PH Carpool: TVR Tuscan S

Robert Montrose (montyvr6) wouldn't part with his piece of Blackpool rock...despite some faults.


Robert's lost his TVR, but found a Ferrari
Robert's lost his TVR, but found a Ferrari
I had been devoid of a second car for nearly a year and, whilst I still had a couple of two-wheeled toys, there was a space on the drive and a place in my heart that needed filling. Having previously owned a decent spread of cars - Audi RS2, Skyline GTR V spec, Mk1 Escort & Civic Type R - I had covered a lot of bases.

I didn't know much about TVRs other than their fantastic looks, sound like thunder from the gods and ability to put a grin on my face every time I saw one. Despite an above-average skill with a spanner, I was dubious about considering TVR ownership based on their somewhat flaky reputation. But some further reading put my mind to rest.

They are quite simple at heart and, now that they are older cars, most have had plenty of opportunity to break and be repaired properly. Additional reading helped me decide that it had to be a Mk1 Tuscan - the detail changes to the Mk2 (headlights, grill, dash & rear lights) were all in my opinion styling downgrades, but I suppose that someone somewhere thought it looked nicer.

A trawl through the classifieds found me a 2003 Tuscan S which was close to home and within my budget. The only negative it had was red inserts to the seats, but that was only a small blemish on an otherwise impressive spec.

So I went to have a look at TU53 CNS and tried to go there with a view to thinking with my head not my heart. This lasted right up to the point I saw the car. It simply looked fantastic. The test drive, the rebuilt engine, the minor chassis upgrades and the titanium exhaust only dug the hole deeper. It was difficult to find fault with the car and, a handshake later, the deal was done - I had entered the world of TVR ownership.

The four months since have come with their highs and lows. The lows have come in the form of a small fire (when the engine backfired and burnt the air filter), a small leak from a coolant pipe and a failed immobiliser. The latter being the only failure which required any significant expenditure, in the form of a full new alarm system. The highs have come from every time I walk out of my house and see it, from every time I start it and hear the straight six fire into life, and from every time I drive it and talk about it to others.

The Tuscan is not for the faint hearted, but that is part of its charm and, whilst the drive is raw, the interior is not. Generously finished in leather and with solid machined aluminium controls and fittings the Tuscan is a very pleasant place to be; even long journeys are not a struggle.

The straight-six engine delivers plenty of smooth power and torque. When combined with the 1100kg weight it makes for an immensely fast car; 0-60 is sub-four seconds. The main advantage of this formula, however, is that for the most part driving a Tuscan requires part-throttle only, resulting in reasonable running costs and therefore meaning that a normal person like me can actually use it on a regular basis.

I do however have one criticism of the Tuscan, well more specifically TVR. Why have owners had to spend so much time and money fixing little niggles when TVR could and should have done all this at the factory? (Ah, the million-pound question... - Ed).

The Tuscan has a soul, however, unlike those I have found in other cars. If you haven't tried one you should, just be prepared to add another car to your collection if you do.



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Comments (113) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Tom74TVR 31 May 2011

    Beautiful example... The only car that can replace my T350, if I ever would.
    great write-up.

  • britsportscars 31 May 2011

    That's a beauty. I love the looks of the MK1 Tuscan... It just looks how a TVR should be, exotic and curvy! One day I will get one!

  • John Boy 616 31 May 2011

    Great looking car!

  • Dagnut 31 May 2011

    sometimes its hard to imagine how this company failed

  • Fartgalen 31 May 2011

    Hah hah - it caught fire. Sorry. Such a stereotypical problem - it made me laugh. And four months for a coolant leak and immobiliser/electrical problems. Again, so bloody typical.
    Lovely looking motor though. I'm tempted myself. Just on looks alone.

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