another TR7. This time a V8! It’s got to be the cheapest way to own a DIY maintainable powerful sports car that is modern enough to be safe to drive. Well it was destined to have a V8 in the first place!
    So the search began on a limited budget. Eventually I found a 1980 Black FHC Premium Model with a V8 conversion. Premium Models were all FHC 2.0L black with tan check interior, sliding Webasto vinyl sunroof, alloy wheels and gold side stripes – only 400 were made in the Canley factory.
    The V8 was a ‘driver car’ great fun but I never really improved on it so it’s condition deteriorated to the point that I sold it to a friend who adored it and purchased a Mk3 Toyota Supra manual.
    Fast forward to last Christmas 2017. The urge hits again! This time a Dec 1976 Pimento Red 2.0L FHC 5-speed with no sunroof. The ‘tin tops’ are really rare over here and especially the early cars. The car is very good for the age; starts and drives. This time I decided to give it some real TLC. So new brakes, suspension, clutch, tyres all the normal bits and bobs. Then in for bodywork and a re-paint. All that work is completed it’s now time to put it back together. My TR7 is virtually identical to the one in the poster with the exception of the little blue BL badges on the bottom of the front wings; only the very early cars had these.
    Ah the other two TR7’s I’ve owned were both 1980 black Premium Models semi-stripped of parts and purchased by me as a source of spares for my V8.

    So that’s it my TR7 madness confession, I’m out and proud, what a relief!

    Regards fellow fans

    Geof

    Reply

  22. June 26, 2018 @ 1:16 pm John

    In 1981 I purchased new a 1980 TR7, Brooklands Green convertible. At the time Triumph provided a $1000 rebate to get rid of inventory. After all these years I still own the car.
    I grew up seeing many different British cars in my hometown. Comparing this car to today’s vehicles is night and day. That is what makes it a novelty to own.
    I live in rural Connecticut and the roads are perfect for this type of car.

    Reply


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Please note: technical questions about the above article may go unanswered. Questions related to Moss parts should be emailed to moss.tech@mossmotors.com

Your email address will not be published.

© Copyright 2019< Moss Motors, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.