We haven't really gone public on the current TR Drivers Club project for rectifying the situation caused by British Motor Heritage (BMH should not be confused with BMIHT - they are separate, unrelated companies and have been for over 20 years). I was given clandestine information much earlier this year that the all the TR7 tooling they held had been scrapped but it was only when Classic Car Weekly contacted me that I felt the club needed to get all this information confirmed and that is what led to the headline on that weekly classic car paper. At no time did I contact the TR Register (although I did tell them a big TR7 story was about to break) or any other club and this was kept in strictest confidence. As a club we had already made enquiries with regards to panel reproduction and it was obviously the time to take those tentative enquiries further. The upshot is that the TR Drivers Club, with Brian Ridley-Jones as the main driver of this, have been re-importing original Leyland panels to use as patterns for new replacement TR7 body panel manufacture. We are sourcing the earliest original, never been on a car, panels to act as the patterns because these will provide the best fitting new panels possible as the end result. The BMH items were not exactly the best fit ever seen on a TR7 so hopefully this problem will be rectified in the future.
The first panel we are looking at is the front panel, more often known as the headlamp panel or nose panel. This is probably the most major undertaking of the lot as it's a large, double-skinned panel. If we can get that one right then there will be no stopping us from there. The second we are currently looking at is the rear panel which houses the light clusters and goes in between the rear wings, the boot and the bumper. This panel hasn't been available for as long as I can remember. We have obtained new, original, early master panels of both the headlamp and the rear panel.
It will be important to bear in mind that these replacement panels are going to cost significantly more than we have been used to paying up to now but that the TR Drivers Club are looking to mitigate the final cost as much as possible. They will of course be cheaper to club members but at least they will be generally available to all.
The link to the relevant page from the recent issue of TR Driver is below but more information is coming in the next issue. If anyone wants to get involved in this project by contributing to the tooling fund please get in touch with me. This is a very ambitious and exciting project but it is happening. We have already found our preferred firm to reproduce the panels and we are looking to go down that route asap. We are doing this with the full knowledge and support of both Rimmers and Robsport. It should be noted that both these Triumph dealers have had TR7 panels remanufactured and have a wealth of availability of these panels. We do not want to duplicate anything they have already made available and have on the shelf already.