Concepts and prototypes : IAD TRX (1980)

Worthing-based International Automotive Developments (IAD) decided to raise its profile with a TR7 facelift project called the IAD TRX…

The design consultancy came up with was a very 1980s incarnation of the oh-so 1970s Triumph it’s based upon. If you have more pictures of the completed car, we’d love to hear from you


IAD TRX: an unlikely star in Birmingham

International Automotive Design unveiled its first concept car at the NEC motor show in 1980. It was a reskin of the Triumph TR7, and was meant to showcase the company's design consultancy business.
International Automotive Developments unveiled its first concept car at the NEC Motor Show in 1980. It was a reskin of the Triumph TR7, and was meant to showcase the company’s design consultancy business

Anyone visiting Stand 146 at the 1980 Birmingham Motor Show would have been able to inspect a facelifted version of the Triumph TR7. It had glassy, 2+2 fastback styling and a T-bar roof with removable panels.

The car, dubbed IAD TRX, was built solely to promote the company’s capabilities in the field of design and development. The project brief was to change the appearance of the car while keeping the fundamental structure as original as possible.

According to a double-sided A4 colour flyer designed to be handed out at the Motor Show, the TRX was, ‘an Exercise in Promotion. The TRX interior was changed to facelift the internal appearance. Assistance and partial finance for the also provided TRX project were by General Electric Plastics.’

The windscreen and surround were retained unaltered, along with much of the car’s superstructure, while all-new external body panels were fashioned in steel and plastics, with General Electric Plastics helping to fund the project. The interior was also given a comprehensive makeover.

IAD TRX: Styled to win

IAD TRX

IAD TRX

IAD TRX

IAD embarked on the project with the full approval of Rover-Triumph and in cooperation with the company’s drawing office. It had been keen to ensure that it would not unwittingly pre-empt anything that BL might itself have had under development.

The fact that BL gave the project its blessing can be interpreted as a clear indication that the ostensibly similar in-house Lynx and Broadside projects were dead in the water by the end of the 1970s.

IAD went on to establish an international reputation in the field of automotive design, with notable achievements including building the full-scale prototype for the iconic Mazda MX-5 (Miata).

In 1994, the company was acquired by Daewoo and became the Korean company’s European Design and Technical Centre. Chris Milburn, who had formerly worked for Roy Axe’s Design Research Associates, became its Chief Designer in July 2000.

International Automotive Design unveiled its first concept car at the NEC motor show in 1980. It was a reskin of the Triumph TR7, and was meant to showcase the company's design consultancy business.

Photography: Neil Brooker, via the IAD Alumni and Friends Facebook group

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

9 Comments

    • FWIW there is a BBC 1980 Birmingham Motor Show review on Youtube – rather cringeworthy, although it does show the Stephens Cypher, but no sign of the IAD stand.

  1. Concepts and prototypes : IAD TRX
    According to a double sided A4 colour flyer designed to be handed out at the Motor Show,
    The TRX was…”An Exercise in Promotion”
    “The TRX interior was changed to face – lift the internal appearance.
    Assistance and partial finance for the also provided TRX project were by
    General Electric Plastics”
    The above appeared in three Languages
    English ,French, & German.
    The flyer was designed & produced  by  F S Technical Publicity Shoreham by Sea Sussex

  2. I visited the 1980 NEC Motor Show (so long ago) but never remember seeing this car. Shame, but it was still a good day out

  3. The front looks fine and then the rest happens. A serious case of “Oh my God, they’ve done it on the other side as well” which is pretty apt, considering from where it derives. It looks like a Midas got really drunk and copped off with a BMW M1 – and the result got soundly beaten with the ugly stick (in this case 5ft of 3″ titanium bar stock).

    So many levels of wrong I don’t know where to start. But those rear overhangs..

  4. If you tried turning a 1980s slightly sporty Japanese hatchback into an updated Citroen SM clone this might be a the result.

    The front end is OK but the rear is a bit strange, not helped by the rear overhang.

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