|Not since 1986
have TVR exported cars to North America. Rumours of difficulties with import agents,
concerns about harsher build regulations and liability insurance are just some of the
theories offered for TVR's withdrawal from the market. A handful of Griffiths still burble
around Canada but car enthusiasts in the USA are still denied access to these fantastic
The question is often asked - what about personal imports? It's a complicated area which has seen many people try and fail and lose a lot of money in the process. Customs agents are wise to the process of shipping cars in as kit cars in separate packages now. Loopholes allowing cars of 'historical or technical value' an allowance of 2,500 miles a year to commute between motoring museums have also been exploited but only in a limited number of cases.
Curiously anyone with a non-US passport living in the US temporarily may import a car for up to a year on a 'form HS7'. It's an often discussed route to get a car in, but evidence of people successfully completing the process is hard to come by. However, Faisal Khan has done just this in California.
Not surprisingly he's having a lot of fun. Made all the more enjoyable by the rarity of the car he's loving every minute of it: "I am enjoying it so much here. All day long at work I dream about coming home and going for a drive. Each night I put on a good 50-100 miles. The only problem so far is all the repetitious questions and once I got pulled over by a cop who just wanted to ask about it."
TVR's fame has spread in the USA thanks to the Gran Turismo game and many people recognise the car from that. If only they would sell the real cars there...
He's been offered some serious cash for the car by other enthusiasts but after three years of lusting and saving and reading the import minutiae before he was able to do the deed, he's not about to part with the car.
After that year of grace, if attempts to register the car are unsuccessful Faisal plans to keep it but trailer it to tracks for track days etc.
Obviously locating servicing skills and correct parts were a concern. Servicing is done by a skilled mechanic locally with parts sourced on trips to England or via Fedex. Insurance was a problem, as most companies wouldn't touch the car. However once again, judicious research paid off and Faisal has secured cover through a specialist that covers exotics and collectibles.
The streets of San Francisco once again echo with the sound of TVR...