"I've always loved the brand, it's the same for all of us in this venture."
New TVR boss Les Edgar says his new two-model range will be ready for 2015, but how is he and his group of investors going to bring back the iconic British brand?
What made you want to buy TVR?
“I’ve always loved the brand. It’s the same for all of us in this venture. The initials stand for a special kind of driver’s car we all love, missing for the past few years. Our plan is to put it back to where it belongs; to carry on where Peter Wheeler left off.”
Will you build new models or revise existing cars?
“We could do both, and we haven’t made a final decision yet. If we wanted, we could probably have a new edition of the old Sagaris on the market in about a year. But I think it’s more likely we’ll choose to build all-new TVRs, and that’ll probably take us twice as long.”
Will new TVRs be affordable cars?
“Categorically, yes. They were always the common man’s supercar, and we want to keep it that way. I saw a T350 the other day. It looked great and left the lights like a bat out of hell. It was a beautiful-looking thing with a real sense of occasion. That’s what we’re after.”
Is this a hobby, or a serious venture?
“It’s most definitely not a hobby. It has a well-thought-out business plan. We know the R&D cost and we’re already talking to potential suppliers. We know it’s not going to be a short-term thing, but we’re all adamant it has to be viable. We have a lot to lose.”
Have you and your partners built cars before?
“None of us has ever built a car, but I’ve owned a lot of them and was involved in taking Aston Martin back to Le Mans. We have a fair bit of business know-how, we’re clear about the kind of car we want to build and we believe we can bring fresh thinking to the whole thing.”
Will your new cars use existing names?
“Put it this way: I wouldn’t be surprised if we did. TVR has some odd names, but also some great ones.”
What is the new TVR’s closest rival?
“A secondhand Aston Martin: fast, great-looking, front-engined, British.”
You once owned a TVR. Which model?
“It was a Cerbera. I co-owned it with someone else. It taught us that TVRs all carried a special DNA, even if they didn’t all look the same.”
You’re very keen on Le Mans. Will TVRs race there again?
“We’d be foolish if it wasn’t on the radar. But it isn’t at the top of our priority list. Top of the list is re-establishing the brand in the eyes of sports car lovers. But TVR has history at Le Mans and I’d love to build on that.”
Will you build your own engines, as Peter Wheeler did, or buy existing ones?
“We’re still deciding. TVR did both things, over its history. It’s costly to make your own and there are risks attached but, at this stage, I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. But I don’t believe using other existing engines would damage us, either. I was recently looking at a Morgan Aero 8, powered by a BMW V8. The engine didn’t stop it from being a British car. I think it’s how you combine the major components that creates a car’s soul.”
How would you summarise the character of your new TVR models?
“They’ll be the kind of cars people understand TVRs to be: fast and powerful with great handling and a great noise. Put it this way: you’ll know you’re alive when you drive one.”