Famed British sports car maker TVR is back, and their first new car is using a Gordon Murray Design chassis powered by a Cosworth V8. That sounds great, and there’s more great news. Like that they want to go back to America, make truly scary sports cars again, and even race at Le Mans. Too good to be true?
During the Goodwood Festival of Speed, I managed to get hold of Les Edgar, TVR’s new Chairman for a good 45 minutes to talk cars. Cars that are still in the development phase, but should debut at the next Festival of Speed and go on sale in 2017. (They hope, anyway.)
Here’s where they’re at. The Cosworth engine has been on the dyno since November, the team just finished building the first mule and they’re scheduled to build a prototype by early next year. So far, everything goes according to the plan.
Mr. Edgar is not a delusional dreamer, but a pretty old school guy when it comes to car design. He believes modern sports cars are all more on the heavy GTs side instead of being the real deal, so there’s definitely a space on the market for TVRs in the modern age. He puts it thusly: “A sports car should be small, and it should scare you.”
I can get behind that, and the old TVRs were certainly scary. After all, Jeremy Clarkson famously said “In the olden days I always got the impression that TVR built a car, put it on sale, and then found out how it handled – usually when one of their customers wrote to the factory complaining about how dead he was.”
While I imagine killing people is bad for business no matter what industry you’re in, Edgar says the next TVR will have the specs to be a true hard-edged machine worthy of the badge. It will have a target weight of 2,425 pounds (1100 kg) wet, V8 power, a manual gearbox, no electric nannies and a flat underbody for real downforce.
Since they don’t wish to pretend to know how to do it all, the chassis and the aero is coming from Gordon Murray Design, the engine from Cosworth while the body shape was penned by another British design firm.
While the first model will certainly be built in the UK, Edgar says the beauty of the iStream construction is not just that it’s much more cost effective than a carbon tub while also being light and safe, but that it’s very scalable as well, and assembly lines for it are relatively easy to set up anywhere.
After the first model is ready, the left-hand drive version should follow immediately, after which the open car model shall hit the streets soon. None should be more expensive to buy than previous TVRs were.
Later on, the car will evolve into something more track-focused and even lighter, but the extra power won’t come from turbos — it will come from superchargers.
Les Edgar likes blown cars. He drives a supercharged Range Rover and an Aston Martin Vantage V600. You know, the world’s most powerful (and stupidest) car from 1994.
They’re aware that TVR has a bad reputation when it comes to reliability, and since half of the board has a race license, the plan is to show how durable the product is by relaunching the one make Tuscan Series and even go back to Le Mans. That’s pretty much the best advertisement there is.
After the coupe and the cabrio is out and they started kicking ass at endurance racing, a 2+2 seems to be the obvious next step, a car that could work well in America as well. The United States is on the list of their priorities, they just have to figure out first how not the fail that comeback.
As for the very far future - if they succeed that far - well, how should I put this delicately?
Les Edgar likes SUVs. Light, fast, angry ones. Maybe he should ring up Bowler as well.
TVR started taking £5,000 deposits from July 7th. With initial production in 2017 expected to be in the low hundreds, the early cars are set to end up in the hands of the brand’s numerous fans.
The rest will depend on how long will they keep smiling.
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