What's a recipe for success? Take one helping of traditional British sports car, and add five liters of American V8 — shake well while serving. Today, Nice Price or Crack Pipe is trading in Iron Chef for Fiberglass TVR. Hungry?
Yesterday, 60% of you succumbed to the sultry intonations of the late, great Ricardo Montalban and voted Nice Price for the Mopar madness and soft Corinthian leather of the '75 Cordoba. While the Cordoba was positioned as the "small" Chrysler of the malaise era, its size was still more Hulk than Bruce Banner, so it needed that V8 simply to keep out of its own way. Today we have another V8 - in a car that could potentially fit in that Cordoba's trunk - but for a cost that you might find less palatable.
TreVoR Wilkinson (R.I.P. last year) founded TVR in 1947 in Blackpool Lancashire (and not Blackburn, likely due to all those potholes), starting out as a tuner, and then evolving into that great British tradition of the cottage-industry car maker.
Tiny, fiberglass, and one rung above a kit car (and sometimes a rung or two below) TVRs were actually sold as kits in order to avoid onerous British tax levies. While most were powered by some sort of Coventry Climax, Ford, or Triumph four and six cylinder engines, a few made their way to America, where Ford dealer, Jack Griffith shoved thumping 289s in them- creating something akin to a hand grenade with four tires and very bad brakes. Normally, when a small sports car gets a large-engine transplant, the remaining bits of the car are likewise upgraded to handle the additional power and performance. That was not the case with these Griffith-branded TVRs, in fact, chassis members were removed, or beaten out of shape in order for the Ford small block to fit. Those cars were lighter, and had better aerodynamics than the contemporary Cobra, but the handling and brakes were not up to the task. This resulted in a car with the kind of driving dynamics that are specifically denoted in life insurance contacts as policy-voiding.
Today we have a V8 TVR, but it's not one of those Grantura-based Griffiths. This is a 1979 3000S, for which the seller is asking $25,000. The 3000 was imported into the U.S. in very, very limited numbers- due only by the exemption of U.S. safety standards made possible by those very same small numbers. Those cars arrived with 2.5-litre Triumph straight sixes, and later the Ford Essex 6 when Triumph abandoned making good motors. Neither of those sexteters provided the rock ‘em-sock ‘em of a stock 302 V8, and this one appears to be more rock than stock, with a claimed 350-bhp. Nothing turns a frown upside down like a bonnet full of ponies, and this car shouldn't disappoint on that front. Also smile-inducing is the full-restoration- including a fly-yellow respray - and first-in-class award at the 2008 Woodwork event. That is indicative of the quality of the work as well as how neatly that five litre was fit into the little Brit. The American heart transplant alone might have been as butt-puckering as one of those original Griffiths, but it's backed up by a sturdy T5, and the brakes - situated behind 60-spoke wires - have been upgraded to assure that stopping doesn't require a road-side tree.
So, what is a deliciously rare and potentially wickedly fast roadster worth to you? The seller of this one hopes you'll say $25,000 for his saucy concoction. Is he serving up the Nice Price here, or is it Crack Pipe on the menu today?
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