Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Brit Ragtops For £5k - RICHARD GUNN SE­NIOR CON­TRIB­U­TOR

To be hon­est, I’m not a great fan of con­vert­ibles – like Amer­i­can leg­is­la­tors in the 1970s, I much pre­fer the se­cu­rity and style of a sculp­tured tin-top. And while I’ll be pil­lo­ried for say­ing this, drop the roof on most sports cars and many of them look broadly sim­i­lar; a long, thin ci­gar shape on wheels. The TR7, though, is dif­fer­ent. Its dis­tinc­tive love-it-or-hate-it wedge­shape makes it stand out from the crowd, lend­ing it a rak­ish, rather pur­pose­ful pres­ence that is much more hand­some than its many de­trac­tors will ad­mit to in pub­lic. Yes, I know that there were qual­ity con­trol is­sues, that it emerged from Bri­tish Ley­land dur­ing its nadir, and it was part of the Har­ris Mann tril­ogy that in­cluded the Al­le­gro and Princess. But I al­ways love an un­der­dog… and the fact that other peo­ple can’t means it’s still com­pet­i­tively priced. Be­sides, it has pop-up head­lamps and tar­tan-cov­ered seats – a se­duc­tive com­bi­na­tion if ever there was one.


BODY MAT­TERS Rust strikes around the sus­pen­sion strut tops, in­ner wings, bulk­head, bon­net, where the nose meets the front wings, sills, floor­pan, door bot­toms, wheel arches, the lower parts of the rear wings and the boot. Ba­si­cally, just check ev­ery­where – in­clud­ing un­der­neath.

EN­GINE IS­SUES The al­loy cylin­der head can warp or cor­rode in­side, al­low­ing wa­ter and oil to mix, so keep an eye on the tem­per­a­ture gauge. It could also be the wa­ter pump – which is an in­volved pain to change. Tim­ing chains get rat­tly ev­ery 25,000 miles or so.

IN­SIDE EX­AM­I­NA­TION In­te­ri­ors wear quite eas­ily and switchgear – es­pe­cially the heater con­trols – is prone to break­ing. Re­place­ment means com­pli­cated dash­board re­moval. Electrics can be trou­ble­some thanks to cor­roded con­tacts, dodgy looms and fuses – pre-1979 cars only had five, later ones had a more re­li­able 12.


EN­GINE 1998cc/4-cyl/OHC POWER 105bhp@5500rpm TORQUE 119lb ft@3500rpm MAX­I­MUM SPEED 109mph 0-60MPH 9.1sec FUEL CON­SUMP­TION 25-35mpg TRANS­MIS­SION RWD, five-speed man­ual

“1980 TRI­UMPH TR7, £3250 In the fam­ily for 24 years. Last road taxed in 2003 and since has only been dis­played at spe­cial oc­ca­sions. £1300 spent last year on de­car­bon­is­ing, new gas­kets/seals, rear brake shoes and cylin­ders, bat­tery, ra­di­a­tor, wind­screen, steer­ing col­umn bushes etc for MoT.”

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