Chatting idly to McLaren’s Chris Goodwin last week at the McLaren P1 event, we got round to the subject of TVR. McLaren is building a £100k sports car at the moment, as you may well know, and Goodwin was basically grilling me about the quality of the rivals the baby-Mac will face next year, one of which will be the new TVR.
Turns out Goodwin knows the new boss, Les Edgar from way back when he was racing with Aston Martin. They got involved with a racing project that very nearly saw Aston go to Le Mans with a full-house GT1 car, but in the end it didn’t quite happen, since when they’ve not seen each other much.
But it was obvious from Goodwin’s tone that he has a great deal of respect for Mr Edgar. He described him as being “a very sharp cookie” and also someone who clearly has the financial clout to raise TVR from the ashes.
But what sort of car should the new TVR actually be? And how on earth is it going to compete with the likes of the Porsche 911 GT3, the new small McLaren, and by then a completely redesigned Audi R8 and the already excellent Jaguar F-type, to name but a few?
For me there are several key things it must contain in order to differentiate it from the herd.
One, it absolutely must have a manual gearbox. I believe there is still a small but perfectly formed market for a car in which you change gear by yourself at the £100k level, yet not one of the aforementioned rivals is even available with a stick shift.
Two, it must eschew the trend for being laced with complicated electronic systems that, some say, remove the interaction between car, driver and the road beneath. This will also help keep the build costs the right side of ridiculous, and once again I’m fairly certain there’s still a small but committed market for a £100k sports car that isn’t festooned with electronic trickery, and which will, ultimately, spit you into the undergrowth if you get it wrong.
Three, it must not cost more than £100k. Don’t let the price trickle up to £120-130k – otherwise the GT3 will look like even better value than it is...