Junkyard Find: 1976 Triumph TR7 Victory Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1976 triumph tr7 victory edition

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™.

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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.

  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
  • Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.