The new car will be called MD-1 and, as we revealed back in April, the new TVR will indeed receive a 6.2-litre V8 Corvette motor with 638bhp. The MD-1 is based on the Tuscan convertible, but is a little lower and a little wider. It will run on 19-in wheels and there have been various other aesthetic tweaks and technical changes, though the fabric hood and windscreen are carried over unchanged.
But despite its technical relationship to the Tuscan, the MD-1 marks a clear departure from TVR's past, a point that the use of the 'Vette engine neatly illustrates. "We have stopped making our own engines," says Smolenski. "And I would like to draw a line under the Wheeler era once and for all!"
The TVR MD-1 had been scheduled for a launch at the Goodwood Moving Motor Show in July, but a falling-out between Smolenski and the company overseeing car's development put a stop to that. The car's development will now be finished in the UK by Brooklands-based AC Heritage, and should be completed by then end of the year. The car may not be produced in the UK, however.
"Production will be outsourced," Smolenski tells Revue Automobile. "We have received offers from Jimmy Prize in South Africa and plenty of others from England. [...] I would naturally prefer to work with firms such as Caterham or Lotus, but it's unlikely that the former would be able to do it, and the latter wouldn't represent good value for money. But it's equally possible that I wouldn't go back to the UK at all, and could set myself up somewhere in Germany."
Smolenski is sanguine about Revue Automobile's suggestion that a German-built TVR would disillusion a large part of its fan base: "Without doubt British fans will [be disillusioned]. Over there, everything is a bit odd. Within the European community, nobody asks for your passport at border crossings [...] it isn't very important whether you're based in Lancashire or Saxony. What's important is to remain faithful to your brand values: I'm a fan of the classic two-seater. I feel it's important that there is still a mechanical feel and the driving sensations that go with it. I respect the image of TVR."
But the MD-1 isn't the only new TVR in the works... a three-seat MD-2 is apparently on the drawing board, and Smolenski has plans for something "totally different and more imposing" called MD-3. As for the MD-1, it will arrive on sale in spring 2012, and roll out at a rate of 250 cars per year.
So, the new TVR is nearly here? "I've got nothing left to do but build it," says Smolenski. That's kind of the important part, Nikolai...