I had found advertised what seemed a 'cheap' British sports car in need of some TLC, so on Sunday 13th January 2002 I made a journey to see the TR7 convertible for sale in Worcester. After briefly having started to restore the 1980 dhc TR7 Chris said he now had to let it go.
Arrived... My first impressions? ...It looked very nice from the back..! Then I got a little closer and although things were looking a little more untidy it actually was not really that bad considering the age and asking price of the car.
A closer look at the underside revealed that the dreaded rot worm had to some degree taken hold of both sides of the rear floor sections behind the seats. A small area of excessive corrosion was also evident on the nearside front inner flitch panel. The original bonnet is badly eaten away at the leading edge. A pair of replacement rot free doors were already fitted.
The interior... about time for the bin...! ...Very tatty, not nice at all and certainly couldn't stay in a restored car.
The TR7 stood on all fours with some seemingly new looking alloy wheels, similar looking to minilites, there were very reasonable looking tyres fitted too. Small world or what?.... The receipts indicated that wheels were bought from a shop my home town in Staffordshire, shipped to Scotland by mail order. Now, the wheels have returned to their home town together with the car they are fitted to.
This TR7 was to come with an enormous bundle of receipts, V5 (log book) copies, together with a HPI condition alert and outstanding finance check. According to the HPI check, the car had been colour changed in 1983 from blue to red.
A quick drive up the road to check the condition of the 5 speed box and live axle and those seemed fine. I did notice however even on that short drive there was a notable unsteadiness at the rear end when driven under load on a lock. More will no doubt be revealed in time when the axle and suspension are removed. Mechanically in the engine bay it seemed reasonable.
The TR7 had at some time been fitted with a Dolomite Sprint engine.
After some negotiation with Chris we managed to bring the price down from the asking price of £600 to £475.
On 20th January 2002 I made about a 40 mile trip to Worcester again to collect the TR. Having got home I started to go through the history that came with the car. Owners in Scotland had kept the car from at least 1988 until now.
The last MoT carried out on the TR was in September 2001. This was carried out by a Garage in Kincadineshire, Scotland. Other than the structural condition already noted there was very little else on the MoT that was of a major concern. I had been an MoT Tester myself for around 14 years and was a little surprised by a couple of comments made by the Tester on the VT30. However, those failure items plus countless future hours of restoration have now ended up in my hands to sort out.
Looking through the paperwork in more detail, the TR had lots of money spent at Rimmer Bros. over a period. Receipts showed that the engine had been partly rebuilt with new bearings. New Starter motor and Clutch Master and Slave cylinders were added. A new OE spec hood had been fitted (badly). A couple of batteries. Various mechanical brake and suspension components were fitted. Some body panels had been replaced and the list goes on..!
Now though the hard work is about to begin. The plan is to strip the TR down to the bodyshell. All the interior seating, carpet and panels which are in pretty poor condition will be discarded and the TR coachwork will be taken back to it's original colour of Aqua Blue. When the TR is finally painted (which could take some time yet..!) the current blue checked interior would almost certainly be replaced with biscuit coloured leather. The cost of replacement trim will see in excess of £1000, but this option
will either make or break what will be a nice restoration project when finished. My TR7 site.