Your classic: Triumph TR7 fhc

| 26 Mar 2024
Classic & Sports Car – Your classic: Triumph TR7 fhc

It’s not a stretch to say my life has been lived at pace. I have careers in the RAF, the motor trade and the oil industry under my belt, and in my spare time I enjoy restoring old cars, paragliding and fine-art painting, and all while having lived in four different countries.

Many cars have passed through my hands – 75 at the last count – with marques including Porsche, Bentley, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar and plenty of others.

But while many have come and gone, there has been one constant, owned since it was just two years old, when I was 17 and serving in the RAF: my beloved Triumph TR7.

Classic & Sports Car – Your classic: Triumph TR7 fhc

Steve Flint’s Triumph TR7 fhc looks resplendent in its post-restoration state

While working as an MT driver refuelling Victors and Tornados at RAF Marham, I coveted what was then a friend’s TR7.

Eventually I was able to buy the Triumph, which I then raced around Norfolk’s roads as only a young teenager can.

The car taught me the skills of fettling, including bodywork repairs after the occasional ‘off’ caused the odd dent.

For more serious issues, however, I had a wizard in the form of Roly Denton, the closest thing to a mad scientist you could get in Norfolk.

Classic & Sports Car – Your classic: Triumph TR7 fhc

This cherished Triumph TR7 looks as good as new inside

His farm featured all sorts of Triumphs in various states of repair, so when the TR7 did break I would load it on to an RAF truck and drive it to Roly, who would bring it back to life.

In the late 1980s I joined Civvy Street and moved to Plymouth with my girlfriend, Sue.

She loved the TR, but after it blew its engine and gearbox I sold the car for scrap – gone, but certainly not forgotten.

Many years later an old RAF mate phoned to say that the Triumph was for sale on eBay.

Classic & Sports Car – Your classic: Triumph TR7 fhc

Steve’s Triumph TR7 was thought to have been scrapped, but it appeared on eBay years later

I was doubtful because I assumed the car had been scrapped, but no, there it was – although not for long.

I bought the car and returned it to my home in Guernsey, where it slumbered for a while.

Then in 2018 I was contacted by my ex, Sue, who had been living in the US for 30 years.

She couldn’t believe I still had the car and was excited for one more drive, so we arranged to meet – but then COVID struck.

Classic & Sports Car – Your classic: Triumph TR7 fhc

The Triumph TR7 was revealed to be rust-free during its restoration

I had time on my hands and thought a restoration was in order, so I entrusted the work to a good friend in Wales.

Nothing on the car was left untouched, slightly stiffer suspension was fitted and the engine’s weak spots were addressed, then I had it repainted (a previous owner had changed its colour).

I chose a shade of gold I had once seen on a Citroën CX when I was 10 years old, and the painter, a real artisan, had the Triumph for six months.

Classic & Sports Car – Your classic: Triumph TR7 fhc

The repaint, inspired by a Citroën shade, took six months

When it was stripped back to bare metal a miracle was revealed: this was possibly the only rust-free TR7 the world has ever seen.

The paint was finished to a standard the factory could never match.

I have never had a connection like this with a car before: bought in my teens and cherished in my 50s, this sports car is my first and last.

At a recent reunion, all my RAF mates who drove it in period signed the boot for me.

Also, excitingly, the TR7 and Sue are soon to be reunited again: “Once more around the park, driver?”

“Of course, ma’am.”

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  • Owned by Steve Flint
  • First classic Lotus Seven S4
  • Dream classic Hispano-Suiza H6B Dubonnet Xenia

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