New TVR un­veiled

Bri­tish su­per­car’s vi­tal statis­tics

Auto Car (UK) - - THIS WEEK - STEVE CRO­P­LEY

TVR has fi­nally re­vealed its new-gen­er­a­tion car in the shape of a fully fin­ished 480bhp two-seat GT coupé pro­to­type. It is be­ing re­vealed to the world in the Good­wood Re­vival’s Earl’s Court Mo­tor Show pavil­ion sur­rounded by a sup­port­ing squadron of TVR clas­sics.

It’s a day that diehard en­thu­si­asts feared would never dawn: the big-hearted, big-per­for­mance sports car mar­que born in Black­pool 70 years ago ceased pro­duc­tion in 2006 un­der the own­er­ship of Rus­sian ‘mini oli­garch’ Niko­lai Smolen­ski and re­sisted all at­tempts at re­vival un­til TVR’S cur­rent own­ers be­gan a lengthy restora­tion process in 2013.

The all-new TVR pro­to­type will be a full-house ver­sion of the car that’s due to hit the mar­ket in 18 months’ time. It is pow­ered by a spe­cially de­vel­oped Cos­worth edi­tion of Ford’s 5.0-litre quad-cam Mus­tang V8 and has a Tre­mec Mag­num XL six-speed stick-shift gear­box, a car­bon­fi­bre body fit­ted with a spe­cial ground-ef­fects aero­dy­namic pack­age, a high­qual­ity but no-frills in­te­rior, ad­justable sus­pen­sion and a set of unique-de­sign TVR al­loy wheels (19in at the front and 20in at the rear). How­ever, it won’t use TVR’S spe­cial launch edi­tion colour, which is still se­cret as it con­tin­ues in fi­nal de­vel­op­ment.

The launch edi­tion of the car will cost “un­der £90,000”, af­ter which prices are ex­pected to go both up­wards and down­wards from that

With 400bhp per tonne, the TVR’S per­for­mance fig­ures should be sim­i­lar to the Mclaren 570S’s

level, de­pend­ing on trim and equip­ment. How­ever, at launch, TVR bosses are de­ter­mined that the first car should em­body their de­ter­mi­na­tion to of­fer “a lot of bang for your buck”, as TVRS have al­ways done.

Since an­nounc­ing the project nearly four years ago, TVR’S back­ers have al­ways in­sisted the car would be very light, with a tar­get power-toweight ra­tio of 400bhp per tonne. En­gi­neers are now re­port­edly within sight of achiev­ing a tar­get dry weight of 1200kg to 1250kg, which means the new TVR should achieve its power-to-weight tar­get with an en­gine out­put of around 480bhp, an easy 20% boost for a V8 well known for its ro­bust­ness and ver­sa­til­ity.

With 400bhp per tonne, the TVR’S per­for­mance fig­ures should be sim­i­lar to those of the Mclaren 570S, which de­liv­ers a 0-100mph time of 6.4sec on a power-to-weight ra­tio of 390bhp per tonne. Higher­pow­ered, higher-priced mod­els are sure to fol­low.

“Although our show car can’t be driven at the Re­vival, given the his­toric na­ture of the event, the show car is a fully driv­able, fully fin­ished car de­signed to be ro­bustly test driven straight af­ter the wraps come off,” said TVR chair­man Les Edgar. “It’ll be a fully de­vel­oped, fully ca­pa­ble GT car.”

Although ob­vi­ously an all-new de­sign, the new TVR — whose last re­main­ing of­fi­cial se­cret, the name, will also be re­vealed at the pre-re­vival launch — draws clearly on the de­sign of past mod­els, es­pe­cially the later mod­els such as the Tus­can.

Its de­signer, David Seesing, who “works be­tween” TVR Man­u­fac­tur­ing and Gor­don Mur­ray De­sign, sees main­tain­ing the re­la­tion­ship with the mar­que’s his­to­ry­mak­ing older cars as one of his most im­por­tant pri­or­i­ties.

The new car is the first to be built by TVR’S cur­rent own­ers — a pri­vate mil­lion­aires’ con­sor­tium fronted by com­puter-gam­ing mag­nate Edgar — that four years ago mounted a suc­cess­ful bid to buy the brand from Smolen­ski, who moved to Aus­tria af­ter Black­pool pro­duc­tion ceased in 2006.

The first 500 cars will be spe­cially con­fig­ured and badged launch edi­tions. Most have al­ready been re­served by a faith­ful cus­tomer group dubbed the TVR 500. Most mem­bers placed £5000

En­ter­ing a new TVR at Le Mans is an im­por­tant as­pi­ra­tion once pro­duc­tion cars are es­tab­lished in the mar­ket

de­posits around 18 months ago and are on course to re­ceive their cars dur­ing 2019.

Edgar and his con­sor­tium of “about a dozen” well-heeled car en­thu­si­asts have al­ways been very clear about the car they want to build: a sim­ple, fast, pal­pa­bly Bri­tish, driver­fo­cused, front-en­gined V8 GT ca­pa­ble of be­ing used daily but with a ‘less is more’ ap­proach to equip­ment and de­sign. Var­i­ous con­sor­tium mem­bers, in­clud­ing Edgar, have ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence of clas­sic TVR and As­ton Martin own­er­ship and strong racing links. En­ter­ing a new TVR at Le Mans re­mains an im­por­tant as­pi­ra­tion, once pro­duc­tion cars are es­tab­lished in the mar­ket.

Like all fu­ture TVRS, the launch model uses Gor­don Mur­ray’s new istream Car­bon process and is the first pro­duc­tion car to do so. It uses in­ner pan­els in car­bon­fi­bre bonded into a steel frame to pro­vide im­mense rigid­ity and im­pres­sive crash in­tegrity.

Mur­ray’s process is de­liv­ered via a new-de­sign fac­tory that is claimed to pro­vide new lev­els of com­pact­ness and ef­fi­ciency. With Welsh govern­ment fi­nan­cial help, TVR is un­der­stood to be put­ting around £30 mil­lion into re-equip­ping an ex­ist­ing 184,000sq ft fac­tory in the Ras­sau In­dus­trial Es­tate, Ebbw Vale, close to the site of the pro­posed Cir­cuit of Wales. TVR in­sists its plans won’t be af­fected by any cir­cuit de­ci­sion and it ex­pects to gen­er­ate up to 150 jobs when its pro­duc­tion gets into full swing.

Edgar said TVR is on track to take pos­ses­sion of the fac­tory in the sec­ond quar­ter next year. The com­pany isn’t of­fer­ing a pre­cise timetable be­yond that, but one con­vinc­ing sce­nario is that fac­tory prepa­ra­tion will take three to six months, pi­lot pro­duc­tion should start be­fore the end of the year and the first pro­duc­tion cars should be on their way to early cus­tomers in the first quar­ter of 2019.

The pro­duc­tion aim is to make and sell “the vast ma­jor­ity” of the TVR 500 launch-edi­tion cars in 2019, af­ter which an­nual pro­duc­tion will grow to around 1000 cars. The de­but of a sec­ond model, prob­a­bly a con­vert­ible, and sub­se­quent higher-per­for­mance, light­weight mod­els re­veal a po­ten­tial an­nual pro­duc­tion of around 2000 to 2200 cars “by about year five”. That num­ber neatly matches cur­rent Euro­pean Small Se­ries type ap­proval reg­u­la­tions for a two-car line-up.

TVR will con­cen­trate at first on sell­ing in the UK mar­ket, do­ing new-car busi­ness from its Ebbw Vale fac­tory in the early years, although it aims

also to in­volve “her­itage ser­vice cen­tres” (aka ex­ist­ing TVR spe­cial­ists) in its new-car busi­ness. It is al­ready sign­ing up Euro­pean dis­trib­u­tors, too, but US sales aren’t in the frame for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

At first, the pri­or­ity will be to keep faith with the orig­i­nal TVR 500, whose money the com­pany will have been hold­ing for well over two years by the time the first cus­tomers re­ceive their cars. Sev­eral months ago, Edgar and col­leagues moved to keep the group in­volved by stag­ing a se­ries of week­end ”meet the team” meet­ings, dur­ing which a full-sized model was dis­played and new de­tail was re­vealed.

“We lost about half a dozen peo­ple from those events,” said Edgar, “but we gained 18 or 20. It was amaz­ing to see at first hand how much they care.”

This im­age, ex­clu­sive to Au­to­car, re­veals new car’s look (r)

Of­fi­cial TVR blue­print shows the tech­ni­cal lay­out of the coupé

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