Since 1947, every TVR sports car has been the love child of one of the company’s various owners, all of whom have devoted themselves to their passion with a usually reckless regard for its cost in any form. It’s magnificent — it has always been — but it’s not car manufacturing. The TVR 3000S exemplifies the company’s totally individualistic approach to design; and it is a landmark, the ultimate expression of that approach, pointing both backwards at TVR’s history of achievement, and forwards to the way ahead.
Almost literally. The TVR 3000S only happened because the company’s then-current owner wanted a convertible. Since every TVR is hand-made, his car wasn’t just a decapitated 3000M coupe, though it shared everything mechanical. The windscreen was dropped. Everybody panel to the rear of the hood had to be re-cut to lower the doors for a racier feel, and to fulfil the redesigned rear section to include (for the first time) proper boot-space.
The side windows could be removed, but not rolled down, and the hood was a vintage-style foldaway. The dashboard had to be re-organized round the transmission tunnel: which made the speedometer on right-hand drive models invisible to the driver, and the rev counter hidden on left-hand drives. Lower, sleeker, and (with the ‘M’ hood unchanged) meaner by far than the coupe or its hatchback Taimar version, the production TVR 3000S incorporated the company’s past and future. It is mystifying that no-one had previously tried it.
They certainly loved it. Its performance was already proven, and it got better. Turbo versions achieved 145 mph (233 km/h). TVR’s California agent was terrified by crowds brandishing wads of dollar bills in the hope of securing one, but TVR could only make 258 in two years. Its vicissitudes continued – but the first production convertible saw TVR through the ‘coma years’, and secured its future.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UK
FIRST MANUFACTURED: 1978 (until 1979)
ENGINE: 2,994 cc V6
PERFORMANCE: Top speed of 133 mph (214 km/h);0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.5 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW: Finding replacement parts for the TVR 30005 (or any of the TVR M series) is a matter of ‘automotive archaeology’, because the company was completely dependent on raiding the parts boxes of other manufacturers in the first place. Whether it’s a door latch, windscreen, or even engine part, identical models often have different, frequently untraceable, components.