The muscle-bound British sports car is a decades-old recipe: you take one pretty, lightweight body, drop it on top of a chassis that may (or may not) do the racy good looks justice, cram in an off-the-shelf V8 and watch the adoring crowds flood in. It'll have charm, charisma and attitude aplenty, while usually being great value for money as well.
Granted, that sells many years of automotive history very short, but everything from Cobra to Chimaera and Griffith to Gordon Keeble has riffed off the crib sheet to some extent. Some have been truly unforgettable sports cars, some have been... less so.
Now the sector is welcoming a new debutant, a car that promises to reinvent the classic TVR recipe in a way that even the brand itself hasn't yet quite managed. The Mulholland Legend 480 is described by its makes as "a pure driver's car that will produce both thrilling performance and tactile class-leading performance." It ticks all the boxes as far as the Brit sports car template goes, with a 480hp V8 up front - we'd take a stab at it being the 5.0 Ford Coyote - rear-wheel drive, a manual gearbox and coupe bodyshell that looks... Well, you won't mistake it for anything else, put it that way.
Now, while this may sound like every sports car project that emerges with wild claims only to vanish soon after, the Legend 480 plan is given extra credence by Mulholland Automotive's background. While it will be unfamiliar to the casual enthusiast, Mulholland as a broader entity has been supplying F1 teams and supercar manufacturers for over two decades; it's now using that experience and expertise for its own endeavour.
The project is being led by company owner (and former TVR owner) Graham Mulholland, who has set out in no uncertain terms what the Legend 480 aims to achieve. "To me, the marque (TVR) excelled by true principles of what a sports car should be and delivered a truly, exhilarating, driving experience. The Legend 480 as our first vehicle will replicate a proven formula, but we will be using the latest advanced manufacturing know-how and a world class supply chain to achieve an expected quality and ownership experience."
Broadly, then, it sounds a lot like Mulholland is attempting to build a new Griffith before TVR can. To that end it even has former TVR designer Damian McTagget on board to craft the final look of the carbon-chassised Legend, the end result to be produced "using the exact processes developed and used to produce F1 and GT racers alike."
All of which sounds jolly encouraging, though if we had a pound for every time an encouraging British sports car press release landed there'd be enough for PH to take on our own bespoke roadster project. That said, Mulholland's plan is not one for the distant future; aware that such projects will only be viable for a little longer - the idea of the Legend 480 is to "celebrate the combustion engine before moving to emerging technology" - the car is available to order now.
More than that, deliveries are expected to commence in July or August, with early customers given VIP treatment to be "alongside the team at every key point". July, in case lockdown has made you lose track, is the month after next. So, while expectations are very much set to "cautious optimism" for now, there does seem some reason for hope in the case of Mulholland. More news as it's available...