Monday 10th December 2012


Alex thinks he's found the spirit of TVR alive and well - and not where you might think...

The lingering death of TVR is a story we've all watched with nothing but dismay. Last week's news that the moulds and jigs for the old models have probably been scrapped, and the resultant conclusion that a vast amount of investment in entirely new models would be required to resurrect the brand, was just another page in this ever-more sombre chapter in British car making history.

OK, comparisons are bold but in spirit at least...
OK, comparisons are bold but in spirit at least...
But all is not lost. There is a glimmer of hope. Last week, I drove a new car that, I thought, genuinely felt like a TVR. It made the same monstrous noise, a mass of angry snarling and thunderous crackles. It had the same desire to wag its tail and sense it'd just as soon pitch you into the undergrowth if you didn't give it enough respect. In short, it had the same exhilarating brutality of the TVRs we all fell in love with back in the late 90s.

This was no low-volume British sportscar, though. It was, in fact, a Merc SLS AMG Roadster. And although there are certain caveats to this opinion, there was nothing it put me in mind of more than a Chimaera or Griffith. Oh sure, it was much newer, more technologically advanced, and slightly less insane. The doors opened using actual door handles, for example. And no self-respecting TVR would ever be seen dead with a semi-automatic gearbox, even a pretty good one like the SLS's. But leave those caveats to one side, and in every other way, with the SLS, I reckon Merc has re-invented the V8 Tiv.

Slightly different price bracket, same spirit
Slightly different price bracket, same spirit
Of course, all this comes at a distinctly un-Tiv-like price: £176,925. It's steep, I know. But a delivery mileage example in the PH Classifieds has already shaved £20,000 off that, and year-old coupes are now dropping close to the £100,000 mark, suggesting that the prices of these beasts might fall to more reasonable levels in a few years' time. OK, so they'll never be shed money, but they might at least become accessible to many of us. And the fact remains that, I reckon, there's simply nothing else out there at the moment that can come quite so close to replicating the thrill of TVR in a new or nearly-new package.

But I'm open to suggestions. And if there's a new car that I've forgotten about, that does the TVR thing even better, then please feel free to enlighten me!


Author: Alex Robbins
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