TVR was the largest small volume producer of sports cars for nearly 4 decades, and was a driving force in the British sports car development charge in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Fighting the good fight as an independent manufacturer meant it never actually made much money – financial troubles and a wonky approach to wooing prospective owners meant one of the most iconic British brands disappeared into the night about ten years ago. Now, with new owners and a more solid engineering approach, they're coming back. Here's our tribute to the Black Sabbath of motor cars - TVR.
Rebirth of a British icon
Whacky, over-the-top, most of the time hilariously inept at adapting to changing tastes – TVR has had a rocky run of over 65 years. In that time, they have given the automotive world veritable gems like the Griffith, Chimaera, Cerbera and the wonderful M-series cars of the 70s. Loud, proud and as temperamental as British weather, these cars were often loved and hated in equal measure. Now, partnered with Cosworth and a certain Gordon Murray, whose engineering and design portfolio includes the iconic McLaren F1, TVR is making a comeback.
At the Goodwood Revival event on September 8, TVR showed off what that comeback would look like. Draped in a typically TVR red – full of flakes and shined to a tee to show off the car's multiple creases – the Griffith certainly looks the part. Its part Mercedes AMG GT, part Toyota Supra MKIV, with hints of the aggression that lies beneath coming out in the side-exit exhausts, gaping mouth and a huge rear air-dam. The powertrain promises to back up that visual aggression, with a Cosworth fettled, Ford sourced 5.0 litre V8 sending power to the rear wheels. Like TVR would ever do All-Wheel Drive.
Will it work? Considering TVR is still an independent, relatively low-volume sports car manufacturer, it's unlikely that they'll be any more competent at building sales-friendly cars than they were previously. But sales hasn't deterred TVR for 65 years, so why should it matter now? The Griffith promises hilarious powerslides, noise and fury like older TVR's – it'll perhaps be better engineered than before with a maestro like Gordon Murray in charge of development. It's an old-school enthusiast's car at a time when even the enthusiasts are slowly warming up to the idea of vehicles that make no noise and plugs up next to the blender. What else can you expect from a company so set in its ways that the mere mention of the name conjures up images of Blackpool, stone walls and quiet, gruff men taking a smoke break after hand-beating some body panels in a grimy factory?
TVR is definitely back.
The greatest hits album
The Vixen was based on the initial Grantura model, with a Ford Cortina donating the engine and most of the smaller parts to the budding sports car maker.
The TVR M-series cars established their reputation as a maker of fast, agile cars with a distinctive soundtrack. The ultimate M TVR is the 3000M Turbo. Only 20 were made.
The Chimaera was highly significant, setting the tone for TVR design and engineering for the 90s and early 2000s with its rounded design and Rover V8 power.
Based on the Cerbera, the Speed 12 is the angriest and fastest TVR ever made. The 7.7 litre V12 put out 960 BHP and was designed to compete with the legendary McLaren F1.
The Sagaris was the last great hurrah for TVR before it went down around 2008. Crazy styling, difficult to tame and 100% TVR.
Every single interior ever designed by TVR is a hero – for being a complicated mess and an ergonomic disaster.