Home » Why Is Someone Selling Two Polaroids Of A Red 1976 Triumph TR7 On eBay?

Why Is Someone Selling Two Polaroids Of A Red 1976 Triumph TR7 On eBay?


I have a strong affection for eBay, owing largely to the entirely random mix of things I’ve purchased on the site, ranging from the practical (a Japanese-only Casio G-Shock watch) to the necessary (a draft copy of a “Sports Night” episode script). I just recently purchased a part for my new E39 there. What I have never thought to purchase, nor would ever think to sell, is what’s in this listing right here. It’s for a pair of Polaroid photos of a red Triumph TR7. Does it get stranger from here? Yes it does.

There’s something about the specificity of this listing, which was suggested by friend-of-the-site Richard Truett, that’s really getting to me. It’s not just two random photos of a 1976 Triumph TR7, the seller goes out of the way to specify:



We even get a photo of the back of the Polaroid just in case, I guess, you were worried it was potentially inauthentic?

BTW, for Thomas and other young people, a Polaroid camera was an “instant camera” that would take a picture of what was happening and print it out, but first you had to do a little dance where you shook the picture until the ghostly shape of your friends started to appear. Then you’d wait some more. Then, more or less, you’d have a photo.


All of this is strange, of course, because who would pay $4.99 for two old photos of a TR-7? Here’s where I’m really thrown for a loss: This is one of THREE listings this seller has for a pair of Polaroids of a Triumph TR-7. In case “Car Under Palm Tree” didn’t move you, there’s also “Parked In Grass” and “In A Driveway.”

If you’ve got the extra dollar, the seller also has “Lot of 3 Photo’s of Custom Pink VW Bug at 1980’s VW Car Show at S.I.R.” For my, money, though, you can’t beat the 2-page print ad for the Mazda MP3 (a great Holy Grail car, actually).

My sense here, really, is that this person bought a random lot of stuff from a storage unit and has painstakingly cataloged everything in detail on the off chance someone might buy it.

That’s not fun, though, so let’s have some better theories. I want you to tell me what you think is going on here. My favorite guess from Autopian Slack comes from Patrick, who ventured that these are sort of like the original NFTs (i.e. Non-Functioning Triumph photos). Have it, folks! What’s going on here?

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33 Responses

  1. What I can’t stand is people who cut up old magazines and sell them in bits. Sure, I would like to own the Pontiac LeMans GSE road test, but only if I get the rest of the issue as well. What about what’s on the back of the same page? Destroying history, one auction at a time.

  2. Those TR7 pics maybe aren’t the best example but I can definitely see the appeal of buying old amateur photos of cars, especially ones at car shows like the VW one. A few months ago, I was bidding on two separate lots of photos of random street parked foreign cars taken in early 1960s Japan but bidding got higher than I was willing to pay. Lots of old Y plate and even some E plate cars in that lot though.

    I’ve come to find out the hard way that as dangerous eBay is in regards to buying old junk, Yahoo Auctions is even dangerous-er

  3. See, back in the mid-70’s, Triumph teamed up with Lucas Industries to make a fully-electric TR7 prototype because the company was flush with cash and ran out of other problems to solve. These photos are the only remaining proof of that prototype.

    The project was ultimately a failure as the car only worked on a 76 degree day with a 53 degree dew point and west-southwest winds at 15 mph. On the plus side, the wipers did function reliably, but only by tuning the radio.

    This ultimately inspired Motorola to make it’s own electric Corvette prototype.

  4. The seller is hoping to find someone with the matching TR7 who wants to buy these as provenance for their “one owner” vehicle on BaT.

  5. This is one half of one of Jason’s “would you rather” questions. The seller has a magic Polaroid camera that, if you take a photo of a car, can manifest the actual car. The trick is that it only works on crappy cars.

    Me, I think I’d rather have the magical chest hair shavings that turn any car interior to Rich Corinthian Leather.

    1. Yeah, but whose definition of a crappy car? I have a total lust for any number of cars other people might consider crappy. I mean, just find a person who thinks the car I want is total crap, hand it to that person, and voila! I have a crappy car that I wanted!

  6. To paraphrase King Julian, you might want to shake it, shake it but Polaroid discouraged the practice.

    I know a lot of people seem to dislike the TR7, but I love wedge-shaped cars with pop-up headlights. Sadly, a pair of old polaroids are odd. Maybe if I had the chemicals from the old Amazing Stories episode where they produced the real object when mixed onto a photograph. As I recall, the guy was trying to produce a magazine model for a girlfriend with varying degrees of success.*

    I got way off point, but if I had those chemicals and could produce a basically new TR7 from the photo, then this would be a steal.

    * I had to go Google this and my memory was pretty spot on for 36+ years. As a bonus it stars Jon Cryer, the Lex Luthor of our time.

  7. I hesitate to post the true answer as it may cost me my life. But Autotopian has asked therefore I must answer. “All hail King Torch.” This is a hidden message from the illuminati to the remaining Knights Templar. It is a secret map guiding the true believers to a treasure beyond imagination. Yes a low mileage, perfect condition Brown manual transmission XJ Jeep Grand Cherokee. Incidentally it comes with provenance that the transmission was not only built but installed by a gentleman known throughout the car world. Manuel. Those of us in the know realize as a true super car guy he uses only one name. However, for those of you seeking to discover the treasure it is not for the faint of heart. It will not arrive unless the following conditions are met. 1. You must purchase all the photos. 2. You must pay for expedited shipping. 3. You must include what the speed is of a unladen swallow. Even then the journey will be perilous. You will be required to pass certain tests. The 1st is the selling of 3 cars. Not 2 cars and not 4 cars but 3 cars that is the number 4 is too many. 2 is too few unless it is followed by the sale of a third. Then you must transport a large shipment of heavy metals from the shire of Detroit unto the boughs of hell a place known as Los Angeles. Then you must obtain a sacrifice of a young newlywed couple and transport them of their own free will across the frozen tundra in a brutal metal beast that breathes smoke but no fire so there shall be no warmth. During this holy period the chosen one called David Tracy must fast only feasting upon the delicacy known as Shower Spaghetti. Nay on lasagna, also nay on Cannolis only shower spaghetti will get our hero from the frozen lands of Michagani to the fiery lands of that is the city of lost Angels.

      1. What i dont know that. Aaaaaaaah. And at 4 one has gone to far and 5 is again too far. Ifbone sells 5 cars he will be sacked. And anyone who helped will be sacked. If this doesnt correct the problem those who sacked the individuals who were sacked will be sacked.

  8. “the entirely random mix of things I’ve purchased on the site”

    Yes, indeed.

    Mostly I buy motorcycle stuff and occasionally old books, but a few years ago I needed one white ceramic caster for an early-1900s table. Just for grins I went to eBay and did a quick search. Not only did I find exactly the caster I needed, it was bundled with three other similar ones made of wood and sold as “a set” despite not matching in any meaningful way.

    Intrigued, I looked for a carburetor for the 1970s (?) Honda rototiller that I have for some reason. Found one. Since then I have not questioned the accommodating nature of eBay.

    Anybody want to buy three wooden casters?

  9. Let’s say you’re a legit bad guy, a serial killer perhaps, who once owned a red TR7. A victim was last spotted with in the passenger seat of a “red wedge-shaped car.” What to do? Set up a fall guy by buying the eBay photos and planting them in a box of the fall guy’s memorabilia placed juuuuust conspicuously enough for the cops to find. For $7 American, this eBay listing is a problem solved.

    That was my first thought.

  10. I smell a scam here. Some rando bought a polaroid camera from Target (yes they still sell them), took some pictures of said Triumph, and “aged” them for a convincing vintage look.

    Don’t fall for it!

  11. Why is someone selling these on feeBay?

    Since they ARE for sale, it’s obvious the seller wants them gone. Let’s look at the seller’s choices to make them go away:
    1. Toss ’em into the trash.
    2. Put them up for auction, maybe make a few Dollars.

    If they don’t sell, then toss ’em.

  12. The only surviving half-decent polaroids of a triumph from that era?Could be! XD

    Everyone switched to polaroid for unofficial photos in the early 70s,and thought it good that everyone had a try. Meanwhile almost no one was taking ‘proper’ photos.
    To this day our grade school has a giant hole in it’s photographic history.When we visited for their 125th celebrations there were like 5 crap photos from that era.Really sad given the amazing outings we did

  13. I get it. Someone used to own a red TR7. It was a pain in the ass but they loved it. Here’s a couple of pics for $5.00. They look more authentic than a print ad. Cheap fun. You spend more tipping in a restaurant.

  14. Perhaps I ought to sell the photos of my 1971 Alfa Romeo 1750A Berlina. Alfa Romeo built between 249–251 units of 1750A Berlina with automatic gearboxes from the late 1970 to early 1971: none of them probably existed today. They predated 2000A Berlina and Alfetta saloon.

    So, I have the photos showing the close-up of 1750A decal in the rear, the whole dashboard with different centre console and horizontal gauge bank, and the close-up of automatic gear selector.

    Any takers? 😉

  15. Wait a minute – which episode of Sports Night, and why that episode? Was it necessary because you needed to complete your collection, or did you need it for your drama club? How much did you pay for it? Have you bought other scripts as well? This is the real story here – the people need answers.

  16. The seller did take the photographs in the 70’s. He is a stalker who was recently released from prison. One of his early targets (before he progressed into the type of activities that saw him imprisoned) was a woman who drove a red TR7.

    As a younger man, he used to force people to look at his Polaroids, getting more and more excited as the viewer became uneasy with the situation. With no real social group remaining, he is having a hard time doing this in person.

    By posting them on eBay, he can get thousands of people to look at them. A few will send ‘WTF?’ inquiries which eh finds almost as satisfying as watching their faces distort with discomfort.

    Do not contact this seller.

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