Click here for the Interclub International Weekend Tickets

The Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run takes place in October 2023 with over 100 Triumph motor cars crossing Britain to raise funds for the Huntington's Disease Association. The crews will cover 2,000 miles in 48 hours non-stop starting from Knebworth near London to John O Groats, Lands' End and back to Knebworth.

The story starts in 1978 at Speke in Liverpool. The decision to make the RHD TR8s was made as part of the decision to move production from Speke to Canley. Unfortunately, lots of issues were going on at the time and BL was in total chaos, not to mention losing a lot of money. The press blamed the unions, and while there were problems, the main issues appear to have been with senior management at the board level.

When the TR7/8 was moved to Canley there were a considerable number of modifications to be incorporated into the build. Management knew there would be serious problems with the labour force once they knew of the TR7/8 production move, so any upgrades/new versions were put on hold until after the move. The cars built at Speke had more than their fair share of quality issues, some were down to engineering issues, and others down to poor decision-making on specification and build quality. Speke at the time had a poor reputation and certainly with Triumph, the main reason for being there, was government pressure. So, with poor sales, the decision was made to close Speke and move to Canley. Early TR8s came down from Speke that had been used for testing but many were in a very poor state, so were mostly destroyed. A handful did continue to be used as test cars, some of which were converted to RHD and are well-known now.

But those cars are not where the story for the RHD UK spec TR8 starts nor are the three EXP RHD TR8’s X921, X923 and X925 although they are to all intents and purposes pretty much the same. What I am talking about is the 22 RHD UK spec TR8’s as designated exactly by their chassis number so all have exactly the same UK spec TR8 factory designation less the auto car which is a provable mistake.

T - Triumph

P – TR7/8

A – UK Spec when coupled with the right-hand drive (7)

D - Convertible

V – 3.5 V8

7 - RHD

AT/AA – Built at Canley or Solihull

Some people will try to argue black is white by adding their own interpretations of what they personally think, but the factory chassis designation is quite simply an indisputable fact. You should keep that clearly in mind if looking at buying a car claiming to be one of the 22 RHD TR8s.

Triumph TR 8 No 1

The RHD UK spec TR8 story officially starts with No1 TPADV7AT 212246, MHP404V a Platinum Silver car with a grey stripe interior (ala TR7 Spider and TR7 European Special editions) built on 24th of April 1980 at Canley.

This was designated the RHD UK spec Quality build TR8. Someone with memories of the first RHD TR8 is Kevin Jones who in 1980 was one of the last Triumph apprentices and in later years became better known as the public face of MG Rover press and publicity. “I helped build the first RHD UK spec TR8” Jones recalls adding with crystal-clear recollection that the silver car was registration number MHP404V and was given on completion to Group Manufacturing Director Brian Fox to use as his car.

Built offline from a RHD shell, new RHD TR8 parts and a standard TR8 federal spec engine. EGR and all other specific emissions parts were all removed, air pipes on the heads were crimped off and holes were blocked off with whatever came to hand. The EGR valve is actually blocked off with an Efi lambda sensor, presumably grabbed off the factory floor to do the job as it had the same thread.

Pistons were upgraded to 9:35:1 ala UK. TR8 RHD TR8 wiring sections, RHD steering rack and various other modifications were made for/to the car including bending the battery tray to make access easier to the rear plug area. This was to some extent a somewhat rough and ready 1st version of a UK-spec RHD TR8.

An earlier assumption for me as well as many others, was that because the car started being built with a federal TR8 engine, that was what it remained. That actually couldn’t be further from the truth as it actually has very much the first UK spec engine. The current owner is Dave Burgess (TR Register Chairman) and I was fortunate enough recently to be invited for a quick drive with him across some of Derbyshire’s country roads in the car. It performs far above what a federal spec car would do, so very much confirms the piston 9:35:1 upgrade.

Triumph TR 8 No 2

The second RHD UK spec TR8 TPADV7AT 214004, NWK988W a Poseidon Green car with a 1981 tan velour interior, was built 29th of July 1980 at Canley. This car was designated the RHD UK spec Development TR8. Having learnt from the quality build car this car was fitted with UK spec engine parts to a bare base federal engine to start with, so no requirement to block air pipes and emissions etc. as the heads don’t have them fitted nor the holes for them.

This car was sent to BL MOTORSPORT at Abingdon where the engine was considerably upgraded to 9:75:1 compression engine (Vitesse engine spec) and further developed by Tony Ponds’ 1980 works TR7V8 rally team with Cliff Humphreys for engine modifications and Richard Hurdwell for suspension modifications

“A green RHD TR8 NWK988W from Solihull has been subject to both engine and suspension modifications at BL Motorsport Abingdon. The purpose of this was to present alternative engine and chassis specifications for the future UK and European Sports Car Market”

Round Britain Reliability Run October 1980

Every year the run was on Triumph tried to put the newest models on the run and Canley Transport manager Bob Train was always very keen to get the latest and greatest on the run so he put in a request for the two RHD UK spec TR8s to be used on the run.

At the time it was done, there had been no decision to not launch in the UK and it was still an active project.

The tour was organised by the Triumph Club in London (now known as Club Triumph) and it was set off on a Friday night up to “John O’Groats” then “Lands’ End” and back to London on Sunday night. It was done with the intention of getting some publicity for the RHD TR8 yet to be launched in the UK, and for club members to see the cars.

Works Team for the Club Triumph 1980 Round Britain Run were:

No 1 Silver TR8 MHP404V

Driven by Group Manufacturing Director Brian Fox and Transport Manager Bob Train.

No 2 Green TR8 NWK988W

Driven by Rover Triumph Plant Director John Micklewright and RHD TR8 Manager Garry Owen.

There was along the way friendly rivalry and competition between Brian Fox and John Micklewright. It was at that time commonplace between departments, and very much so, in the work environment which often included elaborate practical jokes as well! With this in mind, Triumph Plant Director John Micklewright told RHD TR8 Manager Garry Owen to make sure that their TR8, No2, was better than that of Group Manufacturing Director Brian Fox’s, TR8 No1. To that end with Abingdon making the car much quicker, plus the car being one of the very earliest known 1981 model year cars, it was then further topped off with a brand-new W registration, John Micklewright made sure he had one over Brian Fox from the very start.

On the return from the Round Britain Reliability run NWK988W went back to BL Motorsport at Abingdon because they ran out of time before the run and requested that they would like to do yet further improvements. The tarmac MK 2 rally spoiler the car has fitted now, didn’t appear on the car until late December 1980/January 1981.

2023 Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run

The odds of both cars still being around 43 years on is slim, but as they both ended up in private collections, they have both been well preserved. The odds of both current owners wanting to re-create that original run with very low mileage original cars is also pretty slim, but we do, so this year October 2023 the same cars will do the run again 43 years on albeit with different crews this time.

The team for the Club Triumph 2023 Round Britain Run are:

No 1 Silver TR8 MHP404V

Driven by TR Register Chairman Dave Burgess and TR Register Press Officer Wayne Scott.

No 2 Green TR8 NWK988W

Driven by Richard Connew and TRDC TR8 Registrar Brian Ridley-Jones

How to donate: 

The MHP404V charity page is here:

NWK988W charity page is here

Want to come and see us along the route? Here are the locations for our control stops and an approximate time of arrival.


Knebworth House - SG3 6PY - 14:00 to 17:30

Wetherby Services - LS22 5GT - 21:07 to 22:37


Kinross Services - KY13 0NQ - [01:35 - 02:55]

Skiach Services - IV16 9XH - [05:04 to 06:29]

Seaview Hotel, JOG - KW1 4YR - [08:00 to 11:00]

Falls of Shin - IV27 4EE - [12:12 - 13:32]

Gartcosh, Glasgow - G69 8AS - [17:56 - 19:11]

Tebay Services - CA10 3SB - [20:20 to 22:20]

Gledrid Services - SY11 3EP - [23:36 to 01:01]


Monmouth Services - NP25 4BR - [02:42 - 04:07]

Whitehouse Services - EX20 1QJ - [05:40 - 06:50]

Lands' End - TR19 7AA - [07:57 - 10:57]

Bude - EX23 8LG - [11:52 - 13:12]

Badgers Holt, Dartmeet - PL20 6SG - [13:27 - 14:42]

Popham Airfield - SO21 3BD - [16:22 - 17:32]

Knebworth House - SG3 6PY - [ 18:00 ]

There will be a follow-up report on how we all got on when we return from the RBRR in October 2023!

Words by: Richard Connew

There are no comments on this thread