Thursday, June 26, 2014

The TVR Sports Car

A review of The TVR Sports Car, covering development, important features, and technical data of each model in the range, from the Grantura to the Chimaera.
The TVR Sports Car
The TVR Sports Car

In this Article, I offer a nostalgic look at The TVR Sports Car, one of an elite group of classic cars, which was manufactured during the period 1958 to 1992+.

TVR was established in 1947 by Trevor Wilkinson.

In 1956, TVR started producing its own glass reinforced plastic (GRP) body shells, as well as the chassis. Within two years, the ground-breaking design of the Grantura was born.

The TVR Grantura

The TVR Grantura Series 1 was launched in 1958. It used a GRP body moulded to a steel chassis, with a 1.1 litre Coventry Climax engine.

Launched in 1960, the Series 2 offered different engines, including that from the MGA, and incorporated rack and pinion steering.

The Series 3, introduced in 1963, used either a 1.6 litre or a 1.8 litre MG engine. The Grantura was succeeded by the Vixen.

The TVR Griffith 200

In 1963, the TVR Griffith 200 sports car was introduced. It was, essentially, a TVR Grantura Series 3 in which the 1.8 litre MGB engine was replaced with a 4.7 litre Ford V8, the same unit as in the AC Cobra.

Demand for this rival to the Cobra was such that TVR was inundated with orders.

The TVR Griffith 400

In 1964, the TVR Griffith 200 was replaced by the TVR Griffith 400 sports car. Like its predecessor, it was a two seater coupe. It used the same engine, but had a higher top speed due to its increased gear ratio.

As a result of a prolonged dock strike in the US, by 1967, only 59 Griffith 400 and 10 Griffith 600, with the newer body design, were built.

The TVR Tuscan

The TVR Tuscan sports car, introduced in 1967, was a two seater, fixed head coupe.

The V8 version used the same 4.7 litre Ford V8 engine as in the Ford Mustang.

By 1970, since only 72 Tuscan V8's were built, it was superseded by the Tuscan V6 sports car, which used a 3 litre, Ford V6 engine. When production ended in 1971, it was succeeded by the TVR Vixen.

Developed from the TVR Grantura, the TVR Vixen was introduced in 1967. It used a 1.6 litre, 4-cylinder Ford engine. The fibre glass body was built onto a tubular frame.

The TVR M Series

Replacing the TVR Vixen And TVR Tuscan models, the TVR M Series sports cars was launched in 1972. They used a glass reinforced plastic body on a metal frame construction. The Series included the 1600M, 2500M,

3000M, 3000S and 3000M Turbo.

In 1974, the Triumph 2.5 litre engine in the TVR 2500M was replaced by a 4.7 litre, Ford V8 engine as used in the TVR Griffith 200.

Hence was born the TVR 5000M. Only a handful were ever built owing to a fire at the TVR factory in 1975.

The TVR Tasmin

In 1980, the TVR Tasmin, a.k.a. TVR 280i, was introduced. It was wedge-shaped, and available as a two seater convertible, as well as a two seater and 2+2 fixed head coupe.

The Tasmin 280i used a 2.8 litre, Ford V6 engine, whilst its cheaper counterpart, the Tasmin 200, used a 2 litre, 4-cylinder Ford unit.

The Tasmin's wedge-shape was not well received, and sales were poor.

Based on the Tasmin 280i, the Tasmin 350i sports car appeared in 1983. Variants of the 350i included:

    the 3.9 litre 390i
    the 4.0 litre 400SE
    and the ferocious 4.5 litre, 320 bhp 450SE

The TVR S Series

In 1987, TVR introduced the S Series. This saw a move away from the wedge-shape to the traditional TVR styling incorporating curves.

The V6 S Series used a Ford V6 engine, whilst the V8 S Series used a modified 4 litre, fuel injected Rover V8 unit.

The TVR 2 litre V8 S Series was a supercharged version of the V8 S. It used a modified 3.5 litre Rover V8 engine, with a reduced displacement of 1998 cc, combined with fuel injection and a supercharger. They were two

seater convertibles.

The TVR Griffith 500

In 1992, the V8 S Series was withdrawn, and was replaced by the TVR Griffith 500 sports car.

Like the Griffith 200 and 400 of the 60's, it was a lightweight, fibre glass bodied, two seater. Initially, it used the modified 4 litre, Rover V8 engine whose capacity could be easily increased.

All used a five speed manual transmission. Interior design was of a high standard. Production ended in 2002.

The TVR Chimaera

Also in 1992, the TVR Chimaera sports car was introduced. It was a two seater convertible and, like the Griffith, made use of the same array of Rover V8 engines.

It was designed for long distance motoring, and was therefore more spacious, internally, and its suspension was less firm than that of the Griffith.

The engine spec was as per the Griffith, although there were minor improvements in top speed.

This marked the end of the classic TVR sports car

Beyond 2000, TVR produced a number of exciting sports cars which, sadly, falls beyond the time frame of this review.

Perhaps this stroll down memory lane might have answered, or at least shed light on, a possible question:

"Which TVR Sports Car Is Your Favourite?"

However, should this question still remain unanswered, I will be reviewing, in some detail, in future articles within this website, the entire range of TVR sports cars which were featured in the memorable era spanning 1958 to


I hope you join me in my nostalgic travels "down sports car memory lane".

If you would care to view my Original article, containing Photographs, Videos, Technical Data, and Charts not shown in this Article, then please click the following link:
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