Monday, May 23, 2011

The Shape of Things to Come

TR7 Roadster
Quick - What was the best selling of the Triumph TR series cars?  Give up? It's the TR7 coupe and convertible. BL's last major effort at designing and building sports cars was such a sales success in the US that the launch in the UK was delayed while Triumph ramped up production to meet the American demand, and then had to move production from factory to factory while militant labor unions did their part to cripple the British auto industry.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class
It's a shame that we don't see more of the wedge at SABCC events and at British car shows in the region. Perhaps it's due to the low values the cars reached as they were worn out. Sports cars - in the US, anyway -  were considered to be "disposable" and as such were passed down the food chain of drivers until they were picked up off the streets where they were abandoned and sold on for scrap.

The TR7 enjoys a fair parts supply so keeping one on the road should be no more of a challenge than any other contemporary British sports car. Drivers find them roomy, comfortable and not unable to keep up with modern traffic.

Hyundai Sonata
One of the most controversial aspects of the TR7 design was the crease or character line that ran from above the rear wheel to a point just behind the front wheel arch. This served to emphasize the "wedginess" of the car, making look like it was moving at 60 MPH while standing still. Many sports car Luddites saw the TR7 as anything but a traditional sports car; the first ones were coupes rolled out in fear that the US would outlaw open topped cars.

But back to that crease; the Triumph tag line "The Shape of Things to Come" was not far off the mark. Take a look at these modern cars that I've illustrated here and what seems to be the theme? Yep, creases. Harris Mann, the TR7 designer could be considered a visionary - a man ahead of his time. 

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