Buy the pen, win the car…
When pen company Sheaffer launched a stylish new ball pen called the TRZ in 1981, they spotted an opportunity to use the similarly named TR7 to promote it. Thus, the Triumph TRZ was created. Externally, the car announced itself with bold “Sheaffer” and “TRZ” graphics on the bonnet, boot and flanks, a distictive two-tone silver and black paint-job, and a stylish set of Wolfrace alloy wheels.
However, most of the work was reserved for the car’s interior, where the seats and other surfaces were swathed in silver-fox dralon, and the dashboard was modified with a large central binnacle incorporating a Crown 150 on-board computer and Blaupunkt Berlin stereo radio-cassette, complete with distinctive, stalk-mounted remote control. Other features included cruise control and a digital locking system. The conversion work was carried out by Wood and Pickett Ltd, better known for their upmarket conversion work on Minis and Range Rovers, and the finished car was reckoned to be worth some £12,500 – almost double the cost of a standard TR7.
Any UK resident (over 18) who bought a Sheaffer TRZ pen was eligible to enter the competition to win the car, which involved guessing the precise mileage (as reported by the car’s trip computer) covered on a drive from Triumph’s base in Solihull to Sheaffer’s headquarters in Hemel Hempstead, Herts, with various clues being given as to landmarks passed along the way. Interestingly, the route reportedly took in a 117mph drive around BL’s test track at Gaydon, in the days before the site housed the Heritage Centre. If you didn’t win the car, there were 50 runners-up prizes of Sinclair ZX81 computers…
The TRZ was spotted by TR7 enthusiast Pete Griffiths in 1986, in the public car park at Brands Hatch, unfortunately looking “very second-hand”, so it seems that the chances that it may have survived are somewhat slim.
Thanks to Graham Arnold for supplying many of the images for this feature, and to Pete Griffiths for providing additional information.