There has recently been an ever growing list of claimants to TR8’s purporting to be a genuine factory RHD TR8. There are 22 full stop. The value of these cars has risen considerably over the last few years with nice low mileage RHD examples selling for around 40/45k. Sadly because of this, and or the kudos associated with owning a very rare car, various “iffy” people, some well known in TR circles, seem to be attempting to muddy the waters on the 22. When you tell the true story it frequently makes the dubious chime in to promote their own unfounded claims.
The criteria for a RHD TR8 is very simple and should be the same for anyone, it has to have a factory RHD HOME MARKET chassis number.
RED designates TR8 chassis identifier and RHD. Chassis number doesn’t lie, owners may, beware! In order to be a genuine RHD TR8 it will need to have a V and or a 3 for auto or 7 for manual in its chassis number.
|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 (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|
|8. Assembly plant:||T = Canley A = Solihull|
|9.||Number 6 digits|
Out of the 22 there are 21 that satisfy that criterion. The ONLY one that doesn’t, is the automatic with the TR7 chassis number. However, it does have the correct CHP300 UK RHD body number used on the intended RHD TR8’s and it does have the known 21E automatic UK TR8 engine fitted so it is fairly safe to say it was certainly intended to be a RHD TR8.
Are there anymore? According to the manager responsible for the RHD TR8’s Garry Owen when I asked him last year, he stated there are EXACTLY 22, I asked him how he knew that and he said “because that’s all we built!” I do have a recording of that which I may share privately with any doubters if justified.
All the body numbers are for RHD shells so none of them were ever USA spec cars. While it is true to say the first two and the methods build cars were built with “some” USA TR8 parts these were later removed or modified well away from USA spec. The second TR8 having an engine total rebuild from a USA spec low compression 8:13:1 to what was to become the first UK spec high compression 9:35:1 is a case in point.
There are quite a few discrepancies across all the RHD TR8’s, so I have provided a chart which shows you the differences and you can make your own mind up if it should be 22 or less. For myself and Gary Owen the manager at Triumph Canley/Solihull responsible for the RHD TR8 project, it is exactly 22.
More information on the RHD TR8 UK SPEC can be found HERE