Two-car range to relaunch TVR in 2015; the sports cars will cost between £50k and £80k
27 June 2013

The first model of an all-new, all-British TVR range could be on the market in two years’ time.

It will be part of an initial two-car range that will be “entirely in character” with the cars that TVR was making a decade ago under former owner Peter Wheeler. So says chairman 
Les Edgar, the Surrey-based Aston Martin racer and computer games millionaire who recently led an investor group to buy TVR’s name, design rights and assets. 

The company is run by a three-man executive board, with strong financial backing from a tight-knit group of car-minded investors. The firm has only just begun to consider its many options, according to Edgar, but it will probably start by launching a car of its own design, and support that soon after with a second model to straddle a price band of £50k to £80k in today’s money. 

Edgar cites “a secondhand Aston” as his new model’s closest rival, because it’s front-engined and British, rather than the more predictable Porsche Cayman and Boxster. 

TVR intends to “carry on where Wheeler left off”, building powerful front-engined, rear-drive models that sound great and go hard. The plan is to make them as simple and free of electronic gizmos as possible — these are not Jaguar F-type rivals — and concentrate on performance, driving factors and character. Although new TVRs will continue to be “supercars for the common man”, says Edgar, they will not be made in large numbers.  

“The project started with a few of us, all lovers of drivers’ cars, talking about building the modern expression of the traditional British sports car,” Edgar says. “Most of us have business backgrounds. We knew we really needed a decent brand to make the thing fly, but the brand we really wanted wasn’t available. 

“TVR’s owner, Nikolai Smolenski, had been approached by many other bidders and always said he wouldn’t sell. Then one of us became aware of a new opportunity to talk to him and we started negotiating. I can’t say he was a pushover to deal with, but he’s become a good supporter of our project.”

Edgar and his partners now own the assets of Blackpool Engineering, which was set up by Smolenski to contain the major assets of TVR — the name, design rights to all models, wiring diagrams, materials lists, correspondence, a collection of jigs and moulds and a large collection of spares for existing models. The new partners plan to sell parts and expertise to existing owners, possibly through one of the UK’s TVR service and spares companies. 

However, the partners make no bones about their intention to enforce their solus right to make cars under the TVR name. Several pretenders to the TVR rights around Europe have received uncompromising letters to that effect “from a team of international lawyers”.

Edgar acknowledges that TVR’s new managers face many challenging decisions: where to establish their new factory, how many cars to build, whether or not to build updated versions of much-loved models, and whether to use proprietary engines or (much more expensively) make its own. But Edgar insists that these will all be faced with care. 

“None of us has ever built a car,” he says, “but we have a fair bit of business know-how. We’re clear about the kind of car we want to build, and we think we can bring fresh thinking to the whole thing.” 

There is no plan to export early cars. Volume will be low, and other marques have proved that the UK is the richest sports car market anyway. But Edgar insists that this is far from being a plaything for millionaires. 

"It is a well-thought-out business plan, and at the root is the requirement to make money. We will all have a lot to lose. But we also know it can’t be an overnight success. I’d say it would take a minimum of three years to break even. We’re playing the long game."

Edgar revealed more of his plans for the British brand in an interview with Steve Cropley.

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Comments
22

28 June 2013

........that this is essentially a start-up. As such, it is going to take an enormous amount of time and money to produce cars that are :-

A. Any good.

B. Reliable.

C. Have a dealer network worth its salt.

D. Produce the parts required to build and maintain.

Optimism is a good thing. I just hope that people don't have their expectations set too high. This isn't going to be quick or easy. I relish the thought of someone getting it right though. Maybe he's the man. Maybe he's not.

28 June 2013

I wish Mr Edgar and his partners the very best of luck!! ... I just hope they get the support of previous TVR customers and potential new clients ...

28 June 2013

'None of us has ever built a car' and 'I'd say it would take a minimum of three years to break even'.

Oh dear, head in the clouds entrepreneurs buy bankrupt/struggling UK sports car maker, having had no experience of the automotive sector as well as being undercapitalised with unrealistic financial expectations....

I expect this should end well.

28 June 2013

Broughster wrote:

having had no experience of the automotive sector as well as being undercapitalised with unrealistic financial expectations....

I expect this should end well.

Obviously they were the only ones offering Smolenski money.   More fool them; finally one smart move by Smolenski.   Maybe he did learn something from Wheeler?

 

Expectations of the car buying public has moved on since the TVR days.   While the track days isn't nearly as popular either.  So the market has contracted since TVR's peak.   Then you've got the costs of developing new cars and look where Lotus are and that really must be TVR's competition.   And finally, did you see Wheeler Dealers with the TVR Cerbera?   Ed, the amazing mechanic, had to change it's chassis because the original had rusted through due to lace of rust prevention.

 

It's a huge challenege they're undertaking.   I'm not saying it's going to be impossible to make a small fortune from TVR, it's just that you may have to start with a large fortune.

 

26 July 2013

Quote:

Oh dear, head in the clouds entrepreneurs buy bankrupt/struggling UK sports car maker, having had no experience of the automotive sector as well as being undercapitalised with unrealistic financial expectations....

I expect this should end well.

If they need someone with experience in the automotive industry, they could always hire someone with such expertise. Finding more capital might be the hardest part ... unless you know where to look.

28 June 2013

The affordable British Brutes of sports cars, but for heaven's sake make them reliable this time round!

28 June 2013

Please keep the Tvr Straight Six Engine, the new range of engines built by Str8six and TVR Power (4.3/4.5) are fantastic, have so much character and are unique, no crate kit car engine please.

28 June 2013

Sorry, but they'd be mad to keep the engines. Looking at their timescales and likely amount of investment I would discount bothering with their own engines. How about a nice 5 litre V8 supercharged engine from JLR?

I reckon the brand they really wanted was probably Jensen (or possibly even Aston Martin, bearing in mind Edgar's connection with it).

Sadly, the more I look at this the more it looks like just another overambitious and underinvested piece of PR puff that probably won't even result in new cars let alone a success story...

29 June 2013

tvrforever wrote:

Please keep the Tvr Straight Six Engine, the new range of engines built by Str8six and TVR Power (4.3/4.5) are fantastic, have so much character and are unique, no crate kit car engine please.

My sentiments too, good to see TVR back in British hands and best of luck to them.

I feel that there is a niche for the type of car they appear to have in mind and it really does not 'clash' with any of the offerings from the big  manufacturers and while things may have moved on from the Peter Wheeler days, some things, like fine wine, are not improved by excess technology

28 June 2013

I live 10 mins from a TVR dealership. They still have secondhand models, service them, provide parts and emply some of the staff that were there when it was solely TVR (it now sells mainly Lotus and Porsche).

They will serve the North West easily with no major changes or investment - because they never stopped!

Establishing a dealer network won't be difficult if the ex-dealers are in anything like the shape my local is.

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