Steve Cro­p­ley

Pon­der­ing new TVR’S model name

Autocar - - THIS WEEK -


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?

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