Pistonheads, Autocar and The Truth About Cars have reported that TVR, under new management, is taking orders for 2017 delivery.
I had forgotten about TVR. In the 90s it was a favourite of the motoring press for its outrageous styling, in-house engines and aggressive performance. The two things you noticed about TVRs were that their drivers looked like they were having fun or they were waiting for the AA.
With their in-house engines replacing Rover V8 units (that Rover engine again) they overstretched themselves. The AJP V8 proved to be expensive and thirsty. A straight six, was designed to address these problems and ended up powering all the later TVRs. After wisely selling TVR the owner Peter Wheeler handed over to a Russian, Nikolai Smolensky. At this time production had dwindled to a single figures and it stopped altogether in 2006.
The last few years of TVR production resembled the way Aston Martin seems to be tweaking an existing formula, with diminishing returns. The simple and effective shape of the Griffith and Cerbera gave way to rather baroquely encrusted complexities sold as Tamora, Typhon and Sagaris. In the interim period the ownership structure was fragmented, with some German involvement around 2010.
At present the owners are both TVR-drivers and have F1 experience. Autocar shows the new design as more restrained than the later models, with a long nose and very short rear-overhang. To judge by the drawing the famous entry-button is still hidden on the outside mirror. It’s free of the normal indulgences of small-scale producers which is a relief. The chrome window frame looks pleasant but is not perhaps in keeping with TVR´s image. I’d be curious to see if that detail makes it into production. Or anything like it.
The return of TVR is a chance for Gordon Murray to deploy their iStream production system. This application is more in tune with Gordon Murray’s range than the small vehicles shown so far to showcase the concept which involves tubular frames and minimal use of stressed exterior panels. It is not likely the car will rival McLaren’s F1 but it will be very interesting to see how much Murray intelligence can be applied to a car costing about £50,000 or so. The engines will be modified units purchased from a supplier, which is probably a good bet given the enormous difficulty of making their own. As long the engine provides ample torque and rocket-like speed, TVR owners will not be too concerned about its provenance.
Gordon Murray once said the hardest part about engineering a car for small-scale production was fiddly stuff such as door seals and interiors. It will be fascinating to see how he deals with those matters for this car.
[14.12 pm July 2 2015: the text was amended. The AJP 6 engine was a straight six and not a V6]