The company that became known as TVR was formed in 1946, but news of its endeavours only rarely graced the pages of Autocar in the early years.
The turning point came with the British launch of the Grantura, which was the first TVR to be afforded the full Autocar road test treatment.
The little two-seater was offered with a choice of three engines: the MGA 1600, the 1220cc Coventry Climax or Ford 109E power unit.
Autocar’s test car was fitted with the Coventry Climax unit, which produced 84bhp at 6300rpm. Zero to 60mph was covered in 10.8sec.
Low-speed torque wasn’t particularly good, but “real pulling power is available from 4000rpm and up to 6500rpm, or 200rpm above maximum power.
“At higher speeds performance was rather disappointing,” reported our road testers, “and the maximum speed of 101mph is well below what was expected from this car.
“When initial attempts were made to take the performance figures, it was found that the engine would not run much over 6000rpm in third gear and would not reach these revolutions in top.
Investigations revealed that rather soft N5 Champion sparking plugs were fitted; these were replaced by harder N3 plugs and a great improvement was noticed immediately.”
The Grantura was offered in kit form or as a complete car, but with purchase tax adding an eye-watering £498 to the £1045 price, most buyers swerved it by ordering their car as a DIY project.
The Grantura was fitted with a ZF gearbox and a clutch “with springs of almost competition stiffness that make town driving a little tiring, but on the open road the short movement of the clutch pedal happily weds itself to the quick action of the gear selector”.
The Grantura was one of the few cars at the time to feature all-round independent suspension. It came in for criticism for its tendency to wander slightly at high speeds, but praise was forthcoming.
“Compact dimensions, good manoeuvrability and high performance in the middle ranges make it a very fast cross-country car,” wrote our testers.
“This is not everybody’s cup of tea, but to many enthusiasts its distinctive and interesting character will give lasting pleasure.”
Knowing how to categorise the Grantura, which was built by Layton Sports Cars Ltd of Blackpool, was another challenge for Autocar’s testers.