Buying a Genuine TR8

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The best advice I can offer anyone is quite simply "buyer beware!" - see building a TR8. Most TR8's will quite simply look right if they are - check out the pictures below - if it doesn't have an engine that looks very similar to the Efi and carb engines shown, start asking questions - does the owner still have the original carb if it has a different one fitted? - does the car have a TR8 engine number? - this will in 95% of cases weed out the fakes.

10E = Federal model

11E = Federal model auto transmission

12E = Californian model

13E = Californian model with auto transmission

14E = Efi model

15E = Efi model with auto transmission

20E = UK spec model

Genuine TR8 Engines

   

TR8 Carb                    TR8 Efi

Fake TR8 Engines

       

V8 Holley                 V8 SU's                   Other Engine

A common engine number often seen on a TR7 conversion might be 10A which denotes an engine that came from a Rover SD1.

Chassis numbers

Check the chassis number to see if it denotes a V8 engine (TR8) in the later (79/80/81/82) cars (chassis numbers are very similar for the 7 & 8 as both were made on the same production line) or that it has the correct TR8 prefix for the earlier  Speake cars.

EXP all Year Cars

These cars often started life as a TR7 taken from the production line and converted to TR8 later, so arguably may not be regarded as the genuine thing. In most cases the owner will have supporting documentation to support the cars authenticity - if not don't buy it.

EXP? (? = a number)

Speake 1977/78 Year Cars

TR8 FHC - prefix (ACN)

Speake/Canley1978/79 Year Cars

TR8 FHC - prefix (TCN)

TR8 DHC - prefix (TCV)

 

Canley/Solihull 1979/80/81 Year Cars

Chassis
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
4.   Type of body:           E = Coupe
                                     D = Convertible
5.   Type of engine:         J = 2 litre four cylinder (TR7)
                                     V = 3.5 litre V8  (TR8)
6.   Steering, Gear box:   3 = RHD. Automatic
                                     4 = LHD, Automatic
                                     7 = RHD, Manual
                                     8 = LHD, Manual
7.   Model year change:   A = 1980 Model Year
                                    *B = 1981 Model Year
                                    *C = 1982 Model Year
8.   Assembly plant:        T = Canley
                                     A = Solihull

 

Solihull 1981/2 Year Cars

Solihull built American and Canadian specification TR8s and TR7s for 1981/82 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 is 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 (TR7) 1 2
                                 5          3.5 litre V8 (TR8) 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 my TR8 with a chassis number of SATPV458*BA407609 *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    
                 2          9          =     18    
                 1          8          =      8    
                 4          7          =     28    
         0          0          6          =      0    
         7          7          5          =     35    
                 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 instance 329/11 = 29 with a remainder of 10.329/11 = 29 remainder 10    
   
This remainder value is then added to the chassis number in the 9th position. When the remainder is 10 as is the case here an "X" is used instead.
   
SATPV458XBA407609A407609    
   

In some cases people have put the money and time in to build a complete replica even though it doesn't make financial sense - in most cases these people never try to pass the cars of as genuine - the problem comes when the car has been sold on a few times! - be warned!

DO NOT JUST GO BY THE CHASSIS No! it may have been taken from a wrecked car or be a clone of a car still on the road! Try to buy a car well known to the various TR Clubs.

Lastly if it doesn't look totally right it almost certainly isn't!!!