Kevin and I talk quite a bit about the cars of Iowa. Namely, that most of what he runs into in his search for video content leads him to pickup trucks with flappy bedsides, Chrysler products that are a butterfly’s sneeze away from collapsing into a pile of rust, and GM products that look like the RMS Titanic in it’s current state, right now. While I’m not sure he’s got the market on rust cornered (I’ve seen what passes for a road-worthy vehicle in Ohio) he does have plenty of tinworm around his base of operations. I won’t challenge that at all. But that is what makes his latest acquisition so surprising…the amount of rust is minimal!
That’s not to say that this 1976 Triumph TR7 doesn’t have rust. But if you’re unfamiliar with the story of British Leyland in the 1970s, then let it be said: it’s nothing short of a miracle that this car isn’t completely and utterly trashed. British Leyland’s issues between their management and their workforce was notoriously…well, screwed. In 1968, British Motor Holdings and Leyland had merged and when the former chair of Leyland, Sir Donald Stokes, saw the shape of what was going on, he about had a coronary. The details of how bad things truly were in the 1970s for the brands that fell under the British Leyland marque would require hours to properly explain, but the short and dirty version is that the cars that were made were sketchy from the moment they rolled off the line, and that’s if they left the line given the amount of time BL employees spent on strike. By 1975 British Leyland had gone bankrupt and the British Government nationalized the company, and after Triumph was killed off in 1984, the name floated around, winding up at BMW, who retains the name for automobiles.
34 years after the owner left it for repairs and “forgot” to pick it up (quotation is ours), Kevin has taken on this little British wedge as something to mess with. It’s cute in a way, but given the very questionable nature of British Leyland’s products of the 1970s, will there be success? And if so, for how long?