By December 24th, 2006 the Blackpool-based, sportcar-making, Russian-owned-firm TVR had entered administration. In February 2007, Evo (“the thrill of driving”) magazine reported proposals for a 200 mph supercar.
The article is still on-line (dated Jan 2007) with the same text as appeared in the published magazine. “Reports of TVR’s death have been greatly exaggerated,” began the article. That phrase is such a clichée I’d never even examined it until now, which shows the danger of hackneyed phrases. Death is all-or-nothing and so can’t be exaggerated any more than one can be slightly pregnant. Deaths being exaggerated is thus a kind of lame joke.
I suppose this particular reported car was a form of phantom pregnancy because it didn’t materialise. The last car made by TVR was a Speed Six (2006 or 2007).
The supposed Typhoon car seems to have been more of a mirage, one designed to make it look like TVR was not dead. The article promised a 600 bhp 200 MPH supercar. It was to have been powered by TVR’s straight-six, devoloped by Ricardo. The Typhoon would have cost £120,000, making it TVR’s most costly car. The story went on to say the car was to be unveiled in Geneva and only 60 would be made (“strictly limited numbers” was the formulation.)
In a very typcial misunderstanding of prepositions, EVO claimed the car was “designed by CAD” which is like something being designed by pencil. This “move” (another bit of boilerplate journalese) brought substantial aerodynamic advantages, according to “company sources”.
Under the thin CAD skin shown here the “company sources” suggested that the Typhoon would be built with a tubular steel backbone chassis with an integral roll-cage. Carbon-fibre would have been used for the exterior panels. It would have weighed 1100kg. Further details included Sparco seat, satellite navigation and Bilstein dampers. Unlike other TVRs this one was intended to have usable rear seats but the car was still shorter than a Tuscan meaning a very, very tiny boot.
Looking at the CAD images, one sees a car with a few features common to cars like the Tuscan and Cerbera (the door shutline and long nose). Much of the rest is generic super-car and, given the level of detail, not indicative of a project that had gone much further than about two weeks of CAD noodling.
The small radiuses that go to make a design look finished and to “weigh” a lot are all absent. Such work takes a substantial amount of time to do. It is most probably little more than a sketch model. However, since TVR did most of their production work the old-fashioned way, it may not have been necessary to do more than make a sketch like this to have enough data to proceeed thereafter by hand work.
Returning to the less charitable side, the cantrails and rear window treatment all reinforce the impression of haste with this. It is very much what I think of as Coventry car, looking like many other designs from graduates of the CSAD’s famous halls. Much of the organic shapes seen on the Typhon (below) and other TVRs of the period are gone.
EVO claimed the article was an “exclusive”. An article from June 2006 makes similar claims concerning performance and Geneva ambitions. Perhaps the CAD models were enough to call it “exclusive”.
The on-line EVO article had a post-script to the effect that Bertone would handle the construction of the cars in future and that Ricardo engineering would be responsible for the development. That didn’t happen.
In the end nothing at all happened. The Russian phase of TVR’s ownership ended in confusion. “On 22 February 2007 it was revealed that Smolensky was once again the owner of the company, having been the highest bidder.”
These days TVR is a Welsh endeavour and the Griffith name has been re-used for a 2019 launch: