VR’s new super-sports coupe has been revealed at last-but only to the exclusive group of enthusiasts who have already agreed to buy one. The car, a 200mph, front-engined V8 two-seater, very much in character with the traditional Blackpool TVRs but entirely new from the ground up, is being unveiled in a series of secret launches at designer Gordon Murray’s HO near Guildford, Surrey.
Only those who have already placed a deposit are invited. The company is swearing its customers to secrecy – to the extent of asking them to sign confidentiality agreements -because it has elected not to show the car’s finished look in public until an official unveiling in September. First customers are seeing the car in groups of about 30, at intimate meetings with designers and company principals, held on Saturdays and Sundays over two weekends. Proceedings start with a briefing on the car’s all-new mechanical specification, including details on aerodynamics, lightweight construction and crash safety, before the fully detailed model is dramatically revealed.
Prospective buyers are also hearing about a series of performance targets for the car. Power from the Cosworth-developed V8 should easily exceed 400bhp and the kerb weight should be around 1200kg, while a sub-four-second 0-60mph time and a 200mph top speed are expected. A price of less than £90,000 is likely for the full-house launch edition. “These weekends are mainly about revealing the beauty of the car,” said Les Edgar, TVR’s chairman. “But we’re also keen to stress its sophisticated underpinnings, which incorporate the very latest technology.
This project has required our engineers and designers to start from scratch – you can’t meet the latest legislation any other way. We’re proud of what they have achieved.” Edgar said the need for an entirely new design – and a desire among TVR’s backing consortium to refine the car’s all-important details – is the main reason for the slippage in the original delivery schedule. “We’re determined to give this car the perfect chassis, and to make sure the looks match the engineering,” Edgar said. “That has meant working through a number of styling iterations, which isn’t a quick process.
The new TVR uses Gordon Murray’s patented ‘iStream Carbon’ production process, which uses a tubular structure to define the hard points of the car, with bonded-in carbonfibre panels greatly enhancing its strength. The lightness, rigidity and crashworthiness of iStream have already been proven in a number of applications, including Murray’s own micro-cars, two Japanese sports car projects and the Ox flat-pack truck designed for developing world applications.
At the Guildford meetings, customers are also seeing a 3D portrayal of the TVR’s different colour/trim combinations – and a model of TVR’s unique in-house seat design. Proceedings conclude with a discussion of finance options, then a Q& A. The whole event occupies a little less than two hours. Over the past year TVR has conducted extensive performance and durability tests of its Cosworth-developed. Ford Mustang-derived 5.0-litre V8 engine, most of them in a previous-generation TVR Cerbera lightened to simulate the new car’s weight. Performance is described as “electrifying”.
TVR is also making good progress with a deal over its new factory, expected to be located close to the proposed new Circuit of Wales in Blaenau, Gwent. Edgar said the company should move into the new premises, an existing building converted to its own specification, in the first quarter of next year. Full-scale production will began after a short pilot production phase in the third quarter of 2018. TVR isn’t yet saying when first owners will get their cars – but can expect this to be a burning question among its weekend visitors.