The TR8 Experimental Cars Explained

The “wedge”, as we know it, was first envisaged in 1969 at Canley and codenamed “Bullet”. It was conceived in coupe form to meet strict US regulations. Two engine options were envisaged, the two litre slant four and the Rover V8. Of the latter, the experimental cars were designated X840, X843, X858 and X859. At the same time the Lynx project began to take shape, this being a long wheelbase 2+2 derivative of the “Bullet”. Again experimental cars were built and designated X882, X884, X891, and X905. Of these only X905 survives and can still be seen at B.M.I.H.T. Gaydon.
By 1974, pilot production had started on the TR7, but it was not until 1977 that the first batch of approximately 150 TR7V8 coupes (as they were originally known) was built. With changes in USA legislation, work on the convertible version also began at this time and a number of prototypes with the prefix ACT were built – of these two are known to exist in England with possibly two more in Scotland. The experimental cars now began to emerge in fixed head coupe and convertible form:

The first known example is X898, a FHC believed to have been built in 1976/77 with the very early (pre 1977) large fuel filler cap. This was fitted with an EFI engine and was subjected to testing by a club member who then worked for BL. It colour being Triumph White.

The earliest known DHC is X919 which is believed to have been built in 1977/8 and built as LHD with a fuel injected engine and automatic transmission to USA specifications. Later modifications changed it to RHD with altered trim and modified engine. Its original colour being Triumph White.

X921 – DHC -was built in 1979 to UK specifications, having a carburettered high compression engine and automatic transmission. It had evidence of temperature sensing equipment on the carburettors, inlet manifold and oil pump. Its colour being Carnelion Red.

X923 - DHC - again built in 1979 to UK specifications but having a five speed manual gearbox. On the MIRA test track it recorded a flying quarter-mile of 137mph an all time record for Triumph at the track. Its colour being Platinum Silver.

X924 - DHC - reverted to one of the older examples being built in 1977/8, probably in the same batch as X919. This was built as a TR7 and converted to V8 spec in 1978 with a manual gearbox originally to USA specification. Later a high compression engine UK spec was fitted. Its colour being Vermilion.

X925 – DHC - was the last of the experimental cars and was built in RHD form to UK specifications with manual transmission. It was used to evaluate interior trim. Its colour being Silver Leaf with colour coded bumpers, brown interior, brown tinted windows and modified centre console and glove pockets in the doors.

In 1979 an extension to the Lynx project was started. This was called the “Broadside” project and was aimed at revisiting the 2+2 concept. Only two models were built for experimental purposes.

X917 The Broadside 2+2. This was the convertible version utilising a TR7 floor pan extended by some six inches. Although fitted with the “O” series two litre engine, the V8 was also to be the alternative option. Although specified as Platinum Silver in colour, it is actually finished in Silver Leaf.

X922 The Broadside GT. This was the hatchback version styled under the direction of David Bache and again was based on the lengthened TR7 floor pan. Its colour being Bordeaux Red.

TRDC club members currently own all the X cars, with the exception of the Lynx and Broadsides which reside in the Museum at Gaydon, the latest addition being X923.