In Defense of the TR7

When I received the Spring edition of “Moss Motoring,” I was delighted when I saw the article “Afterthoughts on the TR7” listed on the cover. I thought, Finally, some credit is to be given to the Wedge! My delight turned to anger and despair when I read the feature, as “Afterthoughts” turned out to be another totally unenlightened bashing of the TR7 (and 8, although not mentioned).

The author, Alan Norris, stated no positive facts about the TR7. Instead, once again, I had to hear the sad story on how British Leyland pulled the rug out from under the new MG and went ahead and built this demon car that apparently destroyed British motoring for sports car lovers everywhere. Well, once again, I guess I’ll have to come to the defense of the TR7 and put to rest some misinformation that has been circulating for years.

First of all, Mr. Norris stated the ugliness of the Wedge. Well, it certainly seems to be a type of ugliness that has survived into the ’90s and probably into the 21st century. Look around. It seems that every new car design from the last 20 years has copied the TR7. Chrysler has recently produced the cab forward concept. Triumph had it in 1975! The first time I saw a commercial for the TR7 on TV, I fell in love—it truly was the shape of things to come—but I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Mr. Norris’s essay about the TR7 somehow turned into an article about the MGs never built, and he never mentioned whether he had ever driven a TR7. If he had, I’m sure he would have mentioned that the road handling performance of the TR7 equals vehicles that are $30,000-$40,000 more expensive. Mr. Norris also didn’t say that Madison Avenue marketed the TR7 to the youth market—”buy this car for your daughter for a graduation present!” He also never mentioned that this totally revolutionary car had the very dated, poor workmanship Lucas electrical system in it. Americans like cars that start in the rain! He also must be unaware that when TR7s are on display at car shows with their British counterparts, it’s the 7s that seem to draw the crowds of admirers, especially young people.

Admittedly, TR7s were not very well constructed at first. There were labor problems and design flaws. However, this is common in the auto industry. Have you ever owned a first-year Ford model? The 7’s problems were corrected and by the later years it was a fine running and very comfortable vehicle.

I have owned two TR7s, and like any other 20-year-old car, things go wrong. The main point is they are fabulous to drive—it’s fun just to go down to the store in it, as well as driving it down the highway.

So please, once and for all, stop blaming the TR7 for the demise of British Leyland. It was the product of poor marketing, management and labor. The same outcome might have occurred had they built the mystical MG “Magna!”

—Jeff Moulton, Rochester, NY.

P.S. Maybe I will meet with Mr. Norris at the Albany Triumph Convention in July?

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