TVR’s all-new model takes the firm back to the days of the Griffith and Chimaera, when it was still buying in customer V8 engines and tuning them extensively for its sports cars — and long before Al Melling’s six- cylinder and eight-cylinder TVR Power engines arrived with the double-edged sword of massive combustive drama and questionable reliability.
Given the size and ambition of the new TVR company, that’s a realistic strategy. But there’s no mistaking how much harder life will be for TVR this decade than it used to be.
It has often been written that it was the Porsche Boxster that took over the niche in which TVR once thrived: a genuinely usable sports car built as only one of the most profitable outfits in the automotive world could possibly build it. Now it’s the Porsche 911 that TVR is going after and that sets an even tougher standard on material finish and usability. And yet it’s the same ‘back-to-basics’ dynamic selling point that the firm is seeking to trade on: an outstanding power-to-weight ratio and the driving purist’s predilection for a front-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive, a manual gearbox and presumably some fully switchable electronic traction and stability aids (assuming they’re even fitted to the car in the first place).
The trouble for TVR may be that what really used to sell its cars — stonking outright bang-for-your-buck pace — may not distinguish its new one quite so well. A Porsche 911 Carrera 4S can now crack 60mph from rest in just 3.5sec, a Nissan GT-R more quickly still — and without four-wheel drive or launch control, TVR can’t really hope to match either.
I hope I’m wrong and the new TVR proves every inch the giant killer that the old ones once were, but it seems an awful lot to expect of it.