“The shape of things to come.” This was the catchline for the TR7 sportscar launched in 1975 by Triumph. While what the manufacturer obviously intended was the new direction and brand image that the model would hopefully bring about, ironically the things that followed the car were disastrous for the model as well as the once-famous British brand.
It sure was quite an interesting departure from Triumph’s previous models, with wedge-shaped lines penned by Harris Mann adding to its distinct appearance. With its pop-up headlights and the swage line that swept up sharply, it did conjure up a positive vision for the brand’s future.
Its monocoque chassis afforded better dynamics too over its body-on-frame predecessors, while a convertible variant styled by Michelotti that joined later added to its appeal.
However, as was the case with most British cars of the time, the build quality was extremely bad. Problems between workers and the management led to strikes and disruptions at the factory in Speke, which compounded the production quality issues. Several electrical and mechanical issues including short circuits, broken timing chains, and stuck headlight covers were reported widely, damaging the car’s reputation. Although later models assembled at the Canley and Solihull plants were reported to be better-made, the TR7’s image had already been dented beyond repair. The 2.0-litre inline four engine’s underwhelming performance didn’t help either.
Despite being one of the bestselling Triumphs, the TR7 was one of the last vehicles sold by Triumph in export markets, and was discontinued in 1981, just three years before the brand itself became defunct.