Previously, the former owner of the TVR sports car name had given up hope of ever restarting production. Smolenski, a Vienna-based Russian investor, had spent years developing various TVR prototypes but told Autocar that costs and customer demands are now too high to make the project viable.
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He was reputedly going to take the name to a new venture building portable wind turbines.
Smolenski bought the Blackpool-based firm in 2004 for a rumoured £15 million and operated it in fits and starts until production ceased at the end of 2006.
Amid difficulties with retrenchments and the sale of assets, Smolensky moved to Austria, where he set about building three prototypes with the hope of kickstarting a modern era for TVR.
“We built three cars,” said Smolenski. “A Tuscan Mk2 convertible with a 400bhp Corvette LS3 engine, a Cerbera powered by a BMW twin-turbo V8 diesel and a GT350 powered by a 100kW electric motor. They all worked well, but the costs were high. We would have to sell them at between £100,000 and £200,000, which was too high to make sense.”
At one stage Smolenski commented that he was close to striking a deal with Caterham Cars to provide support for a manufacturing operation, but he lacked confidence that the cars would sell profitably. Spare parts for existing cars remain available through Performance Engines, Racing Green and TVR Power.
Smolenski had stated that he had no plans to sell the TVR name, but indicated he would listen to proposals. Speaking prior to the recent announcements, he had said “People contact me sometimes, but any TVR plan would have to deliver a good return.”
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