As I write this I've got a head full of TVR ahead of a date with the firm's new boss, Les Edgar. Given PistonHeads' historic links with TVR an open tab with a classifieds search for the same seems only appropriate, if only to get a sense of what the market is doing as excitement builds about the company's long-awaited return.
JUN 07th 2016
Dan Trent: TVR T350C – The Classic For You?
I have to say, after the reveal that wasn't a reveal at the London Motor Show (the styling model stayed resolutely under its sheet) I want to be convinced by Edgar this is for real and we are going to see a new TVR in the near future. I hope so. A back to basics British sporting coupe with a V8 by Cosworth and built under Gordon Murray's innovative iStream manufacturing process in a new factory in Wales sounds right up my street. A TVR owner (in both senses), Edgar won't be drawn on the cars from the back catalogue he favours for fear of people reading too much into it. But his tastes are clear from other cars in his collection, including one of the mad twin-supercharged Aston Martin Vantage V600s.
And when I look at the market he's aiming the new car at Aston Martin seems the obvious benchmark – bold, distinctively British and with a wild streak at heart. The new V12 Vantage S with its back to basics manual gearbox seems, to me, exactly the kind of car Edgar would like to be building.
Referring back to that classifieds search it seems the market is in a state of flux. The wild-looking Sagaris that represents TVR's final act before things all went tits up is clearly a desirable and – subsequently – expensive car, low '60s your entry level. Iconic '90s models like Cerberas, Griffiths and Chimaeras that, to traditionalists, symbolise the Wheeler era golden age also seem popular. Likewise Tuscans.
My pick would be one of the forgotten TVRs, the T350C. The Sagaris it spawned is too much for me. For half the money a T350 has what I'd want from a classic British coupe - traditional proportions, a charismatic, high-revving, throttle-bodied straight-six engine and a perfect intersection of TVR wildness and reasonable taste. I think the relative restraint in the styling dates it less than the Sagaris too, without diluting that essential eccentricity and lunacy any TVR should possess. And for this money it looks a much more exciting purchase than a Cayman, with the renewed interest in the brand hopefully making it a solid investment too.
Any TVR needs to be bought with your eyes open, my chosen car offered by well-known specialist Str8six. I like the colour, the fact it's a coupe so doesn't have the silly hatches of the targa version and Str8six offers a detailed service history. I'd be curious to know why the last two owners moved it on so quickly having covered less than 800 miles between them; the romanticist in me likes to think it was because it scared the living daylights out of them. Which would be very TVR. Overall though the looks, positioning heritage and personality of the T350C are exactly the kind of car I'd like Edgar and his colleagues to be building when TVR returns. The V12 Vantage chaser can wait; first up we need a car with a wild side but with that sense of relative attainability TVR always traded so well on.
Images courtesy of Pistonheads
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