Autocar is often the bearer of good news, and the really good news recently is that TVR will come roaring back into our lives, and will be built at a Circuit of Wales-based plant. We will have to wait a couple of years, of course, which is a shame, but there are still plenty of old ones available.
That can either fill you with dread or make you super-excited. The simple truth always was that TVRs made terrible new cars and even worse used ones.
I’ll qualify that: the problem was (based on my own research) that the care and repairs were rarely up to standard once the car got an owner or two down the line. It was all a bit like Lotus of old, really, when owners did the R&D and the plastic, electric, own-built engine interface led to inexplicably frequent breakdowns.
A sorted TVR, a garage that actually understood them and an owner prepared to invest in the appropriate ramps and stamps was a recipe for a better life.
The dodgy ownership reputation always helped to keep prices on the softer side. Being plastic-bodied didn’t help matters, either. Mind you, since TVR has been resting, prices have picked up a bit.
There is Bangernomics 1970s stuff - proper TVRs in need of TLC. You can find ‘wedges’ from just over £2000, but they will be proper projects. For £5500 to £6000, you get S2s and S3s that should be tidy and, let’s be honest, a lot more fun than an MG B.
To get into a 1990s shape that most people recognise as a modern-era TVR, you still need to find only £7500, which buys a Chimaera that needs to be tidied around the edges. The better ones are closer to £9000 and you are on much safer ground at £12,000.
Decent Chimaeras and Griffiths for that sort of money seem like a steal. Indeed, there are Tuscans, Cerberas and Tamoras below £20k, which seems like incredible value. You will get dealer cars, too, with their own warranties, and they will be properly sorted, which makes these even more attractive and reassuring for rightly nervous buyers.
As for the later cars, they are holding their own and the rebirth of TVR might help them to rise further. Top money is about £40k and you will get a late-model T350C or Tuscan. Then again, there are dealer cars at just over £30k, so there’s a lot of elasticity in the prices.
There is a lot of elasticity in TVRs, too, and that’s why we love them, I suppose. There are no hard and fast rules for buying, owning or anything else about them. TVRs are a used force of nature, and that’s why we should be pleased that someone is going to start making more of them.