PH Blog: the spirit of TVR

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!


Comments (138) Join the discussion on the forum

  • ESDavey 14 Dec 2012

    Alex, I likes the article & being the owner of a Black TVR Griffith 500 I get it ...... but next time invite me along for a back to back test please ????

    I think this lot are as jealous of your new job as I am .... I'm reading this on a ferry to Madrid, most are in work but you drive cool cars like the Merc - live the dream !!!!

  • Wuzzle 13 Dec 2012

    Scroff doing a roadtest

  • dinkel 13 Dec 2012

    I get what you say: hand built as in 'feels like a TR6'.

    The Cerbera, T350, Sagaris maybe were a step out of line. For most THE TVR is the wedge, V8S and Chim.

    Those who had the privelige to be in a racing car - a real one - know that TVRs nod a little to that bare bone feeling.

  • Kitchski 13 Dec 2012

    I get what the author was trying to say. I don't need to drive an SLS to know I don't agree with his opinion though! But come on, at least it was worth a read. Would be far worse to read something boring!

    Speaking as an enthusiast, a previous TVR owner and someone who works with TVRs day to day, the closest thing you'll find to a TVR is in the kit car industry, because in terms of design that's pretty much what TVRs were. Ok they started to try and go full-scale production near the end, building their own engines and manufacturing bespoke components, but it's highly likely that was a contributing factor in their demise (can of worms anyone?)
    Kit car isn't a derogatory term either.....look at Gardner Douglas or Ultima for proof. But in terms of all the thrills, the near spills and the spine-tingling cold Sunday morning blasts with the roof off and the beenie hat on, the closest you'll find today is in something else built in a shed. There's plenty of that still available all over the UK if you know where to look.

    Having read the previous comments, there must be quite a few spare ladders on the floor now that people are high up on that horse of theirs!
    Also, the comparison with a Noble isn't one I can understand. They drive COMPLETELY differently. Corvette's a good shout, but they feel mass-produced (funnily enough) when a TVR really does feel hand-built. Not hand built in a sterile, natural-lit lab by a engineers using a joystick.....handbuilt in a shed. And all the more special for it!

  • I WISH 12 Dec 2012

    Are you mad?


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