Triumph TR8, restoration of one of the 150 coupé prototypes

Triumph TR8 front side
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Triumph TR8 ... V8 power after interbellum

Family expansion and related activities, then one fits Triumph TR7 no longer in life. Kees Kappetijn kept himself sweet with a passionate car collection and decided that after this interbellum he would make up for the damage with a Triumph TR8, the V8 model. Two even, including one of the 150 coupe prototypes for exploring the American market. Inevitably was a restoration, with the handicap of parts scarcity.  

Text & photography: Aart van der Haagen

Formulated with the TR8 Triumph a late reply to the call in America for more pep in the fore than the TR7 offered. The engineers dived into the parts warehouses and crafted around 150 prototypes, conceived differently. The present TR8s helped the dealers in 1977 to gauge opinions and indeed, the Americans responded positively. Series production got underway two years later, sadly delayed by a prolonged strike circus at the factory. Meanwhile Triumph in all his wisdom decided to put the grinder in the roof and enrich the range with a convertible. It immediately took a significant lead in sales numbers, making the eight-cylinder coupé a rarity. 

Ruined originality of the Triumph TR8

Kees Kappetijn owns prototype number 24. With purchase in 2013, the overall state could be described as 'beautiful from far, far from beautiful', with certain interventions ruining the originality. The owner was not comfortable with that, nor did the increasing number of technical points of interest and the poorly fitting sheet metal in fifty shades of red, with undercuts of filler. Only a restoration could conserve the TR8 for posterity, to be performed by perfectionist Arthur Denzler. During the process, Kappetijn undertook to investigate the exact characteristics and search for scarce parts. The coach turned out not to be bad, but it still had plenty of welding work on it.

With 60.000 miles behind the wheel, the technology did not need a major overhaul and repair, except for the unique power steering for this type and some minor issues. There was sometimes something against it, such as an epoxy layer that was released on two mudguards, bursting decorative strips and refusal counters. In the international club life, Kappetijn encountered some experts who could produce stickers for under the hood and straps that prevent the glovebox. He said goodbye to the two thermally controlled chokes, advised by Arthur Denzer. 

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When you take in the TR8 from Kees Kappetijn, you are the first to notice that the sprayer has carried out his work with respect for the former industrial standard. In the sense that he was not tempted by extreme high gloss. In any case, it remains a very characteristic design by Harris Mann, with a wedge shape as the strongest feature. Those who have an eye for it, discover more and more beauty and balance in this creation. Then let the 3,5-liter V8 hear, then you will be really taken by the Triumph TR8 and you immediately understand that Kappetijn could not resist this sports car after his interbellum, even apart from the prototype status. 

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