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