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Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
10/22/18 9:56 p.m.

Hoping to pull this together for 2020. 2019 is likely to be a big stretch for me... it's still under a mountain of stuff, including more boxes of TR7 spares. It's going to be extremely challenging to put together documentation from that long ago, but I will do my best... 

Smitty's Wedge Heaven. Web page circa 1999

The page, much like the car, has received no attention in 19 years. Sigh. House, kids, Miatas (that run without ongoing sacrifices of your own blood!), etc.
Not getting rid of any of those, but i think it's time to fish or cut bait. Time to get something moving. 

AngryCorvair MegaDork
10/22/18 10:05 p.m.

Do it!

paul_s0 New Reader
10/23/18 9:58 a.m.

Excellent - I ran a TR7 as a daily and competition car for many years, in standard 2.0 8v, 2.0 Sprint, and 3.5 V8 guises.  I'll look forward to seeing this come on..

paul_s0 New Reader
10/23/18 10:02 a.m.

Whilst I remember, I'm not sure if you know but they do have a tendency to pull the rear trailing arms out of the shell, especially with the V8.  As mine was used on some rough events, I ended up tying the brackets through the shell and into the roll cage, a road car shouldn't need anything so extreme, but I'd certainly consider some reinforcement there if the body is still all stripped.


For brakes I used adapters for the Ford Capri 2.8i discs and M16 calipers on the front, standard 5 speed rear drums, and no limiting valve.  It went sideways, under power, under braking, it was mostly sideways.  I'd suggest for a road car some sort of bias valve!

I never liked the Spax dampers, I ended up with Konis.  Be careful with some of the aftermarket ' 1"lowered uprated springs", all the ones I tried appeared to be made of cheese and with no thought to coil binding - I ended using a custom spring place (Faulkner Springs in the UK), and they were excellent.

spin_out HalfDork
10/23/18 10:39 a.m.

Here is our fixed head coupe from the $2012 Challenge.  I got the book titled something like, how to improve your TR7/TR8, and did most of the tricks, like lowering the cradle, and boxing the trailing arms.  We also doubled up the front sway bars, and made rims by cutting and welding 8 steel rims to make 4 that were 7" wide.  That let us fit 215/xx/13 Hoosiers.   We used a 1992 Rover 4.2L that was $250 on Craigslist.  (Oh, and wet Nitrous for the drags.  13.5 seconds at 106 mph.)

Good luck with your build.  They are fun cars.  (Here we are going through Concourse hoping the car would start because it rained the night before.  :) 

P.S.  If you paint the shock tubes a Koni color people assume you have good shocks.  :)

dherr HalfDork
10/23/18 12:30 p.m.

I think after 19 years sitting stripped in the garage, without a motor, you should be able to start your budget at FMV. So craigslist search for non-running TR7 convertibles and go from there. Or sell it to Andrew, who will sell it to me and then I'll sell it back to you :-)  still when you are all done with the game, it is still just a couple hundred dollar project car, same goes for the Rover V8, cheaper to just find a running rover motor than to rebuild that one and try to find all the accessories.

Great to see it  again, hard to believe that much time has gone by.......

Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
10/23/18 4:47 p.m.

In reply to dherr :

The passage of time part is kind of scary!

Yes, I am hoping to start with FMV. I am not planning to run a Rover powertrain at all but some sort of LS solution. Notwithstanding the Scooby guys hatred of all things LS swapped. That was my initial desire  for the car and still the direction I choose to pursue.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
10/25/18 8:20 a.m.
spin_out said:

P.S.  If you paint the shock tubes a Koni color people assume you have good shocks.  :)

Great tips!

pleiades New Reader
10/25/18 1:53 p.m.

I had a '80 TR7 as a teenager, and I loved that car. 

Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
10/26/18 8:34 p.m.

Would you guys agree that this is a ceiling for the FMV value of my shell + boxes of parts? My shell is not bead blasted.....



Patrick MegaDork
10/27/18 8:11 a.m.

As a competitor i have zero issues with that as a starting point.  

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/27/18 8:36 a.m.

In reply to Greg Smith :

$500 or less seems to be FMV for a disassembled project. 

Ugh... that green car is way too close to me.  I so want a TR7 some day. They've really grown on me over the last few years.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
10/27/18 10:23 a.m.

In reply to Ian F :

Honestly, their biggest drawback after having owned 3 TR7s, a spitfire, and 3 Miatas (1 NA, 2 NC)... is the convertible top mechanism. I'd LOVE to figure out a way to drop a NC "Z-FOLD" mechanism on a TR7. Getting out, doing snaps and folding the top in a specific configuration is less than ideal. 

maschinenbau Dork
10/27/18 11:22 a.m.

As another competitor, I agree $500 is fair. 

Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
10/27/18 1:29 p.m.

The sold listing was $405 for an unpainted shell and lots of parts to make it whole. 

Mine has surface rust and was not bead blasted. It's going to take a LOT more work than the $405 one. Pix to follow. 

Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
10/27/18 2:04 p.m.

When we started, the back end of the car was barely visible. I started going through some of the boxes... side mirrors were wrapped in newspaper from ---- (correction: 1996). 

After a couple hours we got it this far:

Does fiberglass take a different shape over time? This had body kit pieces, but not sure they want to fit. Maybe they didn't fit right when they were made, for all I know. 

Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
10/28/18 5:48 p.m.

So I jumped into things more today. Still way out of order, but I don't really have a good place to put all of the stuff that's inside the car and in the trunk yet. Lots of boxes to sort through as well. If anyone is interested in a TR7 stock engine or 5-speed transmission... I have some available! 

So in order to build excitement about this (and keep things from deteriorating further..) I used a 3M pad for my angle grinder to take areas with surface rust down to bare metal. And re-primed it to prevent any new rust. (yeah, the primer will have to come off again when I start patching holes - either welding or Bondo. I will be learning while doing with Bondo (I have a gallon of the fiberglass-reinforced stuff coming to do body kit blending, then will top that with a layer of regular Bondo or glazing depending on how the surface ends up). The last time I remember Bondo work was my dad repairing a 1962 Corvair back in the 1980's. I understand that there are potentially better ways to do small repairs, but since I will plan on blending the body kit into the factory panels (it looks pretty bad if you don't!) then I'll get to learn! 

There is rust on the left side rear sill, along the trim under the door, and the front wheel arch. On the right, the door itself has pinholes, and both doors & rear fenders have holes from where some DPO pop-riveted body side moulding. Argh! I'm sure there's more rust lurking for me. 

^ Door pinholes

Body side moulding holes. 

The nose of the car is inaccessible for now, but I could get to 3 sides, so test fit and taped the all but the nose of  body kit into place. It took a little judicious trimming with a Sawzall, but less than a square inch of material was removed overall. 

The rear bumper cleaned up beautifully! It still needs some detail work, though. It probably weighs 50 pounds. I have it temporarily in place to fit the body kit, but removing it and reattaching is definitely going to be a chore... and with the fiberglass hit in place & painted also a 2-man operation. I plan on driving this on the street so stripping the bumper sown to an empty cover seems like a bad plan. 

It is energizing to see this looking more like a car. The trunk gap is low because the rubber seal is off right now. It's in the trunk...

Next steps are likely cleaning out space in the basement for things like all the wiring and interior so I can empty this thing. I almost talked the wife into a shed (for car stuff for now, then a "she-shed" after)... but looks like no. 


Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
10/31/18 6:56 p.m.

And, the excavation continues. The rat's nest of wiring harness is now in a storage bin since it won't be needed for a while... and behold! a convertible top boot (previously covered in dust & crud). I think it may be too shrunk to use. But if there's some way to stretch it out, it may be salvageable...

Oh - a side tip - I used leftover magnetic tape from this year's #16 Miata to make non-permanent labels on the toolbox. Do I know where everything is? Pretty much. But it's super useful when I have one of the kids bringing me tools...

Another session or two and I'll be able to hop in and make motor sounds...  Or if I use the time more wisely, see all the way underneath the car. 

The seats are there, just loose in the passenger compartment. I suspect the foams are permanently shot, from all the parts stored on top. ...



AWSX1686 SuperDork
11/15/18 12:17 p.m.

Good progress excavating! Soon you will have enough space to actually work on the car! 

Stampie UberDork
11/15/18 2:03 p.m.

I still remember my Uncle Jerry showing up one day in a TR7. He was always the cool Uncle with Corvettes and other sports cars but that wedge TR7 blew my preteen mind. 

Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
11/18/18 12:48 a.m.

It's been a couple weeks crazy with work and other stuff, so not really any garage time / updates. Maybe this afternoon.....

In the meantime, I have been looking at mounting detail for the body kit (I was able to contact the manufacturer and get a scan of a fax of a photocopy of their fitting instructions, or something equally skewed and hard to read) But they did turn it around pretty fast, so that was sweet! ...as well as options for fastening it more securely, blending it in to the body, etc. This month's GRM article on paint prep was nicely timed. Definitely the road I have to go down...


Indy-Guy UltraDork
11/18/18 11:01 a.m.

In reply to Greg Smith :

Most modern cars have aluminum bars under the bumper cover. How about swapping the heavy steel brace for something lighter. I know the steel under structure on the front is SUPER heavy, I never had the rear one off, but I'm sure it weighs a metric ton too.


Indy-Guy UltraDork
11/18/18 11:57 a.m.

I still kinda miss mine. Here's a pic for inspiration :

I had these wheels shipped in from England. Direct fitment Compomotive CSX's if I remember correctly.  Probably not a challenge friendly option, but they are just beautiful to my eye, and wanted to share.

Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
11/19/18 12:56 p.m.

In reply to Indy-Guy :

both bumpers are insanely heavy, for sure. and I do have a source of aluminum in IT equipment racks that I may be able to take advantage of. But the front bumper is an issue. In the DHC (drophead coupe, AKA "convertible" to us Americans), the front bumper mounts on a center pivot and has additional weights at either end. It apparently balances out a known body shake, and if swapped with coupe bumpers with solid mounts, can lead to... 'interesting' handling issues. 

But hey, i do have 2 sets of bumpers, so why not experiment, and look at cutting out a bunch of weight? The aluminum is less than scrap prices as I am getting it instead of the company paying someone to take it. "Free" is nice! I hadn't considered using it to make a bumper body. But the idea is growing on me....

Greg Smith
Greg Smith HalfDork
11/19/18 12:58 p.m.
Indy-Guy said:

I still kinda miss mine. Here's a pic for inspiration :

I had these wheels shipped in from England. Direct fitment Compomotive CSX's if I remember correctly.  Probably not a challenge friendly option, but they are just beautiful to my eye, and wanted to share.

I'd love to run a set oc Compomotives, but as you said, not budget friendly. Wheels are still TBD. I have 1 set of 13" Panasports, but want to move up to 15" wheels, and it's likely to be a Chevy bolt pattern. So there will be options. 

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