Following the Griffith, Vixen and Tuscan models of the sixties, the M-series were the last of the classic TVRs before TVR made the disastrous (financially) move to the Wedges. Celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2001, their importance cannot be underestimated. Originally intended as a coupe with three different engine options they eventually evolved into a genuine range of three body shells with one engine (and a turbo option). In addition, their success both on the road and on the race track helped TVR survive the turmoil of the early seventies caused by the fuel-crisis and the disastrous factory fire of 1975.
M for Martin
The M-series made its debut at the Earls Motor Show of 1971. Although intended as a successor to the Vixen as the new regular production model, the new TVR bore more family resemblance to the exclusive Tuscan V8 wide body of 1968-1971. While the central body work part remained largely unaffected, front and rear sections were lengthened. The longer bonnet accommodated the spare wheel now mounted in front of the engine above the radiator. This not only gave the M-series its sleek appearance but also thoughtfully freed up the luggage space behind the seats. Extractor vents with grilles from a Ford Zodiac graced both front side wings. Early cars had two air intakes on the bonnet, Cortina Mk II tail lights and shared the Vixen's black alloy wheels. Very soon the the tail lights were replaced with Triumph TR6 items and new characteristic T-slots found their way onto the cars.
Under the covers
The greatest innovation could however be found underneath the body work. The M-series featured a redesigned chassis, co-developed by Martin Lilley and Mike Bigland, a TVR dealer from the Midlands. Bigland had gone the whole hog and built a special V8 engined Tuscan with a modified chassis to cope with the extra horses. Many of his changes were then incorporated into the new M-chassis. Still of a multi-tubular design, the new chassis was made up of both round and square tubing and in some places thicker tubing was used. More rigidity and more efficient production methods were the result (until then each chassis tube apparently had to be measured and cut by hand).
The other good news for the punters was that both the design and build quality of the M-series' interior were much improved. Interior space benefited from the longer chassis while the increased luggage space was a major leap forward. Typically for TVR, this was compromised however with access to the space very difficult since there was no opening hatch/boot lid. That was addressed later in the 70's with the Taimar.
The model on the 1971 Motor Show was a 2500 M, but it had been TVR's intention to develop an integrated range of cars, all sharing the same rolling chassis and body work but with various engine options. These included the Triumph TR6 straight six, the Ford Kent four cylinder and the Ford Essex V6.
So, in chronological order...
Don't forget to check out fellow club member Chris Howson's great website dedicated to the TVR M-series.
Copyright (c) Jo Hemelsoet 2001