Nikolai Smolenski, the Russian oligarch who owns TVR, has revealed plans to revive the marque with a new Corvette-engined model to be produced in Germany.
The cars are likely to be built by Gullwing, which currently makes the AC MkVI, the successor to the AC Cobra. Alan Lubinsky, AC’s owner, said discussions to make TVRs are under way, but no deal has been concluded as yet.
Smolenski bought TVR from its long-time owner, the late Peter Wheeler, in 2004 for a rumoured £15 million, but was unable to sustain production and the company collapsed in 2006 amid considerable acrimony, leaving around 250 workers without jobs.
Smolenski has been linked with secret plans to show a new prototype TVR at Goodwood’s Moving Motor Show in July.
In an exclusive interview with Autocar, Smolenski revealed that his new car will have a modified version of the traditional steel backbone chassis and all-independent suspension that were used for all previous TVR models.
There is no question of reviving TVR’s own-design V8 or straight six engines, Smolenski said, due to homologation and cost reasons.
“We looked at every engine available — including making our own — and decided that the Corvette was the most powerful off-the-shelf design going. Fitting it to our chassis allows us to meet all current regulations and is not too big a step.”
In the longer term, the revived TVR company plans a hybrid concept, said Smolenski. “I always wanted an automatic model,” he said, “but the chassis wouldn’t allow either a regular auto or an automated manual. The hybrid concept would allow us to kick out the conventional gearbox completely.”
The first new-generation TVRs will be convertibles, reminiscent of the Tuscan, because Smolenski believes that most customers prefer open-top cars. It is too early to forecast names or prices, he said, but a new car “shouldn’t cost any more” than the European price of an equivalent Corvette.
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