Pondering new TVR’S model name
The reveal of the new TVR (see p10) contains a bitter element to go with the sweetness. On the positive side it’s a relief knowing what the car’s designers had in mind; on the other, we’re no longer be able to speculate on the car’s shape the way we’ve enjoyed these past three years.
Our in-house car designer, Ben Summerellyoude, has produced literally dozens of nearphotographic images for mag and web, each one a bit better informed as extra details have become available. We often reckon Ben’s creations are so good that if the manufacturer isn’t planning on making them look just so, only in three dimensions, then it’s a shame. The image above, drawn six months ago, is his favourite. Mine too.
More TVR. Weird to be writing this while ignorant of the car’s name, knowing that by the time this is read by those who matter, the news will be days old. There are some short-priced handles in the frame as I write. Tuscan would be my pick. I’d reserve Griffith for the 600bhp supercharged monster the new company’s performance-loving backers undoubtedly have in mind. Griffith is a label first associated with the featherweight Grantura of the mid-1960s after US importer Jack Griffith crowbarred a 270bhp Ford V8 into space that normally housed an MGA engine, creating a 170mph Cobra-buster with a wheelbase so short it was renowned for swapping ends while accelerating in a straight line.
This name thing is bugging me. Tuscan? Griffith? I know it won’t be Cerbera or Grantura. Can’t see it being called Vixen, Trident or Taimar.
Not knowing an all-important name takes me back a couple of decades to a night before the Geneva motor show, when I was sitting beside Ford chief Jac Nasser as he was about to announce the name of the new Escort-replacing Focus from the stage.
Desperate to be first to know the big secret, I asked him to give me the news a minute ahead. He didn’t answer directly, but when he returned from the all-important speech he said: “Did you get it?”. Turned out he’d repeatedly used “focus” in our conversation before mounting the stage, thinking I’d have the nous to get it. I didn’t.
A weekend in a Citroën C3, a small hatchback whose funky design is selling well in inner-city London even though it didn’t excel in a recent nine-car group test. This was the £17,000 Flair, powered by the 109bhp 1.2 petrol three-pot I’ve enjoyed in other PSA stuff. (Where were these feisty triples when we had to put up with rattling, buzzing, piston-slapping pushrod fours?)
The C3’s class is large and close-fought, and the Citroën duly came eighth. The fact that by general agreement it’s a decent little car points up one of the problems of modern multi-car verdicts: a winner can come in with 100 points and an also-ran can score eighth with 90, which may strike some as unfair. But if you believe in healthy competition, you haven’t got a leg to stand on.
In my head, I always carry a list of cars I think I should buy, cars that would perfectly suit some aspect of my life. High on the list is the Dacia Duster. I walk past a pristine 66-plater every morning and always admire the way its styling and apparent roominess haven’t turned it into a whale, like other SUVS. Might make a good replacement for the Berlingo – one of these days.
The Citroën C3 is selling well even though it didn’t excel in a recent nine-car group test
Summerell-youde: handy with a pen New TVR’S reveal means we don’t get to draw our own versions any more
Duster carries itself well. Part-ex for a Berlingo, anyone?