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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/11/13 8:47 p.m.

This weekend I saw a couple of nice TR8s at a British car show. Aside from Morgan and maybe a few others, the TR8 can pretty much be called the last traditional Little British Car. As a bonus, it has a V8 and was produced in rather limited numbers--like less than 2800, right? Oh, and the top goes down and many received factory fuel injection.

I realize their place in history has some debate, but there's still a good argument for collectibility. So, why have prices hovered around $10,000 for decades? At some point, they have to increase in value, right?

spitfirebill
spitfirebill UberDork
4/12/13 7:17 a.m.

Would you people just shut the hell up about TR-8s?????

The prices of 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s are so high I can't afford them any more. Leave this one alone as I don't have one yet.

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
4/12/13 7:33 a.m.

I think $10k is over reaching to almost being delusional. Because an item (car, plane, shoes) has a core group of followers with a fetish; doesn't mean it's collectable.

But what do I know?

spitfirebill
spitfirebill UberDork
4/12/13 8:29 a.m.

914Driver

I think his point is, it is a small British car with a V8. Look at where Tigers and Cobras are now.

Ian F
Ian F PowerDork
4/12/13 9:19 a.m.

Dunno... I'd love a nice TR8 spider. Everything I've read says the TR7/8 was the most daily-friendly of all Triumphs. Hopefully the prices will still be affordable when I have room for one.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill UberDork
4/12/13 11:14 a.m.

Ian I've heard the same thing and hope the same thing.

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
4/12/13 11:27 a.m.

You may be right, but in my mind TR8s aren't in the same class as Tigers and Cobras. Perhaps they are; there's just something about them that makes me think they''re outside that box.

Dan

spitfirebill
spitfirebill UberDork
4/12/13 11:50 a.m.

Dan I agree with you. There is little in the same box as the Cobra. It was a great car in its own right, right fom the start. But the Sunbeam Tiger was a scorned car for many years. "They didn't handle well, they weren't fast, they were just an Alpine with a big motor, the brakes aren't good enough, they aren't Cobras", yada yada yada. We have couple of 260 Tigers in our club and they aren't THAT impressive (but I sure would like too have one). The later modified ones (302... boooo) are death traps.

BTW I had the chance to buy a Tiger with a hardtop while in college (1973ish) for $400.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
4/12/13 12:50 p.m.
914Driver wrote: I think $10k is over reaching to almost being delusional. Because an item (car, plane, shoes) has a core group of followers with a fetish; doesn't mean it's collectable. But what do I know?

They are really better drivers then any of the other TRs before it.

Jaxmadine
Jaxmadine HalfDork
4/12/13 8:12 p.m.

They are worth 4k tops in my book. But I got my tr4a for 500, so who am I to talk? Still need to talk my dad into selling the silly project...

impster
impster Reader
4/13/13 5:24 a.m.

There is a small but very dedicated group of enthusiasts who do feel these are great cars, especially for the money. When I went shopping for a V8 British car, I wanted either a Tiger (having been a Sunbeam owner of 30+ yrs) or a Daimler SP250 (talk about quirky but cool). However, both had already climbed beyond my meager budget. That is why I ended up with a TR8 in my garage. Yes, it is ignored when parked amongst other LBCs. But on the street, I get a surprising number of younger people inquiring about it. And it definitely makes all the right V8 noises.

A great deal for a great running car that is comfortable. Mine is a keeper and I plan to start a bare metal restoration this summer. As I approach retirement, I look forward to crusing in it into the sunset.

TR8owner
TR8owner Reader
4/13/13 1:39 p.m.

I have a TR8 and am building up another for vintage racing. It makes no sense to me not so much why TR8's are priced so low, but instead why other cars are priced so high. Its beyond me why TR6's, MGB's or for that matter Porsche 914's would be selling for more than a TR8. The TR8 has everything going for it - V8, low production and an excellent race/rally history. But as a TR8 owner I'm perfectly happy flying under the radar.

I also owned a Sunbeam Tiger. The TR8 is a much, much better car. Certainly far more practical as a daily driver.

TR8owner
TR8owner Reader
4/13/13 1:51 p.m.

"But what do I know?"

Obviously not much about wedges. But then I don't know anything about VW engined Porsches either. :-)

TR8owner
TR8owner Reader
4/13/13 2:34 p.m.

Well some TR8's are getting respect. $82,000 for this ex rally car on ebay. I wonder what the ex Group 44 or Ken Slagle racers would sell for?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Works-Triumph-TR7-V8-Rally-Car-Ex-Per-Eklund-John-Buffum-1-19-BUILT-/271067442188?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item3f1ce0ec0c#ht_2807wt_1106

wspohn
wspohn Reader
4/13/13 3:08 p.m.

I've driven but not owned TR8s in both carb and injected form. Not that powerful - certainly not as much as the V8 label would lead many to expect, but a decent touring car.

Nonetheless, there is no way I'd own one of those rubber lipped flying doorstops. They were a betrayal of Triumph heritage and a cop out as far as what they could have been, and they just don't appeal to me.

TR8owner
TR8owner Reader
4/13/13 4:40 p.m.

They had I believe around 138 hp in the day, but that was an era of choking emissions and fugly bumpers. The Datsun Z cars had become slow and bloated, Porsche 924's were dogs and even the Corvette was only producing 175 hp. The more modern bored out versions of that 3.5 V8 in the Range Rovers were getting 200 hp or so once they'd figured out the fuel injection and emissions. I figure I'm getting about 225 hp out of my street car and that didn't require huge effort - 4 bbl carb, headers, 3/4 cam and slightly higher CR pistons. The Group 44 TR8's that dominated SCCA Trans-Am and the IMSA GTO class was getting around 400 hp as was Ken Slagle's SCCA C-Production/GT1 racer. I believe the very successful rally cars that John Buffum and Euros raced were around 300 hp or so.

As far as being a "betrayal" of Triumph heritage, if you mean moving away from a frame/body and a buckboard ride, then you're right, and that IMHO was a good thing. The wedges were actually by far the best riding/handling Triumphs ever made. I owned a TR4 and TR6 and there is no comparison.

Where they really missed the boat was not introducing the original TR7 with the Dolomite Sprint 16v head instead of the 8v. It was a direct bolt on that would have met emissions and would have been a very potent 2.0 litre. The car was introduced with that contraversial turret top, but that was when it looked as if the convertible would be banned. The plan was to introduce the convertible and the TR8 much sooner but a combination of labor strikes and incompetent management delayed this by a few years. In the end BL folded and only about 2800 TR8's were produced. About 120,000 TR7's were produced so it was by far the best selling of all the TR's. About 80 TR7's with the 16v Sprint head engines were produced and only for the home UK market, so you can imagine how collectible they are becoming. My next project after the TR8 vintage racer will be to convert a regular TR7 into a 16v replica.

I really wish all wedge naysayers would read "Triumph TR7 The Untold Story" by David Knowles(also includes TR8). Tells the entire story and makes you realize what could have been

tr8todd
tr8todd HalfDork
4/15/13 5:49 a.m.

I'd spend day and night telling everybody that would listen how wonderful these cars can be for the money. I'd love to tell you all about the 6 TR8s I have in my garage right now. I'd love to tell you how a stock TR8 just isn't that special of a car, but with just a few simple performance upgrades, the car transforms into something truly exceptional. But, honestly, I don't want anybody else to know, or the next one I buy will be much more expensive. I don't need that, so you guys can keep on thinking your Miatas are great little cars. Mr Miata guy, I am laughing so hard at you right now. Good thing your not sitting next to me.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill UberDork
4/15/13 8:24 a.m.
TR8owner wrote: Well some TR8's are getting respect. $82,000 for this ex rally car on ebay. I wonder what the ex Group 44 or Ken Slagle racers would sell for? http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Works-Triumph-TR7-V8-Rally-Car-Ex-Per-Eklund-John-Buffum-1-19-BUILT-/271067442188?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item3f1ce0ec0c#ht_2807wt_1106

That one has the Buffum factor.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill UberDork
4/15/13 8:26 a.m.
tr8todd wrote: I'd spend day and night telling everybody that would listen how wonderful these cars can be for the money. I'd love to tell you all about the 6 TR8s I have in my garage right now. I'd love to tell you how a stock TR8 just isn't that special of a car, but with just a few simple performance upgrades, the car transforms into something truly exceptional. But, honestly, I don't want anybody else to know, or the next one I buy will be much more expensive. I don't need that, so you guys can keep on thinking your Miatas are great little cars. Mr Miata guy, I am laughing so hard at you right now. Good thing your not sitting next to me.

Stifle it Edith!

Andy Reid
Andy Reid Auction Editor
4/15/13 1:42 p.m.

Why do nice examples of the TR8 still sell for $10,000? Read the above comments and you will know why. These cars were, and still are, polarizing in the extreme to sports car fans. Another reason is that MANY cars are modified, often poorly. This is exactly what was going on with Tigers a few years ago. These cars are very good cars, the best driving of all Triumph cars for comfort and handling. They are, as David stated above, very rare, with only a total of 2,715 and that includes prototypes and racing cars. Compare that to the Sunbeam Tiger, which had a production of 7,034 and the TR8 then looks like a great deal for the money. In my opinion, there are few more interesting cars that you can buy for only 10K. Lots of people say that these cars will never appreciate beyond that number, but those same people said exactly that about Jensen Interceptors when they sold for 10K and those same cars are now selling for 25k. my advice, get one now.

TR8owner
TR8owner HalfDork
4/15/13 8:50 p.m.

I've seen a lot of modified TR8's. Its pretty standard to if nothing else, drop on a 4 bbl and a set of headers, let the engine breath and gain another 40 hp or so without doing anything else. Others have been made into serious hot rods, but do be honest, although there may be the odd one out there, I have yet to see a poorly modified TR8. But if you're talking about modified TR7's, that can be a different story. When I had my Tiger 20 yrs ago there were a lot more goofy Tiger mods and converted Alpines.

tr8todd
tr8todd HalfDork
4/16/13 6:57 a.m.

I've seen some with some poorly done interiors and some questionable paint schemes. But how much can I really criticize someone's decision to do away with a stock interior that came from the factory in differing shades of plaid. My ITS race car still has the stock green and yellow plaid. Pretty cool in my opinion, but I can see that it might not be everybody's cup of tee.

wspohn
wspohn Reader
4/16/13 1:56 p.m.
Andy Reid wrote: In my opinion, there are few more interesting cars that you can buy for only 10K. Lots of people say that these cars will never appreciate beyond that number, but those same people said exactly that about Jensen Interceptors when they sold for 10K and those same cars are now selling for 25k. my advice, get one now.

I'd be glad to give you a great deal at significantly less than $25K on a nice Interceptor, unless you are talking about the convertibles, in which case you are probably low.

The TR-8 IS a great value, there is no real dispute about that. They have rarity and a V8 engine going for them. It's just that having driven both stock and improved cars, they simply don't appeal to me. Obviously, given the continued lower than expected pricing, I am not the only one that feesl that way.

A propos that discussion, I have never quite understood the Tiger attraction. Those cars were conceived as a more powerful touring car that could go head to head with things like the big Austin Healeys, and had no real aspirations to go looking for XKEs. Nonetheless, the owners (who around here, anyway, seem to be overwhelmingly Chinese) insist on hot rodding them. Can't remember the last time I saw one with the original 260 engine (less than 10% used the 289)

Alan Cesar
Alan Cesar Associate Editor
4/16/13 2:31 p.m.

This is interesting. http://jacksonville.craigslist.org/cto/3736780356.html

TR8owner
TR8owner HalfDork
4/16/13 3:41 p.m.

That's a TR7 with what I'll guess is a Ford 302 judging by the photo? I've seen TR7's with Chev/Ford V8's, Mazda rotary engines and even one with a Buick Grand National V6.

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