Classic Car Overview
1980 Triumph TR8 Roadster As an astute TR fan, owner (a TR-6 and TR-250) I remember when the last of the TR series was being introduced as The Shape of Things To Come that being the wedge shape. The TR7 sold more examples than the entire TR series history combined, so it was a real hit. Problem was it was nagged with engine problems and somewhat lackluster performance, so in a last gasp effort British Leyland made the final leap to the TR8. For consignment, a rare example due to numbers of a mere 2,346 actually being built, we give you the Triumph TR8. This would be the last of the TRs but definitely the best, as to power reliability, and overall quality of construction. Trouble was they got it right and only 2,346 were made! This example survives and is very much alive and kicking with its 3.5 Rover V8, dual Stromberg SCDSET carbs and not a speck of rust. Reading on will definitely show you the shape of things to come! Exterior A wonderful repaint of Midas Gold now covers the straight steel panels of this wedged car. Hidden headlights and an integrated bumper lets you slice your way through the air, all the while looking sporty doing it. A steeply raked rearward windscreen picks up where the bonnet leaves off and frames the passenger compartment with plenty of room even with the vinyl convertible top up. Speaking of which it is in black and has clear rear plastic windows, and I might add folds nice and smoothly into the rear cowl. In back the trunk is nice and smooth, and lower back we see a large black crash bumper protects the rear of the car and shows dual exhaust tips sneaking a look out from underneath. 13-inch 8 square spoke magnesium racing wheels are on all 4 corners, and are wrapped with like new radials. Interior A swing of the door and I can only ask Shall we shag now or shall we shag later?! with the groovy multiple warm tone woven plaid pattern surrounded by butterscotch vinyl on the door panels. Black knobs and flush mounted door openers are mounted here as well, along with the obligatory ash tray courtesy light and stereo speaker. Slipping inside more groovy baby plaid insert buckets with butterscotch bolsters and high backs with headrests. Decidedly British with the color and pattern. The dash has been well thought out and has the iconic Smiths instruments peppering the cluster. An aftermarket Sony AM/FM/Cassette stereo head unit is in the central console as well as temp and fan control sliders, and the leather booted shift lever cover. More butterscotch padded sides to this console, and a padded glovebox cover which doubles as an armrest shared by the passengers. Gold carpet in nice clean condition floods the floors, and the original tri metal spoke steering wheel is fronting the dash. Drivetrain Engine Type: OHV V-8, cast-aluminum block and cylinder heads, cast-iron crankshaft... Displacement: 3.5 liters Bore x stroke: 88.9mm x 71.12mm Compression ratio: 8.1:1 Horsepower @ RPM: 137 @ 5,000 Torque @ RPM: 174-lbs.ft. @ 3,000 Valvetrain: Self-adjusting hydraulic valve lifters Main bearings. Carburation: Courtesy Dual Stromberg SCDSET carburetors. Electrical system: 12-volt, Mallory dual-point distributor, Delco alternator Exhaust system: Dual, twin catalytic converters. On back a manual transmission, Type: Jaguar Rover Triumph five-speed manual, single-plate dry clutch Ratios: 1st 3.321:1 2nd: 2.087:1 3rd: 1.396:1 4th: 1.000:1 5th: 0.833:1 Reverse: 3.428:1. And finally on back the rear axle: type: Hypoid, semi-floating Ratio: 3.08:1 Undercarriage CHASSIS & BODY Type: Two-seat, two-door roadster Structure Unitized steel body with front subframe Layout: Front engine, rear-wheel drive. STEERING Type: Adwest rack and pinion, General Motors Saginaw power assist Turns, lock-to-lock: 2.8 Turning circle: 31.6 feet. BRAKES Type: Lockheed four-wheel hydraulic, dual master cylinder, split circuit Front: 9.75-inch solid discs, two-piston calipers Rear: 9-inch expanding drums. SUSPENSION Front: MacPherson struts, coaxial coil springs, anti-roll bar, KYB shocks Rear: Upper and lower trailing arms, coil springs, Koni Classic shocks. Drive-Ability I felt I had enough swag to slip into the shag zone and so I did! It fired right up with a thunderous deep throated roar, and after a slight warmup, was off like a palace guard at quitting time. The test track revealed neck snapping acceleration, awesome rail-like handling, smooth fast straight panic braking, and even a comfortable low RPM quiet cruise at highway speeds. A/C was working, but I put the top down, and was off to the races. A truly wonderful British sports car experience, totally different from my earlier version TRs. All in all a real performer, great looker and last and best version of the venerable TR series. Also, Id call it a rare bird with a mere 2,346 made, this one is all buttoned up and ready to turn the key and have some fun in the sun. Great paint, and snazzy interior, AND its a convertible. Im loving the shape of things right now!