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The Bullet that Backfired on British Leyland.

Codename Bullet was British Leyland’s audacious bid to conquer the North American sports car market, in order to earn the vital export dollars needed to re-invest in their ageing model range. Undeterred by draconian US safety and emission regulations, they stepped boldly forward as European manufacturers.  BL was blighted by poor industrial relations, lack of investment and economic crises that devastated British industry.  The purpose-built Triumph factory at Speke was closed three years after the TR7 launch and production moved twice before cancellation in 1981. A similar project in Japan created the Datsun 240z, demonstrating how an opportunity had been squandered, but British Leyland’s launch of an under developed car administered a fatal blow to the company’s battered reputation, increasing reliance on government aid and accelerated a cycle of terminal decline.

Additional information


Steve Jackson




Softback, 21cm x 21cm




Lily Publications

Publication Date

June 2015

3 reviews for TR7

  1. Triumph World Magazine

    Review in the TRIUMPH WORLD Magazine http://www.triumph-world August/September 2015 issue.
    This book is meticulously researched and packed with detail. it requires some effort on the part of the reader, not because of deficiencies in its compilation or production but because of its scope. This is not a coffee table book of glossy pictures nor a superficial and sycophantic homage to TR7; instead it is a detailed analysis of why, despite out-selling every previous TR version, the TR7 ultimately failed to reach its full potential and help save Triumph or British Leyland. As such, it ranges widely through the history of the British motor industry, the American market, the Japanese approach to exporting there, plus the politics and the economics of the TR7 era both globally and in the UK. At times it is uncomfortable reading, but it is always compelling. The analysis of why the Speke factory closed shows a particular disregard for conventional pub wisdom, and should be compulsory reading before anybody is allowed to voice an opinion on that subject.

  2. AROnline

    Review online by AROnline
    Steve Jackson has written TR7 – The Bullet that Backfired on British Leyland – a softback 160 page title published by Lily Publications. We were asked to review the book very recently and can confirm that its a good read from cover to cover with just the right amount of balance to keep the reader informed and engaged. Of course a few titles have been written on TR7 in the past but its always good to revisit an old car in print from differing peoples point of view and style.

    Its nicely formatted with some tasteful pictures too – an nice companion for the coffee table or motoring book shelf. Also worthy of mention is Steve’s interest in BL products generally but his passion and enthusiasm doesn’t seem to bias his opinion in the book – always a tricky thing to avoid when it comes to writing.

  3. Classic Cars Magazine Review

    The word “unflinching” sums up Steve Jackson’s book on Triumph’s least-loved yet most successful TR. It’s not that Jackson sets out to damn the car but rather that he clearly feels it’s best to tell the whole story without bias – and it’s obvious from the outset that the story would never be a happy one.
    To give a full portrait of the TR7 free from corporate gloss Jackson draws on period sources including photographs from the prototype-testing stage and interviews with designers and engineers. Perhaps the most fascinating is a sales brief that sums up a car made by a company whose management couldn’t decide what to do with it in a world where the Datsun 240Z had outclassed all opposition. It was trying to be a sports car aimed at buyers of saloons, with the look of a Farrari, designed by people who wanted – but weren’t allowed -to build a Lotus Elan-style car. It could never succeeded – and this results in a fascinating book.

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