eBay Insanity: Want A Wedgie?

In the 1983 film Blue Thunder, Roy Scheider’s character famously assessed his sanity by comparing his intuited perception of time against a stopwatch. Here we have an eBay auction that is an equally sure test of your sanity: The supposed numero uno of British Leyland’s 1978 fleet of North American “prototype” (or somewhat more accurately, “test-market”) TR8 coupes.

Nowadays, it’s fashionable to mock the Flying Wedge as an unreliable pile of steaming modern-art-era styling excess. I am personally a member of the sizable minority that actually finds the look of the TR7/8 coupe shape rather pleasing — even more-so than the drophead version. And yes, the TR7 was an unreliable mess, but lots of your fellow Hoonatics have declared the light, compact Rover V8 a pretty enticing motor.

This unrestored example has only racked up a skosh over 30,000 miles. Except for obviously scuffed-up interior door panels, it seems to be a great “twenty-foot’er.” Nevertheless, the seller has (wisely or not) included some close-up detail pictures that prove that the tin worm has found the expected foothold here and there. Somewhat confusingly, the body currently wears full TR8 decal regalia, which was originally absent on the ’78 test fleet.
There’s a tiny kernel in my brain that is telling me I would really enjoy owning this car. That’s kind of scary, but I still feel satisfyingly sane because the rest of my gray matter can recognize that that tiny part is totally freakin’ nuts and quickly puts it’s proverbial fingers in its proverbial ears while singing the “na-na-na-na-I’m-not-listening” song.

As of Friday afternoon, bidding is just over $5,600.00. How much would you spend on gently used TR8 coupe, and does this one’s supposed lowest serial number designation make it more valuable to you?
You can find the auction here.

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  1. P161911 Avatar

    The junkyards are full or old Discovery engines, Edlebrock even makes an intake manifold for it (the Buick version at least)
    How hard could it be?
    Since it is a prototype, wonder how many parts are just different enough not to interchange with standard ones.

  2. dragon951 Avatar

    My first thought was "I'd reather have a MGB with a Rover transplant instead."
    My second thought was "What was the website for that British roadster shop in the LA area?"
    My third thought was "Well crap, I guess I am going to waste the rest of this work day finding it."

  3. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    I've lusted after a TR-8 convertible for a very long time. The coupe form is a bit further down my lust list. But the price for this one may not be too bad, if all is well.

  4. JayP Avatar

    About 5 years ago I found a used TR8 convertible hidden in the classifieds for $2500. By the time I called, it was gone. About a week later I found one just like it for $5k. I as able to determine it was the same car, and the 100% price jump was that the front struts were replaced. Dang.

  5. ChuckyShamrok Avatar

    For awhile me and my buddy were trying to find a pair of TR-7 Coupes to modify and do amateur rallying with. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there were none around that weren't complete rust buckets. But if you really want to compare rust happy English cars, take this for thought. My father and mother stored their TR's both at the same time when my sister was born. a 1959 TR3 and a 1974 TR6, parked right next to each other. 4 years ago me and my father pull them out of storage to recommission them. The tr6's frame had rotted to the point of being unrepairable. The TR3? A single rust bubble in the driver's door.

  6. From_a_Buick_6 Avatar

    When Giorgetto Giugiaro first saw the TR7 at the Geneva Motor Show, he pondered it for awhile, walked around the car and then said "My God! They've done it to the other side as well!"
    That about sums it.

  7. tonyola Avatar

    Not much more could put me in a far more desirable TR8 convertible if I really wanted to indulge my masochism.

  8. west_coaster Avatar

    I once saw a completely awesome TR8 convertible that had a very sanitary engine swap. The owner (who also had a modified Acura NSX) had transplanted a 4.0 out of a Range Rover. He claimed it was "almost a direct drop-in," save for wiring up the ECU.
    He admitted that it really didn't increase the car's value to anywhere near what he had spent, but absolutely loved the car and wanted to make it faster and more dependable.

  9. Jim-Bob Avatar

    The flying cheese wedge never really appealed to me. The Rover v8 makes this one more interesting but the British car of my dreams is a V12 XJS. It's a much nicer looking car and far more appealing to the masochist in me. I mean, it uses a GM transmission (TH 400 or 4L80E) and GM A/C components so how hard could it be? Plus, with all of it's class and style it would be perfect for me to have a bumper sticker made up for it that says "My other car is a Geo Metro."