TVR is in safe hands, despite its sale to a 24-year-old Russian millionaire, bosses vowed last week. Former banker Nikolai Smolenski bought the Blackpool company, declaring his ambition to turn Britain’s biggest independent sports car maker into a global brand and crack the lucrative American market.
Smolenski is reputed to have paid between £10m-15m for TVR, buying out Peter Wheeler. A short official statement confirmed there would be no ‘large-scale restructuring’ and said that Wheeler would assume a senior consultancy role.
‘Peter felt it was time for a younger man with lots of ideas and resources to take the company onto the next level,’ said a spokesman.
However, an investigation by Autocar has uncovered a rival bid from a British-led consortium. It was masterminded by Nigel Gordon-Stewart, former global head of sales and marketing at Lamborghini, with Creighton Brown, who was heavily involved with the McLaren F1, and industry analyst Jay Nagley.
An insider claims these negotiations had been ongoing for several months and the cash was in place for an offer of similar size to Smolenski’s, only for the group to find out last week that their bid was unsuccessful – despite having proven sports car engineers, designers and experts on hand, something the Russian takeover team so far appears to lack.