Ladies and gentleman, British sports car maker TVR, which was known for making the craziest sports cars, is dead!
The company which was founded back in 1947 by Trevor Wilkinson, gained most of its notoriety in the 1980’s and 90’s when the company was run by Peter Wheeler (R.I.P.). It was during Wheelers ownership of the company that they produced their best models and found the most sales success.
However, due to his ailing health, Wheeler decided to sell the company to Nikolay Smolensky, a wealthy Russian businessman. Smolensky was only 24 at the time and had no experience in how to run a car company. Just two years after he bought TVR, the company came to a halt, with Smolensky blaming slow sales.
Over the years, there have been a few attempts to start the company up again, but none worked, so Smolensky will now use the name for portable wind turbines (a technology I actually have an interest in, so who knows, I might call him up one day).
Anyhow, the car side of the business is dead, which is a shame, because they made some great cars.
I only ever got the chance to drive one TVR, even though I’ve been in a few as a passenger. The car I drove was a 2006 TVR Sagaris. It was owned by a car share membership hire firm on whom I was doing some stories. Their example was just stunning. The blue paint certainly helped in that area. I sure was smiling as I walked up to it.
Firing up its 4.0-liter, straight-six motor again put the smile back on my face, because this motor made all the right noises. The flywheel was the lightest I’ve ever come across and the thing revved like mad. The clutch was a bit heavy, but the non-assisted steering was heavier. Still, the car was easy enough to drive in the city, but an absolute riot on the highway. I can’t remember how fast I went, but lets just say I would have had first hand experience on what it’s like to spend a night in a British jail.
The aforementioned motor produced 380-hp and 349-lb/ft of torque. Since this car only weighed 1078-kg, that is plenty of power to move you around. It only had a five-speed manual gearbox, but the unit was a delight to use. The car was properly quick too. 0-100 km/h took just 3.8 seconds and top speed was 300 km/h.
Not only was it quick in a straight line, it handled well too. Since it had no traction or stability control, it was a bit of a handful at times, but trust me, that only resulted in you having an even bigger smile.
Any gripes? Yes, the driver side window never sealed properly, the interior rattled more than I’d like, and it smelled of industrial glue. But drive with the windows open and you’d solve two of those issues.
TVR might not have made, sensible, practical or reliable sports cars, but they understood fun, and that is why the cars were so highly respected.