Russian owned and built in Italy, but it's still a TVR
8 October 2007

TVR, the stalled Lancashire sports car manufacturer, is about to unveil plans to start building cars after 18 months in the wilderness — provided it can raise the cash. A revised but familiar-sounding recovery plan to assemble a mostly UK-based team of chassis and body suppliers, to utilise a stock of ready-built engines, and bring everything together in a final assembly operation at Bertone in Italy was revealed last week to a 60-strong UK meeting of dealers and potential investors from Europe, Asia and America. Guests attended a seminar at the Midlands HQ of Ricardo, the engineering consultancy TVR has tasked with converting its 4.0-litre slant-six engine to 400 bhp, Euro 5 specification. They heard presentations from TVR’s managing director, David Oxley, from Ricardo, from trim suppliers IM Kelly and from Bertone, who view the TVR business as a way of starting to fill an assembly plant which once built up to 30,000 cars a year. The following day they visited Vauxhall’s Millbrook test track to sample three ’07 spec TVRs which the company wants to make in Italy until revised models come on stream in 2009. Delegates were told the company aimed to be selling cars again early next year, with production targets of 2000 units in 2008 and 5000 before the end of the decade. It’s no surprise that many elements of the recovery plan are familiar: TVR Engineering is still owned by Russian Nikolai Smolenski who acquired it for a reputed £14 million in 2004 but struck financial trouble last year when it was forced from its long-time Blackpool HQ. Smolenski briefly lost the company but soon re-purchased it from administrators. Around the turn of the year, he apparently failed to complete a move to sell the whole operation to a pair of Florida-based car-trade millionaires, Adam Burdette and Jean Michel Santacreu, though the pair were present at last week’s meetings and are believed still to be interested in selling the TVRs in the US, where they estimate annual demand at 2000 units-plus.Though much of the plan echoes Smolenski’s pre-upheaval aims, while TVR has been out of the news it has done a deal with Lancashire-based Multipart, a components supply giant which is already supplying dealers with much-needed parts. Multipart is understood to be storing some important TVR properties — jigs, moulds, plans and as many as 80 ready-built engines — which were previously at the old Blackpool headquarters in Bristol Avenue. TVR’s plan is, as before, to establish a head office and design centre in Lancaster.Smolenski, believed to be living in Vienna, did not attend last weeks’ gatherings and attendees were given few details of how the new company would be financed. But it is believed a decision on whether to proceed with the plan will be made by the middle of October, and TVR’s managers want contracts with major suppliers to be signed by the end of the month, so production can be re-started quickly. The big question-mark is over financing, and for now, no-one is supplying an answer.

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15 April 2008

It's 2008, and not a peep. Is it safe to assume that TVR will never appear on a brand new car.

1 March 2010

Well, it looks like it hasn't disappeared. A few months ago, you could browse TVR's website. Well, it's there, there's just nothing to browse. It's just a giant Sagaris image that if you click it brings up a email to email the guys at sales. Edit: Woops, forgot the website.

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