A Life In Cars

The life story of Dickie Sutherland

After the prang, the TR7 sitting in the driveway at home.


Triumph TR7 Coupe

For a brief period, Nicholas and I enjoyed a father and son project car. This was an opportunity for both of us to have a Triumph!

It was a 1976 Triumph TR7, 4-cylinder, 2-door coupe.  Bought from a bloke in Aldinga for $2,000.  Bright orange, with black decals and a sun roof.  Well maybe, faded bright orange but plenty of 80’s charm.

What attracted us to the car was the nice straight body.  It was also mechanically sound and needing just a little bit of tiding up but very drivable ‘out of the gate’.  

Around the Triumph club at that time, TR7 – V8 conversions were all the go.  A cheaper option than the pure TR8.  And undertaking the conversion on this TR7, would be a nice little project in itself.  

Nic and I shared the driving and it offered Nicholas another cheap run about, to supplement in amongst his time shared with the Lancer, Sigma, and HR Wagon. 

Funnily enough and without his doing, Nic had become a multi-car man – just like I had been as a young man.

Nic and Brett Ebert cruising into Bahamas Grove whilst testing the TR7 just after we bought it.

One seater

Nic would often tell the story of the ‘TR7 with one seat’. 

We had been recovering the original seats with a new leather and I had installed a temporary driver’s seat into the TR, so that it could continue to be used.

At this time, Nic was working in the Astor Hotel, in Adelaide.  He would work late into the night and the ‘on seater’ TR7 was often his transport. The kind chap he was, he regularly offered the Astor’s chef a ride home to West Beach and the Chef, Mark, would sit on the carpet as he road home.

Short and sweet, but a little disappointing.

All was well with the TR7 at first and we weren’t in a rush to do any major work on the car.

That is until one day Nic was driving his girlfriend off to school on a Monday morning.  This in itself was a little unusual, for at the time Nic wasn’t really supposed to be heading that direction on a Monday morning.

Wrong place at the wrong time.

And Carolyn and myself were actually away on holiday at the time.

The pair were heading up Kensington Road, just out of the city when a driver coming in other way just turned across the path of the TR7.  Bang, crash “shit….!”

The TR7 limped off into a side street, Nic phoned me for advice and he waited for a tow, whilst his girlfriend walked the last kilometre off to school. 

Once the tow truck took the TR away, Nic strolled off through the parklands, back into the city for his scheduled Uni lecture; disappointed and a little bewildered that the TR was to be dropped of at home in a sad state.

The insurance company ‘wrote off’ the TR7, but allowed us to retained the wreck.

The post crash wreck, as it was delivered back to Bahamas Grove.

Soon enough, I found a fellow Triumph club member who bought the wreck of me. 

Sadly, it was pulled apart as a student project at the Trade school, and recycled for spare parts.

Students at my workplace (TAFE) pulling apart the TR7 wreck.

Leave a comment to continue the story

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Explore other stories

Riley Green silver 200KB
I started work on 14 February 1963 as an apprentice Panel Beater.money I had saved until this time. But equally, limited by my lack of knowledge of what was available to buy.
HR Holden Station Sedan, the only new car; the Family cars and work horse; the Classic car for all occations, three generation; A Family Car.