Junkyard Find: 1976 Triumph TR7 Victory Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

I’ve been visiting car graveyards since I bought my first hooptie for 50 bucks in the early 1980s, and one thing about American junkyards has remained constant during the following four decades: the presence of 1970s British and Italian sports cars. Maybe they were a bit less weathered in 1987 or 1994 or 2006, but a steady trickle of discarded MGBs, 124 Sport Spiders, X1/9s, Jensen-Healeys, Spitfires, Midgets, and TR7s into U-Wrench yards has flowed at about the same rate throughout. That’s why I wasn’t surprised to discover this allegedly rare 1976 Triumph TR7 Victory Edition in a Denver-area yard last month.

The Victory Edition celebrated the TR7‘s domination of its SCCA division, and it included these stripes and emblems. Note the melted Lucas marker-light lens, which fared poorly in the Colorado sun (in defense of the Prince of Darkness, Speke is a lot gloomier).

The Victory Edition got a vinyl roof as well. Again, the Denver climate is rougher on car exteriors than the Speke climate.

The “competition-type spoker wheels” of the Victory Edition looked racy. Unfortunately, they were recalled for spoke failure; can’t use the Speke Defense on that one.

The interior is about as rough as you might expect. This 8-track sleeve suggests that the car got parked forever while Snif ‘n’ the Tears were still in the charts.

The dusty odometer shows just over 50,000 miles, which I believe to be accurate.

If you know how to turn a wrench and diagnose a haunted circuit, however, these cars can be great fun. This version of the Slant-Four engine (a close cousin of which went into most Saabs of the late 1960s through early 1990s) made 90 horsepower, not bad for a 2,400-pound car in 1976.

I’m pretty sure this sticker refers to one of the many now-defunct car dealerships on South Broadway in Englewood, just beyond the city limits of Denver and out of the reach of Denver County’s tax collectors.

I happened to bring along a 1910 Kodak modified with a pinhole lens and loaded with infrared film (as one does) that day at the junkyard, and it attempted to capture this British Leyland machine’s soul departing its body and beginning its journey back to Speke.

It holds the road like it has hands, and it goes like a bullet!

For links to more than 2,100 additional Junkyard Finds, Junkyard Gems, Junkyard Treasures, and Down On the Junkyard posts, visit the Junkyard Home of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • SharkDiver SharkDiver on May 11, 2021

    Grew up in the '60s and '70s in Denver with several buddies that drove TR7s and MBGs. They were fun, but I much preferred my 70 Chevelle SS 396. Love your posts Murilee!

  • Tstag Tstag on May 11, 2021

    I once owned an MG TF, which most readers on here won’t know too well as it was only sold in Europe. But it’s worth mentioning it was a long way ahead of the MX5 at the time, being mid engine with far superior handling. I wouldn’t have looked twice at a Miata, the TF was the best little sports car ever. BMW likes it so much that they refused to sell it in the US because they were worried it would take sales off the Z3

    • Jack Denver Jack Denver on May 12, 2021

      I don't think they were worried. Most auto mags rated it 2 stars out of 5 and auto mags are usually generous.

  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.
  • ToolGuy Also on to-do list: Read the latest Steve S. fiction work on TTAC (May 20 Junkyard Find)
  • 1995 SC I'm likely in the minority, but I really liked the last Eldorado best. That and the STS.