Triumph comes to the SHO: Doing a heart transplant on a TR7

When I was a kid and British Leyland was still a somewhat going concern, the little UK automaker introduced a sports car called the Triumph TR7. The tag-line in its ad campaign was, "The shape of things to come." As it turned out, the folks at BL were less successful at predicting the future than countryman George Orwell. For a wide variety of very good reasons, BL faded into the annals of history, although some of the brands under the former BL umbrella soldier on such as Jaguar and Land Rover.

A few years after the TR7 went out of production, my high school auto mechanics teacher acquired a TR7 that became an ongoing shop project for myself and a few other students. With the TR7 we learned the fine art of balancing side-draft carburetors with a chunk of garden hose and a screw-driver. Today most of the TR7s (and the V8-powered TR8) have long since turned to iron oxide. A few remain, however, and the owner of one 1979 model eventually found himself craving a more modern (and reliable) powertrain. One of the finest engines of the last two decades is the Yamaha V6 that powered the first two generations of the Ford Taurus SHO. This TR7 owner managed to procure one and set about installing the normally transverse mounted unit in the rear-wheel-drive TR7. After two years and a variety of adaptations to make everything fit properly, including reversing the mounting of the intake plenum, he was successful. A decade later and more changes like removing the top and adding a supercharger sees a car that runs 13.7-second quarter miles and gets 25 mpg.


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