Triumph TR7, TR7V8 & TR8 Information

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Friday, 27 June 2014 08:52

This identification guide was originally based on an article written by Paul Towle, past TR8 Registrar for the TR Drivers Club subsequently updated by Rex Holford, the current Registrar. Stewart Rendall provided clarification on a number of points including home market TR8 production history. Most of the information has been cross referenced with at least two separate sources, in an effort to establish some level of authenticity. Most notably various articles by Anders Clausager, current B.M.I.H.T. Archivist. 



QUICK INDEX

  • 1975-78, Speke-built cars (Prefix: ACG, ACH, ACL, ACN, ACT, ACW)
  • 1978-79, Canley-built cars (Prefix: TCG, TCN, TCT, TCV, TCW)
  • 1979-80, Canley-built car (Prefix: TP)
  • 1980-81, Solihull-built cars (Prefix SAT)
  • 1981, Solihull-built cars (Prefix: SAT, with check digit)
  • Note on production figures
  • Note on TR8 Coupe deliveries to the US.

 


1975-78, Speke-built cars

Production of US specification cars began in January 1975.
Production of cars for the home market, Europe and Australia began in May, 1976.
Production ended in May 1978.

Speke-built cars are identified by three letter prefix in front of the chassis number as follows.

1.      Assembly Plant:         A = Speke-Built
2.      Model Range:            C = TR7/8
3.      Specification:          L = 1975-76 model year North American coupe.
                                G = 1976-78 coupe for home market, Europe and Australia.
                                W = 1977-78 model year North American coupe.
                                H = 1977 TR7 Sprint coupe with four-valve engine.
                                N = TR7-V8 Coupe (for North America?), 1977-78 m.y.
                                T = 1978 TR7 Convertible, for North America.
4.     Chassis Number:          Varies in the number of digits
5.     Option suffixes:         U -  North American specification cars
                                L -  the other left-hand drive cars
                                F -  five speed gearbox fitted
                                A -  automatic transmission fitted
                                C -  exhaust control is fitted.
                                M -  Canadian specification
  1. 'ACL', 1975-76 model year North American coupe.
    	1975 m.y.: ACL 1 to 7248 (Jan 75 to Sept 75)
    	1976 m.y.: ACL 10001 to 34099 (Sept 75 to Oct 76)
    	Maximum production possible by chassis numbers: 29798 (31023)
    	
  2. 'ACG', 1976-78 coupe for home market, Europe and Australia.
    	ACG 1 to 4688 (Jun 75 to Oct 76) approx. 50 cars
    	ACG 10001 to 23406 (Oct 76 to Jun 77)
    	ACG 25001 to 27053 (Jun 77 to Aug 77)
    	ACG 35001 to 37661 (Aug 77 to May 78)
    	Maximum production possible by chassis numbers: 22808
    	
  3. 'ACW', 1977-78 model year North American coupe.
    	1977 m.y.: ACW 1 to 17115 (Sep 76 to May 77)
    	1978 m.y.: ACW 30001 to 33051 (Jun 77 on)
    	      and: ACW 40001 to 44328 (Aug 77 to May 78)
    	Maximum production possible by chassis numbers: 24494
    	
  4. 'ACH', 1977 TR7 16V Sprint coupe with four-valve engine.
    	ACN 1 to 700 (Feb 77 to Oct 77)
    	N.B. Not all numbers used. Max.  60 cars built Feb. - Oct. 1977.
    	
  5. 'ACN', Pilot Production TR8 Coupe (for North America?), 1977-78 m.y.
    	ACN 1 to 116 (Feb 77 to Oct 77)
    	N.B. Not all numbers used. Appr. 150 cars built Feb. - Oct. 1977.
    	
  6. 'ACT', 1978 Prototype Convertible, for North America.
    	ACT 1 to 110 (Apr 78 to May 78)
    	N.B. Not all numbers used. Appr. 10 cars built Apr. - May 1978.
    	

Total possible production by chassis numbers: 77320 (or 78545)
(Please note that each of these models with different prefixes had their own series of chassis numbers.)

Official British Leyland (BL) / Austin Rover production figures for TR7 range at Speke vary between 76081 and 76979. (It is quite possible that not all chassis numbers, even in the ACL/ACG/ACW series, were used)

The Speke plant was closed in 1978, all TR7 production having by this time been transferred to Canley.

 


1978-79, Canley-built cars

Production was transferred to Canley in October 1978 and continued to August 1980 when car assembly at Canley was stopped. As during this period there was a complete change in identification and numbering system, 78-79 and 79-80 cars will be dealt with separately.

1978-79 cars built at Canley are, similar to Speke-built cars, identified by a three letter prefix in front of the chassis number. The prefixes follow the same system as those on Speke-built cars, except that the first letter is now always 'T' which indicates Canley assembly. The Comm. Numbers can be decoded as follows:

1.      Assembly Plant:         T = Canley-Built
2.      Model Range:            C = TR7/8
3.      Specification:          G = TR7 coupe for home market/Europe/Australia.
				W = TR7 coupe for North American markets.
				N = TR8 coupe for North American markets.
				T = TR7 convertible for North American markets.
				V = TR8 convertible for the North American markets.
4.      Chassis Number:         (varies in the number of digits)
5.      Option suffixes:        U -  North American specification cars
				L -  the other left-hand drive cars
				F -  five speed gearbox fitted
				A -  automatic transmission fitted
				C -  exhaust control is fitted.

Another difference is that while different models of Speke-built cars each had their own distinctive series of chassis numbers, it would appear (when comparing with the official production figures) that different models built at Canley shared one chassis number series, or else that there were large gaps in the number series which have yet to be discovered. For this reason, the possible production figures by chassis numbers have not been quoted below.

  1. 'TCG', TR7 coupe for home market, Europe and Australia.
    	TCG 100001 to 114122 (Oct 78 to Oct 79)
    	
  2. 'TCW', TR7 coupe for North American markets.
    	TCW 100001 to 115604 (Oct 78 to Oct 79)
    	
  3. 'TCN', TR8 coupe for North American markets.
    	TCN 150001 to 150198 (78 model year)
                160001 to 160142 (79 model year)
    	N.B.  It is likely that most of these numbers were not used.
    	
  4. 'TCT', TR7 convertible for North American markets.
    	1979 m.y.: TCT 100001 to 105825 (Jan 79 to Jun 79)
    	1980 m.y.: TCT 110001 to 115897 (Jun 79 to Oct 79)
    	N.B. It is questionable how many of these cars there were.
    	     79 model year had their own Comm. number series 
                 80 model year shared with Comm. number series with TCG and TCW. 
    	
  5. 'TCV', TR8 convertible for the North American markets.

    There were some cars built with chassis numbers from TCV 200001 upwards (see section following) for the 1979 model year.

It will be seen that all of these Canley-built cars have six figure chassis numbers commencing with the figure 1, as the first chassis number issued to a Canley-built car was in fact 100001. In 1979, theoretically from the commencement of the 1980 model year, the previous chassis numbering and prefix system was scrapped and replaced by the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) system which is now used by car manufacturers world-wide under international conventions. The later Canley-built, and all Solihull-built cars, therefore have VINs rather than chassis numbers, as will be explained in the following section.

As a note of interest: TR7s were built at Canley alongside Spitfires and Dolomite Saloons.

 


1979-80, Canley-built cars

These vehicles have numbers in the VIN system. Each car has a Vehicle Identification Number with an eight character alpha-numeric prefix.

These prefixes (which are also found on Solihull-built cars) may be decoded as follows:

1:   Make of car               T = Triumph
2:   Model range:              P = TR7/8
3.   Specification:            A = UK or Europe
			       K = Australia
			       V = U.S.A., Federal (49 states)
			       Z = U.S.A., California
			       L = Canada
			       J = Japan (not certain if used)
4.   Type of body:             E = Coupe
			       D = Convertible
5.   Type of engine:           J = 2 litre four cylinder
			       V = 3.5 litre V8  ( ie. TR8)
6.   Steering and Gear box:    3 = RHD. Automatic
			       4 = LHD, Automatic
			       7 = RHD, Manual
			       8 = LHD, Manual
7.   Major model change:       A = 1980 Model Year
			      *B = 1981 Model Year
			      *C = 1982 Model Year
8.   Assembly plant:           T = Canley
			       A = Solihull

			      * Note:- Not used on UK Models. 

The chassis number series for Canley-built cars with VINs, from October 1979 to August 1980 is as follows: 200001 to 215080 (all models mixed in the same series)

Please note however that as mentioned above there were a few cars with numbers from 200001 upwards which still had pre-VIN style prefixes, notably TR8 convertibles type TCV.

Apparently a batch of 1981 model year cars were built from May 80 to June 80 as follows, 402001 to 402026. This fits in with the 1981 Solihull production sequence.

The official BL/Austin Rover figures for Canley production suggests a total production here from 1978 to 1980 of 30054 to 30375 cars.

Solihull cars largely follow the VIN system as set out above, but with a different chassis number series and on later cars, an additional three prefix letters

 


1980-81, Solihull-built cars

Production at solihull commenced in April 1980 and continued to October 1981.

The cars built at Solihull have prefixes which follow the VIN system outlined in section 3. On Solihull-built cars the last letter of the prefix is 'A'.

From May 1981, the following three letters were added in front of the existing VIN prefix: 'SAT'

This is the so-called "World Manufacturer Code" which indicates the country of origin and the manufacturer as follows:-

1.   Continent:      S          Europe
2.   Country:        A          U.K.
3.   Manufacture:    T          Triumph

The following chassis number series were used on Solihull-built cars, with all models mixed in the same series of numbers:

a)   1980 m.y., April to September 1980:           400001 to 410918
          (mostly limited edition models for North America)
b)   1981 m.y., September 1980 to May 1981:        402027 to 405636
          (402001 to 402026 built at Canley)  
c)   1981 m.y., with SAT in front of prefix,
		      May to October 1981:         406001 to 408534

The maximum possible production at Solihull by chassis number series will therefore be seen to be 8062. The official BL/Austin Rover figure for Solihull production is 8056

One very important thing to note is that although the very rare UK spec. TR8's were built at solihull, they were not amongst the last TR7s manufactured (9 built in 1980 and then another 9 in early 1981). This means that they were all built prior to the introduction of the new North Ameriacan VIN identification standard, which appeared on UK TR7s later on in 1981.

The last TR7 (TPADJ7AA408534) produced at Solihull was a RHD Home Market DHC which is now housed in the B.M.I.H.T collection.

 


1981, Solihull-built cars (North American Spec)

There were some Solihull built American specification TR8s and possibly similar TR7s that carried another variation of the VIN system. These new VINs were introduced to comply with new American and Canadian chassis numbering regulations. They were in many respects similar to the European system except that a 'Check Digit' was now incorporated, which increased the length to 17 digits.

The Check digit was inserted at the 9th position of the series and could check the validity of the entire chassis number. The other digits that differed from the European system were the 6th, 7th and 8th digits. The check digit was calculated as follows:-

Chassis                                                            Weight
Digit   Representation                                  Numeric    Factor

  1.     Continent:      S          Europe                  2         8
  2.     Country:        A          U.K.                    1         7
  3.     Manufacture:    T          Triumph                 3         6
  4.     Model range:    P          TR7/8                   7         5
  5.     Specification:  V          U.S.A.,  (49 states)    5         4
			 Z          U.S.A., California      9         4
			 L          Canada                  3         4
  6.     Type of body:   5          Coupe                   5         3
			 4          Convertible             4         3
  7.     Type of engine: 1          2 litre four cylinder   1         2
			 5          3.5 litre V8            5         2
  8.     Steering and    4          LHD, Automatic          4        10
	 Transmission:   8          LHD, Manual 5spd        8        10
  9.     Check Digit:    see below       0 to 9 or X
 10.     Major model     A          1980 Model Year         1         9
	 change          B          1981 Model Year         2         9
			 C          1982 Model Year         3         9
 11.     Assembly plant: A          Solihull                1         8
 12.     Serial number:
	      1st digit  *                                  *         7
	      2nd digit  *                                  *         6
	      3rd digit  *      NOTE: * = any digit         *         5
	      4th digit  *             between 0 and 9      *         4
	      5th digit  *                                  *         3
	      6th digit  *                                  *         2

Taking a typical US spec. TR8 with a chassis number of SATPV458*BA407609 (note an * has been left for the check digit), each of the chassis digits must be converted into its equivalent numeric and multiplied by its weight factor.

       Chassis   Weight
       Digit     Numeric  X  Factor      =   Product

	 S          2          8          =     16
	 A          1          7          =      7
	 T          3          6          =     18
	 P          7          5          =     35
	 V          5          4          =     20
	 4          4          3          =     12
	 5          5          2          =     10
	 8          8         10          =     80
	 ?       *****  CHECK DIGIT  *****
	 B          2          9          =     18
	 A          1          8          =      8
	 4          4          7          =     28
	 0          0          6          =      0
	 7          7          5          =     35
	 6          6          4          =     24
	 0          0          3          =      0
	 9          9          2          =     18
					       ----
	       (Add the products together)     329

This value is then divided by modulus 11. In this case:- 329/11 = 29 remainder 10

This remainder value is then added to the chassis number in the 9th position. In the case that the remainder is 10 (as in this example) an 'X' is added instead. So the completed chassis number in this example would be as follows:-

SATPV458XBA407609

 


Note on production figures:

The variance in different sets of equally official production figures compiled within BL or Austin Rover is probably owing to different methods of accounting. However in very round figures we may assume that the total production was in the order of 77,000 cars at Speke, 30,000 at Canley and 8,000 at Solihull, for a total of 115,000.

The actual B.L. figures are reproduced as follows:

a) By financial year, split by factory;

	Speke:	1973-74  (Oct - Sept)......    88
		1974-75  (Oct - Sept)......  8982
		1975-76  (15 months)....... 38172
		1977  (calendar year)...... 22945
                1978  (calendar year)......  5894   Speke total =   76081

	Canley: 1978.......................   833
                1979....................... 18869
                1980....................... 10623   Canley total =  30375

	Solihull: 1980.....................  2986
                  1981.....................  5070   Solihull total = 8056
                                                                   ------- 
	Grand total for all years and all factories............... 114512

b) By calendar year regardless of factory, with some (but not complete) model splits, and home/export split:

        YEAR    MODEL           HOME      EXPORT          TOTAL
        ----    -----           ----      ------          -----
        1975    TR 7 FHC           41     15,360          15,401

        1976    TR 7 FHC        6,923     25,820          32,743

        1977    TR 7 FHC        8,408     14,528           22936 *

        1978    TR 7 FHC        1,265      5,517           6,782

        1979    TR 7 FHC        2,451     16,207          18,658
                TR 8               63        141             204

        1980    TR 7 FHC        1,174         88           1,262
                TR 7 DHC        3,737      6,199           9,936
                TR 8 FHC(DHC?)      9      2,088           2,097

        1981    TR 7 FHC        1,016        439           1,455
                TR 7 DHC        1,781      1,421           3,202
                TR 8 DHC            9        405             414
                                                          -------
	Grand total for all years and all models.........115,090

* Includes 7 TR 7 V8 home market coupes, possibly rally cars.

The statistics, b), above are obviously suspect at least in the respect that where under 1980 reference is made to the TR 8 FHCs, these should almost certainly be Convertibles.

The total number of TR8s produced has been the subject of much speculation. The figures quoted above suggest that there were 18 home market convertibles which (if taken as an approximate figure) seems reasonable enough. It must be borne in mind that none of the figures quoted above are likely to include pre-production or prototype cars, and there could have been further examples of home market TR8s in either of these categories. Nor is it satisfactorily explained whether the works rally cars should be classed as TR7-V8 models or as TR8 models proper. Rally cars could also have started life as TR7's and only have been converted by Leyland Motorsports.

 


Note on TR8 Coupe deliveries to the US.

Mike Cook whose name was considered synonymous with that of Triumph, in North America since the 1960's, is quoted by some sources as making the following comments on TR8 coupe sales in the US:

"Approximately 150 pre-production coupes were sold in 1978" (most likely ACN or possibly TCN cars)

"Approximately 200 'and change' production coupes were sold as 1980 coupes" Exactly one 1981 coupe, an engineering 'cast-off' apparently with Serial number 199999 was sold.

While these numbers apply only to the US, they would appear to be representative of TR8 coupe production in general. It would not be unreasonable to assume that anymore than say 450 TR8 coupes were sold in total worldwide. It is also interesting to note that the coments above do not mention any 1979 model year sales, indicating perhaps that not many TCN cars were built or that those that were ended up in other markets (ie. Canada)

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 08:56