Triumph TR8

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Triumph TR8
Joes8Coupe.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Triumph Motor Company
Production 1978–1981
Assembly Speke, Merseyside, England
Canley, West Midlands, England
Solihull, West Midlands, England
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Body style 2-door convertible coupe
Layout FR layout
Related Triumph TR7
Powertrain
Engine 3,528 cc (3.5 l) V8
Transmission 5-speed manual[1]
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,160 mm (85.0 in)[1]
Length 4,067 mm (160.1 in)[1]
Width 1,681 mm (66.2 in)[1]
Height 1,267 mm (49.9 in)[1]
Curb weight 1,203.9 kg (2,654 lb)[2]
Chronology
Predecessor Triumph TR7
Triumph TR8

The Triumph TR8 is an eight-cylinder version of the "wedge-shaped" Triumph TR7 sports car, designed by Harris Mann, and manufactured by British Leyland (BL), through its Jaguar/Rover/Triumph (JRT) division. Because of its outstanding performance, the TR8 was often dubbed the "English Corvette".[3] The majority of TR8s were sold in the United States and Canada.

Background[edit]

A more powerful V8-engined version of the TR7 was planned in the early stages of the TR7's development, a prototype being produced in 1972.[4] However, British Leyland's financial state, labour problems and lack of engines---as MG and Range Rover had first priority---delayed the project. By 1978 some 145 prototype cars were built with V8 engines (and usually automatic transmissions). These "anonymous" TR8s (no identifying badges, and all coupes) were evaluated for British Leyland by various dealers and then sold off as used cars.

Description[edit]

The TR8 did not use Triumph's own single overhead cam V8 as found in the Stag due to its weight and service record but instead shared its Rover V8 engine with the Rover SD1. The engine itself was derived from an early 1960s Buick/Oldsmobile all-aluminum V8 215 cu in (3.52 L) that Rover acquired from General Motors in the mid-60s.

History has shown this engine to be an extremely reliable, flexible, and robust powerplant, especially after BL developed a better manufacturing process. TR8s were initially fitted with twin Zenith-Stromberg carburetors. However, about 400 1980 models sold in California, all 1981 models---of which only 352 were produced including twenty carbed cars for the UK market---and all 1982 models (of which all seventy went to Canada)[5] featured a Bosch L-jetronic fuel injection system with a specially designed Lucas fuel injection computer (ECU).[6] The carburetor model was rated at 133 bhp (99 kW; 135 PS) (at around 5000 rpm) and the fuel injected at either 137[7] or possibly 148 bhp[8] delivering 0–60 mph times in the low 8 seconds.[9] Other differences between the TR8 and TR7 are upgraded brakes, revised axle ratio (3.08:1 on the TR8 and all automatic TR7s), battery moved to the trunk (boot), alloy wheels, leather steering wheel and a few minor trim changes.

Production[edit]

TR8 coupes based on the original Harris Mann TR7 design made from 1978 to 1980 are quite rare; it is estimated that only about 400 TR8 coupes ever existed---this number from records kept by members of the North America-based wedge club, the Triumph Wedge Owners Association. To the roughly 150 pre-production coupes mentioned above, another 250 or so coupes were produced, some sold in Canada as 1979 models but most ended up being held back and then finally sold in the US as 1980 models. In 1979, a long awaited Michelotti re-designed TR7 Drophead (convertible) was introduced, and all subsequent production TR8s were convertibles.[10] Total worldwide production, as best as can be determined throughout all the labour turmoil at the time, is only around 2750, give or take a "handful". (Enthusiast Richard Connew went through the records at British Motor Heritage Industry Trust and counted 2746.) Other estimates exist. The German version of this page claims 2722 and cites the TR Register-Austria as source; 2815 is the number quoted in an article from Classic & Sports Car, March 1986 and in William Kimberley's 1981 book[11] as well. Both the TR7 and TR8 were made until October 1981 when production ceased.

Very few genuine TR8s exist outside of the United States and Canada. In other countries the TR7 is often converted to a "TR7V8" with the same ubiquitous Buick/Rover 3.5 litre V8 powerplant used in original factory TR8s. In Australia a popular TR7V8 conversion is to use the 4416 cc version of this engine that had been developed for the Leyland P76.

In North America, the TR8 originally sold for around $11,000. A current rough estimate of the number of these cars remaining taken from the Triumph Wedge Owners Association registry of unique VINs), current Triumph Wedge Owners Association membership records, the World Wide TR7 TR8 Owners Club, and the TR Drivers Club UK is around 1000 convertibles and 200 coupes.

As of Q1 2011 there were approximately seventeen licensed and 33 SORN TR8s registered with the DVLA. Out of these fifty cars, only two are automatic.[12][13]

Motorsport[edit]

TR8 racer on display at the Canadian International Autoshow.

Despite their low production numbers, TR8s have an interesting racing history. John Buffum successfully raced one as a rally car in the late 1970s. Bob Tullius of Group 44 fame dominated SCCA racing in 1979 in one, so much so that the SCCA added enough "reward" weight to the car that Tullius left Trans Am and successfully competed in IMSA GT instead. TR8s ran successfully in the SCCA's showroom stock series being campaigned by Morey Doyle (Regionals) and Ted Schumacher (Nationals). Schumacher had great success in the Playboy/Escort Endurance series with his car. Starting the last race of the year, Schumacher was fourth in the overall point standings (just three points away from first) when an accident ruined their chances; nevertheless, Schumacher still ended up seventh in the manufacturer's points for that year, all with no official factory help. Presently, at least three cars are being run in SCCA's ITS class. Morey Doyle and his son Andy run their TR8s in the Midwest Region. Jeff Young runs his green TR8 in the Southeast Division with numerous regional race wins and the 2011 Southeast Division SARRC ITS championship, running against over seventy other drivers in Mazda RX7s, Miatas, 240/260/280zs, BMW 325is, Porsche 944s and Acura Integras.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "1979 Triumph TR8". carfolio.com. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  2. ^ "1980 Triumph TR8 DHC". conceptcarz.com. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  3. ^ "Triumph TR8 3.5 V8". www.autosnout.com. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  4. ^ William Kimberley, The Complete Guide to the Triumph TR7 and TR8, Chap. 3, 1981
  5. ^ "The 1982 Model Year TR7's & 8's". www.tr8.com. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  6. ^ "FI Production Numbers, Spring 2012 Newsletter of the Triumph Wedge Owners Association". www.triumphwedgeowners.org. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  7. ^ Many early sources.
  8. ^ Factory brochure, April 1980 which is perhaps(!) the correct figure.
  9. ^ "Factory Brochure, Jaguar Rover Triumph". April 1980. 
  10. ^ Bill Piggott, Original Triumph TR7 & TR8, MBI Publishing, 2000
  11. ^ William Kimberley, The Complete Guide to the Triumph TR7 and TR8, Dalton Watson Ltd., London, 1981
  12. ^ "How Many Left web site". www.howmanyleft.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-07-17. 
  13. ^ "Vehicle licensing statistics". Department of Transport. Retrieved 2011-07-17. 

External links[edit]