Upholster your seats in your father's trousers!

They've gone into plaid!

When discussing the merits of semi-affordable, FWD hot hatches, one factor that always comes into play when weighing the GTI’s merits is its rad, optional plaid seats.
“The Mini Cooper handles better, the Mazdaspeed 3 is faster, the Type-R (for our readers across the pond) is cheaper to maintain, when the Fiat 500 comes here it’ll be way cooler, and for that price you could even pick up a used WRX STi/Lancer EVO/LS2-engined Miata/Factory Five Cobra/Kawasaki GPZ1000/Ford Mustang,” your pedantic friend argues in another one of those oh-so-productive what would you buy? bar conversations.
“Yeah, but,” you begin, taking another swig of Fat Tire, “dude. Plaid seats.”
VW needs to be commended for this charming option, which they dub “Interlagos Plaid,” or for some bizarre reason, “Jacky,” possibly relating to elderly Scottish women. Plaid seats are a wonderfully anachronistic throwback to the cheesy, campy 70s, before this sort of thing (apparently) became the fashion equivalent of ebola. Pah! Here’s a child of that wonderful decade that rocks its plaid without irony or compromise.

Does the heaping spoonfuls of plaid—green plaid!—make up for the fact that the Triumph TR7 is one of the most unloved cars in existence, not only in Triumph history but human achievement, a car that reeks of the worst excesses of British Leyland cynicism and Japanese surrender? If you certainly think so, then a little over $4,000 is your Ticket to Ride. Just air out the Hai Karate before you show it to your spouse.

1976 Triumph TR7 – Autotrader Classics

23 Comments

  1. Although in all seriousness, I love patterned seat inserts in the right car. Porsche's classic houndstooth seats from the SWB cars really works for me. And shockingly, from an aesthetic standpoint (which is a dangerous standpoint in general when discussing the TR7), I think this green plaid works for the car.

  2. I came home from the hospital as a newborn in a car that was absolutely identical to that. It might even be the same exact car.
    As a side note, it led to the first of many arguments my parents had in front of me, i.e. "Why the hell did you come to pick us up in this instead of the Pontiac?"

  3. I, for one, approve of plaid seats. And plaid clothes. Plaid ice cream. Plaid toilet paper. In fact, there is no situation that can't be made better by a tasteful tartan.

  4. So the TR-7 uses the Triumph slant 4 that SAAB used as a basis for their slant 4. The final version of the SAAB turbo 4 makes about 260HP. So it should just drop right in here. "How hard could it be?"

  5. What is wrong with you people! I loved the TR7! It is the shape of things to come. It was the shape of every car I doodled as a kid. I would have killed for a wedge garage. I high school, my speech teacher picked up a used one, and it was heavenly. Didn't even need the windshield wipers about about 15mph.
    The only thing wrong with this car is that it's too much and too far away for me to pick it up as a learner car for my kids.
    Harumph!

    1. +1!
      The flying wedge was a mini Lambo without all the fuss or fluff. (Or anything else for that matter) It was one of the craziest and coolest cars out there at the time. Tho, in full disclosure every time I see one I still think "engine fire". But I'm ok with that.

  6. I do believe that's a representation of the Doppler effect. It's the only rational explanation. Then again, the 70's weren't big on rational explanations.

  7. Never having driven, sat in, or wrenched on a TR7, I love them, possibly due to having a Matchbox model of one that glows in the dark. It's hyper-70s, it's wedgy, it's not all that expensive, and (as I take a swig of Mill St), dude, plaid interior. And of course, it's British – I think it's genetically ingrained that I'm supposed to like British cars.
    And if (when?) anything goes wrong with the engine, that just gives you an excuse to do an engine swap, right? I mean, as a baseline, there's the stalwart choice of finding a junked Range Rover/Discovery (a Disco engine in a ultra-70's car feels right) to cough up its guts. But really, we can go weirder or get more pah! than that, right?

  8. This car would totally complete my off-kilter 70's style collection. In my fantasy I saw it in Orange, but Green could work. Oh yeah, I'd totally rock it in my beige corduroy jacket with them leather patches on the sleeves and finally justify my mutton-chops.
    Yup. I need a green car.

  9. Look, I'm no expert. I, unfortunately, have never ever ever ever wrenched on a car or even an engine as a learning experience. Still, Having had driven rear and front wheel drive cars, I must say I much more prefer RWD. BUT, I'd take almost any FWD car in spite of a TR7. That's how much I dislike them. Dunno specifically why, but I just do. That being said, I just saw two V8's racing at the lights (wrong, I know mom, very, very wrong. Promise never to do that) and it just made my night. Man I need a big bore 8 in my life. Quickly. Even if it's a food blender.

  10. Look at how the door skin is flush with rest of the body!
    Can you imagine one of these things in a rally competition? Even with a 16-valve Dolomite Sprint engine or a Rover V8? No, of course you can't, because that's ridiculous. The handling was poor (for a Triumph), the build quality atrocious, reliability was on par with other BL cars, NO off-road credibility at all. So naturally, Leyland thought, hey, let's put it in several rallies. Oddly enough, the TR7 did not fare well with any engine in the off-road stages.
    Be thankful Leyland didn't follow through with putting an MG badge on this thing and trying to pass it off as an adequate replacement for the MGB. I'm not sure if that would have been more insulting or less insulting to the MG name than the Maestro and Montego. Probably less insulting, considering it was at least a two-seater. It would still be an unbelievable piece of shit.
    Love that interior upholstery, though. Plaid interiors are great.

  11. I drove one of those from Illinois to New Mexico a few years back. We drove through fog outside of St. Louis and the headlight motors stopped working. Fortunately they were in the up position at the time. By the time we got to Kansas City, the ignition and/or starter decided to stop working. We got to push start it for the rest of the trip.
    I'm pretty sure I've never felt equal terror to driving that tiny can of British tin at 75mph surrounded by 18-wheelers through an absolute deluge in the middle of the night in west Texas.
    That was an awesome trip.

  12. That interior combines the strangest bits of Volvo 240 and '80s Volkswagen, and is probably assembled just about as well. I'd bet it's the high point of the car.

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