1976 Triumph TR7 Coupe with 16 valve Dolomite Sprint engine. This tribute car has been finished in factory rally livery.
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It is a rust-free car, as it lived in New Mexico from new until I bought it in 2014 and brought it to New England. The car was originally British Racing Green, it now sports the previous owner’s interpretation of the factory rally livery. While the paint shines well, but if you look for imperfections in the prep you will find them. Obviously the bodywork was done by an amateur, but other than the drivers door the imperfections are only really noticeable if you are looking for them.
This is a real Dolomite Sprint engine, not just a head that was imported and put on a TR7 shortblock. Huffaker Racing of Sonoma, CA imported a handful of new, zero miles engines from British Leyland for their TR7 racing program when the TR7’s first came out. They built up a few for customers who raced them, but when the V8 engine was homologated for racing, the 4-cylinder engine program immediately got shelved. A couple engines were left untouched, gathering dust in the corner of Huffaker’s shop. This was one of those stock, unmolested engines. Check out the receipt, the guy spent over $3200 on a ten year old car in 1986!
The guy didn’t do any work himself, so an impressive pile of receipts come with the car. It looks like the car has gone about 20,000 miles on the Sprint motor at this point. In 1990 a fast road cam was installed, I am assuming that is the same TriumphTune TT10106 cam that came in the car when I got it. I have since reverted to the stock cam, as the fast road cam was gave up too much low end torque for my liking. But the car really made power at higher revs!
The previous owner had Advanced Distributors rebuild the distributor. The SU HS6 carbs are what the Dolomite Sprint ran on from the factory, this set came from a TR4A or a Volvo. There was ample space for air filters, so I installed the deep K&N air filters. Thermostatically controlled electric fan. The car came with a homemade header that fouled the steering shaft, so I replaced it with a new Rimmer Bros. stainless steel header and Sports Exhaust system made specifically for putting Sprint motors in TR7’s. Great burble, not too loud.
I was starting to hear timing chain noise and had all the bits to do a timing chain service, so that was just completed. The slipper pads on the Reynolds tensioner and guide rails are barely scored, backing up my theory on mileage, but the tensioner had stopped advancing allowing the chain to start slapping the long guide rail. No harm done and it is all quiet under the timing cover again.
I had the engine out to freshen up the engine compartment, so I installed a new clutch less than 1000 miles ago. The gearbox shifts well. The differential is a 3.90 so acceleration is quite snappy, and the gearing really highlights the engine torque at speed.
Koni shocks and struts, I set them on the soft side. Really nice compromise on handling vs. ride quality. Woody’s lowered springs, poly bushes, etc. New ball joints, tie rod ends, front and rear wheel bearings. The car sits on stock TR8 alloys with Federal 205/60R13 summer tires. TR8 front brake calipers with new pads and rotors, the car stops really well. The car is tight, handles like a go-kart.
New interior including door panels, doglegs and rear panel, plus a new fiberglass rear shelf and new headliner. Sound deadening material installed covering the entire roof, rear bulkhead and shelf. Carpets were new when I got the car. Seats are comfortable with the original swede covers, I believe at some point they must have replaced the foam as the southwest climate would have dried them out by now. I pulled the dash out to repair issues, replaced the fuse box, heater ducting, etc. Things work as they should, all but the rear window defogger. It is an A/C car with all the engine compartment A/C components long gone.
I have lots spent on parts and countless hours of my time to make this a solid driver. The final step with this car is attention to the paintwork. The previous owner supplied all the paperwork on the paint colors, so if you wanted to work with what is there, the color match should not be a problem. If you really liked the paint scheme, redoing the white only would get you almost to the finish line in having a very presentable car, a couple spots where the green would need a little attention will get you there.
The car comes with a couple shelves of TR7 spares including the fast road spec camshaft, Sprint specific gaskets including 2 Payen head gaskets, the used timing chain, tensioner, rails and cam sprocket, the homemade header that came on the car, (4) stock TR7 steel wheels with old Autocross rubber installed, (5) Avon tires that would be killer on an Autocross course, 2 pairs of rear axle shafts, starter motors, switches, etc.
I recently finished another project with a tin top, and have come to the conclusion I only need one fun car that does can’t go top down!
I also have a set of gold Panasport Ultralite wheels – 13X7 that came on the car when I bought it. A matching set of 205X60R13 tires is mounted, good tread but old. Asking $600 for the set, includes the lug nuts.
Some interesting reading on the how the TR7 Sprint almost became reality!