The car had always looked OK from across the road, but a closer inspection would reveal the previous owners welded patches, and the fact that the doors have been repaired and aren't aligned quite right, and the rust bubbles on the rear deck seams, etc etc etc. Under the bonnet the welded patches on the inner wings and turrets were very obvious. It was all sound but not too pretty.
When I took it to my local
garage for its MOT they noticed something else that I hadn't spotted.
The flat tops of those rear chassis rails under the boot floor were
starting to bubble. I had never looked at them before but there was no
mistaking the first signs trouble when you ran your hand along the top.
I treated them with some rust killer and paint immediately but it meant
the bodyshell would need some proper attention if it was going to last
for many more years.
A couple of days after the MOT, as I was
walking past the local garage they called me in and asked if I knew
anyone who wanted a TR7. It was local, been stored for years and the
owner wanted rid of it.................
To cut a long story short I suddenly found myself with two TR7's
"new" car was from 1981, Carmine Red and had done only 23000 miles.
It was Zeibarted from new but had still needed door skins, sills and
wheelarches done in the mid 1990's. The owner had lost his garage a
couple of years previously and I think the car had been moved around
lockups. The hood had split and closer examination also revealed it had got wet at sometime as
the interior was not too good. The panel repairs were good quality and the boot lid and bonnet were both good as new but it would need a respray to get it looking just right.
The plan would be to get the body painted and fitted out nicely, then change over all my good mechanical stuff with the new poly bushes, springs, dampers etc. I also had plans to install a Sprint 16 valve engine.
The Sprint Option
Ever since I first had the TR7, people asked me when I was going to put a V8 in the car, but I always liked the Sprint option better. A few of my reasons are:-
1..it is a lot less work therefore cheaper.
2..the Sprint engine has over 130bhp, similar to the standard V8 engine.
3..no changes to the bodyshell or gearing required.
4..there are loads of TR7 V8's about but not many Sprints.
5..the factory started making the TR7 Sprint but it never went into full production.
Its worth noting that all the TR7 factory rally cars were Sprint powered up until 1979.