1/17/11 7:14 p.m.


I am new to this forum but have subscribed to the mag on and off for years...I'm now back.

I have an opportunity to purchase a 1980 Triumph TR8 carbed car. I have always loved the TR7&8 style and wanted a TR8 since I saw my high school science teacher's TR8 in 1980, one of those life changing moments. The car in question is said to run and drive well but I haven't seen that yet. The body needs paint, has a little rust on the left front rocker, left rear wheel arch, and a spot of bondo on the right rear fender. The interior looks okay but would need to be replaced at some point. The car looks to not have been modified at all. From the looks of the paint it has sat outside a good bit.

About 17 years ago I pulled a 1970 Mk3 Spitfire out of a junk yard and did a basic restoration. It was really a challenge to see how much I could do myself. In the end I rebuilt the engine and gearbox, suspension, painted the car and even made my own seat covers. The Spit was my daily driver for about a year and could be again. So I'm not afraid of the work.

Here is the problem. I can afford to get the car but the restoration will be long and slow due to funds being tight (kids in college). The wife says to get the car and work on it slowly, that a least I would have the car even if it takes longer to restore. The truth is I love the process of bringing a car back as much as anything. If I get the TR8 I can't decide if I should sell the Spitfire or would I kick myself later.

Here are my questions. Does the description of the TR8 sound like a project that makes sense (yeah I know it's an emotional decision) if the purchase price is right? What specifics on the car should I be looking at (I'm not a uni-body guy)? Will I hate myself down the road if I sell the Spitfire? Do I have a great wife or what?

Thanks for reading...Bill

tr8todd Reader
1/17/11 7:50 p.m.

Let me start by saying I love TR8s. I have three TR8s now as well as two former race cars that are in pieces waiting to be put back together. Add to that another half a dozen or so TR8s that came and went. You should buy the best one you can afford. Restoring a TR8 is a money losing proposition, even for someone like me that has a garage full of spare parts and the ability to do every part of the restoration. Modified ones are more fun to drive and much easier to work on, but those parts start adding up quickly. If you have a chance, you should befriend some TR8 owners and take a ride in different cars. Get a feel for the different levels of performance relative to the amount of mods done to the car. A stock TR8 compared to even a modestly modified TR8 is night and day. A highly modified one is truly a remarkable sports car. Where you live and the number of TR8s in your area are going to be a major factor in whether or not you should purchase the car. At the very least, you should try to have the car looked at by someone familiar with TR8s.

1/18/11 9:02 a.m.

I tend to dismiss the money down the drain aspect by declaring that this hobby is still cheaper than gold or drinking with the buds in a bar.

You seem to want a project and this sounds like it will fit the bill. Unless you enjoy the rust repair of the project, I would search for the best body possible. The mechanical side is pure plug and play and should pose no challenges to anyone who can do a tune-up.

If you want to drive one of these, save up your money and buy a ready to run car. It WILL be cheaper than the cost of purchase and restoration of any project.

Oh...and swap in an LS1 while you are in there.

tuna55 Dork
1/18/11 9:06 a.m.

Look at the prices for a fully restored perfectly running, even modified vehicle. TR8s just don't get very high, and it may not make financial sense to restore it yourself. Then again, we aren't doing this for financial gain. I can honestly say that I wish I hadn't started the restoration of my 72 GMC a few months before my first kid was born, it'll never get finished now that number three is on the way.

foxtrapper SuperDork
1/18/11 2:46 p.m.

Congratulate yourself for marrying a woman who supports your folly. Buy her some flowers on the way home tonight.

You don't say you love the Spitfire. In fact, you're tellingly silent about that car. One could easily surmise you wouldn't mind sending it on its way for a different project.

Go look at this TR8. If it does indeed make your heart go pitter-patter, get it. Drive it as it is and enjoy it.

If you're in it for the money (and I don't think you are), certainly save your pennies and buy a better one. But if you just want a TR8 to play with, and this is a good runner at an affordable entry fee, go ahead. It's not like you're wasting tens of thousands of dollars.

BillM New Reader
1/18/11 3:57 p.m.

Actually I am pretty attached to the Spitfire. I have had the car for 17 years. My son, who is also 17, says that he can't imagine not having the spit in the garage. I love the idea of another project. I think the most fun long term thing I have ever done was rebuilding the spitfire. So if I get the TR8 do I keep the Spit and make it my daily driver again while I work on the TR8....I think so. And yes my wife is amazing. So is my mother in law because she talked me into buying the spitfire shortly after my son was born.

Thanks to everyone for their help!

1/18/11 9:28 p.m.

If you love the wedge, go for the TR8. If the rust is only cosmetic and not structural, no big deal. It will be a labor of love, but you'll get more respect than a TR7 owner!

Leo  Basile
Leo Basile Reader
1/18/11 11:32 p.m.


Leo  Basile
Leo Basile Reader
1/19/11 9:23 a.m.

Regardless of the value of the TR8 it cool factor is high, as well as the neat factor. Neat factor meaning that you just dont see good Wedges running around. And just like all the other 4 cyl cars that had V8s as options or evolutions, they are always the most sought after and talked about.

Has anybody ever said 'Id take an Alpine any day over a Tiger.'? LOL


lasttr New Reader
1/20/11 2:30 p.m.

I love my TR8. It's unrestored and little rough around the edges, but basically solid. It's had a little suspension and engine work. It's got power, handling, comfort, and style. There is reasonable parts support and a great international club:

Get somebody who knows Wedges to inspect it for rust. Look underneath for structural damage, as well as topside. The sheetmetal is always the most important part of any old car purchase, but even more so with a unit body. If it passes that exam, grab it!


Raze Dork
1/20/11 3:24 p.m.


Then post lots of pictures, and take your time, no rush on restoring a classic, saving it is part of the fun, the other is fixing it, and the final is enjoying it (in motion or at rest)...

TR8owner New Reader
1/20/11 8:27 p.m.

Go for it, as long as its not a rust bucket. TR8 values have no where to go except up. I have a modified car and love its simplicity.

TR8owner New Reader
1/20/11 8:29 p.m.

A good book you may wish to pick up is "How to Restore Triumph TR7 & 8" by Roger Williams.

lasttr New Reader
1/26/11 4:15 p.m.

So Bill, we're dying to know. Did you buy the TR8?

BillM New Reader
1/26/11 9:09 p.m.

Yep brought her home last Friday. Now I just have to study up a bit and make a plan on how to bring it back to life. Should I do a rolling restoration like I did with my Spitfire or just dive in and take it all apart? I'll post a pic as soon as I figure out how.

Thanks for everyone's insight. Oh and I'm really excited about this project and yes I have sat in the drivers seat while going brumm brumm've done it too.

Raze Dork
1/27/11 6:48 a.m.

pics or it didn't happen

lasttr New Reader
1/27/11 1:01 p.m.

Bill, if you haven't already discovered it, TWOA is a great resource.

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