Triumph Sprint Reviews

1978 Triumph Sprint 2.0 cc 16v from UK and Ireland

Model year1978
Year of manufacture1978
First year of ownership1994
Most recent year of ownership1998
Engine and transmission 2.0 cc 16v Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired65000 miles
Previous carTriumph Dolomite

Summary:

Superb fun car to drive and practical to boot

Faults:

Unipart spark plug broke into several pieces and resulted in a new engine being required. This was not the Sprints fault, spark plugs were not soaked in oil, which can occur. The problem was in the spark plug itself (which had only done 3000 miles).

Once the engine was replaced and different spark plugs fitted (along with careful maintenance), the car gave no trouble at all.

General Comments:

Brilliant car to drive with fine handling, relaxed cruising and extremely comfortable seats. Real walnut wooden dashboard is a masterpiece of design and the car is very well trimmed and equipped for a 1970's car. Buy a good one and they are perfectly reliable (provided they are correctly maintained) and they are great fun to drive. Oh and performance is very impressive, even by todays standards.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th November, 2006

1977 Triumph Sprint from Australia and New Zealand

Year of manufacture1977
First year of ownership1977
Most recent year of ownership1979
Engine and transmission Don't Know
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 2 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.0 / 10
Distance when acquired10 miles
Most recent distance30000 miles
Previous carChrysler Charger

Summary:

What will it be next?

Faults:

Head gasket blew at 5,000 kms.

Again, at 25,000 kms.

The parcel shelves are constructed of a cheap black cardboard material and eventually rattle loose.

The gearbox ceased engaging during my first Aussie summer when the car was hot.

The car's rear thuds and vibrates whenever a full bore take-off is attempted.

The SU carburettors must be regularly topped up with oil if the car isn't to run like a dog.

Car overheats on a regular basis in hot Australian summers and a new radiator core and thermostat did nothing to improve things.

Thermo fan seized after 18 months.

General Comments:

I loved the handling. It skips at the rear when on the limit which is entertaining, but never unnerving.

The motor, when it ran, pulled like an English locomotive... about 8.5 seconds to 100 kph and torquey in every gear.

Economy was good to very good when the motor was going well. Up to 38 mpg on a sedate trip, 25 around town.

Interior comfort was generally good, but the limited rear suspension travel caused some jarring over less than perfect roads.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd May, 2004

1975 Triumph Sprint Dolomite 2.0 16v from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1975
First year of ownership1982
Most recent year of ownership1984
Engine and transmission 2.0 16v Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 2 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired76000 miles
Most recent distance90000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen Beetle

Summary:

Good looking and fast car, but unreliable!

Faults:

Cylinder Head Warped (3 times)

Radiator failed (inefficient/clogged) expensive even for recon unit!

Constant Suspension problems, had to replace many of the bushes/shocks etc.

Steering rack worn out, replaced with recon unit at a quarter of the cost of new one.

Clutch worn out, replaced this myself, not any easy job due to the Overdrive unit making the gearbox long and really awkward to drop.

Body rotted easily.

Alloy wheels and nuts corroded badly and difficult to remove.

General Comments:

The engine on these cars was revolutionary! 16 valve Alloy head 127 BHP, 0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds, looked cool in red with the black vinyl roof.

The inside was also good, lots of real wood and instruments and switches with adjustable steering wheel and twin headlights and fog lamps up front.

Really shocked some of the so called "fast cars" around the time I had it. Like a bunch of lads in a Renault Fuego at traffic lights, scoffing at my "old rust bucket" while they were still scoffing, my blue smoke made them choke as the limited-slip diff, on the live rear axle, sat the Sprint back and I took off like a banshee.

It wasn't just the power, it was the control, but this was at a heavy cost in money, time and effort! The "revolutionary engine" had too many valves in it for the amount of alloy in the cylinder head, even when I was careful after the first warp, being gentle when cold, it still warped within 6-12 months, needing a head-skim and a new head gasket each time. luckily I was able to do the repairs myself, so the cost wasn't astronomical, but still a real pain!

That's not to mention the handling and inadequate brakes, constant failing suspension bushes didn't help at all, all that power needed the back-up of good handling, which was not there unless you had the time and money to keep tweaking and fixing the brakes and suspension.

I had a very unusual thing happen with this car, a big bang then a noise like there was a hole in the engine. Fearing the engine had blown, and unable to see anything in the dark, I called the AA. The AA guy took a look under the bonnet, and came back smiling, I was not amused as I thought the engine was shot, he handed me a sparkplug that was hollow? He replaced it and the car ran fine, what a relief!

On the plus side, when this car was up to it, it was a joy to drive, I loved it, the twin carbs and K&N air filter made a sound like it's name.

I was in a hurry at dawn one morning, no traffic around, I was flagged down in Haverfordwest town centre by a policeman, I thought I was in for a speeding fine, he said "Nice car" I looked at him sheepishly and he said "Do me a favour, at least keep it down to fifty?" and waved me off, we were both grinning!

The car had to go the third time the head warped, I just couldn't put up with the the unreliability, I scrapped it! I had a TR7 as well you see, but that's another story.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th March, 2004

19th Apr 2007, 03:29

Sounds like you had a lot of fun with it! These days specialists have the head warping kept in check with some sensible modifications. As with the Triumph Stag V8 (similar (8 valve) heads and problems) the key is quality oil/coolant - both of which have come on a long way since the 70's/80's, and cooling modifications, uprated radiators, oil coolers and in really hot climates - thermostatic electronic cooling fans can be fitted to keep engine and oil temperatures in check. That said head gaskets still can fail, if this happens get a decent mechanic to sort it properly as it will only go again if the repair is done half heartedly!

Average review marks: 6.7 / 10, based on 3 reviews