Wednesday, 3 June 2015

TVR is back - but patience is a virtue

IT'S GREAT news that TVR is back.

After so many rumours and false starts it finally looks as though things are looking up for my favourite manufacturer. Les Edgar, the current company boss, didn't do a Lotus and promise the world all sorts of exotic appetisers when he bought the defunct manufacturer back in 2013.

What he did instead was quietly assemble a team, worked out what he wanted to do and then went off and did it - and what he's come back with is a design partnership with McLaren F1 design legend Gordon Murray, an engine agreement with Cosworth - yes, as in Escort Cosworth fame - and plans for four new models. I'd normally say I can't wait, but in this case I - and every other sports car nut - will have to wait two years.

Which - if you're familiar with the world of British sports cars - is a rare bit of common sense.

For every MG or Morgan the British landscape is littered with defunct sports car names who undid themselves with overambitious - and not terribly well thought out - ideas. Remember the Delfino Ferroce? Or the Strathcarron SC-5A? Or the Dare DZ? Of course you don't, but I remember all of them being touted during my motoring youth as brilliant new ways of cracking the sports car nut. Of all those two-seater hopefuls that bit of history I can only think of one - the Ariel Atom - that's pulled it off.

TVR, of course, was at one point the dominant force in British sports cars but prudence wasn't exactly its strong point. Rather than honing its existing offerings - the wonderful Chimaera and Griffith - it decided to ditch its supply of Rover V8s and come with its own engines, go racing at Le Mans and create the Cerbera Speed 12, a car so powerful it broke the machine used to test it. Like all good parties, it had a colossal hangover, and the Blackpool factory closed its doors nearly a decade ago.

That's why I'm glad - from the initial signs at least - Mr Edgar isn't over-egging the pudding. He's realised he can't do it alone and teamed up with some of the best brains in the British car industry, and more importantly he's taking his time to get it right.

I'm sure I can't be the only petrolhead who'd rather wait two years for TVR to get its revival just right than to have another Delfino Ferroce rushed into the showrooms. If you've ever listened to a Griffith at a set of lights or watched a Tuscan being thrashed at a track day you'll realise those three letters mean so much more than something you order at a cocktail bar and that it's important its custodians don't cock it up.

No rush, chaps. No rush at all!


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