Currently reading: A brief history of TVR
As TVR's new management team shed more light on their sports car plans, we look back at the history of this British icon

As the new management team behind once-great TVR reveal plans to restore the company to its former glory, here's a brief history of the TVR brand.

See the first pictures of TVR's new sports car

1946 - TVR starts life in Blackpool as Trevcar Motors, a car repair and engineering business founded by 23-year-old Trevor Wilkinson.

1947 - Name changed to TVR Engineering.

1949 - TVR builds its first original chassis for TVR One, a car with a 1172cc Ford engine.

Early 1950s - Wilkinson and partner Jack Pickard launch a new chassis. With a glassfibre body, it becomes known as TVR Sports Saloon.

1955-1958 - New semi-spaceframe chassis is produced. It uses a central backbone and has suspension from a VW Beetle. Aluminium-bodied cars sold in the US as Jomars.

1958 - Better-looking fastback-bodied Jomar coupé develops into the first well-known TVR, the Grantura.

1962 - TVR bankrupt after rising costs, expensive race programmes and low sales. Rescued by associate, Grantura Engineering.

1963 - First TVR Griffith, with 4.7-litre Ford V8 and named after US importer Jack Griffith. Instant hit but import problems scupper US operation.

1965 - TVR Trident appears with Ford V8 power and body by Fissore of Italy.

1965-1968 - Martin Lilley takes control and stabilises TVR. Firm benefits from PR-grabbing race wins by Gerry Marshall; launches new Tuscan V8 and four-pot Vixen.

1972-1978 - TVR growth ebbs and flows, but the company moves to bigger premises in Bristol Avenue, Blackpool, and launches the desirable M-series.

1978-1981 - All-new Tasmin, designed by ex-Lotus man Oliver Winterbottom, becomes fastest TVR yet. Then a new owner, Peter Wheeler, takes control.

1981-2004 - Wheeler changes focus back to V8s. Launches Chimaera, Griffith, Cerbera, T350, Typhon and Sagaris. Builds own V8 and six-pot units.

2004-2006 - TVR sold to Russian investor Nikolai Smolenski, but owners are in retreat due to chaotic quality plus appeal of Porsche Boxster.

2006-2013 - TVR dormant apart from activities of various UK-based restoration operations.

2013-present - Consortium led by entrepreneur Les Edgar acquires TVR and embarks on a new project with Cosworth and Gordon Murray.

Read more:

TVR plans new sports car range for 2017

Back to top

Tempting TVRs from £5 to £50k

Blog - Can TVR's new plan really work?

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

Add a comment…