New TVR unveiled
British supercar’s vital statistics
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