The Unsung Hero- TVR

TVR started its journey back in 1947 in the UK. Yes, two years after the end of world war II. Trevor Wilkinson made the TVR mark as Trevcar Motors.

The beginning of TVR was with the Grantura, having a Ford engine and its own chassis moved TVR to notoriety. It was a short wheelbase sports car sold with a major range of engines. The Grantura was quick, dexterous and unbelievably good looking.  This started the reign of TVR’s flamboyant performance.

TVR Griffith

TVR was a hit in 1963 when it presented the TVR Griffith, which was an adjusted Grantura with an American V8. It totally made the other supercar giants insecure. The specialty of Griffith is shooting up from 0 to 60 in just 4.1 seconds. There is no power steering. Thus, it awards a direct connection between the driver and the road which has now become rare. The V8 was its pounding heart. It had more flair than an iconic 80’s Jaguar, and every turn reminded us of the car’s brutality. But, it was still loved.

Around 1966, TVR was finally stabilized by its new owner Martin Lilley after many disturbances and bankruptcies.

During the 70’s, TVR launched its M series, having the same chassis as the present day TVR. A wide range of engines could be used in M series.

The 3000 M. Don’t they have a certain beauty to them?

In 1982 TVR was bought by businessman Peter Wheeler and the ex-Lotus fashioner Oliver Winterbottom was employed. Oliver outlined the wedged shape Tasmin, which imparted striking likenesses to Lotus cars. This car was powered by the 3.5 litres Rover V8 with 190bhp and was hence renamed the 350i.


The TVR popularity geared up in the 1990’s, with the new Griffith, with the Rover V8 engine and a smooth body which gave it an all-round performance. Then came another, more acculturated rendition, the Chimaera. The Chimaera provided the basis for the two-plus-two Cerbera coupe first seen in 1993. The Cerbera went into the generation with TVR’s new Al Melling-composed 4.2 litre V8 engine, giving it a top speed of 185mph (289km/h) and a 0-60 mph time of only 4 seconds. The Cerbera had a much tougher chassis and amazing handling.

TVR Cerbera

TVR’s did have a reputation for being woefully inconsistent and alarming to drive. But logic is blinded by its pretty looks and talent which outshine all the flaws.

In the 21st century, the usual Rover V8 engine was replaced to cope up the emission requirements in the new Tuscan and Tamora, which concentrated more on safety and quality.

TVR Tuscan.jpg
The relatively new Tuscan from the TVR Portfolio

However, TVR ended up too soon when the company was handed to a young Russian investor of 24 years. The youthful Russian, Nikolay Smolensky, purchased the company for £15 million, however, neglected to deliver any more cars.

All of these cars established TVR as a real player in the European sports car market and their distinctive and effective machines.

Some proportions over there! A real time caricature defying physics?

4 thoughts on “The Unsung Hero- TVR

  1. Where do I start
    Pic of Griffith is a 90s Griffith, not a 60s one
    No 60s sports car had power steering
    The M series had a different Chassis to later TVRs – There are no present day ones
    Peter Wheeler bought TVR in 1981. Oliver Winterbottom was the designer of the Tasmin and was employed by TVR.
    Martin Lilley (not Lille!) owned TVR between 1965 to 1981, not 1996
    Oh, the Russian was called Nikolay Smolensky and did sell some cars!
    I could go on but can’t be bothered, or with the grammar which is terrible!


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