A GREAT BRITISH AUTOMOTIVE BRAND is due to return after a ten year hiatus, at the Goodwood Revival in September. The press release today included a new image which clearly shows the new chassis and drivetrain, and it is good news for lovers of driving.
Gordon Murray Design (GMD) has developed the chassis and suspension, using a front-mid-engined configuration, with the engine set well back behind the front axle. Murray was responsible for the legendary McLaren F1, a car that was iconic for it’s no-compromise design which resulted in incredible performance and an equally incredible price tag. It is now regarded as one of the pinnacles of analog driving, as Murray famously insisted on no driving aids – or even power steering – in order to maximize the connection between car and driver.
For the F1 Murray used exotic and lightweight materials to produce a car which weighed just under 1200kg, and cost $1 million. Only 106 were manufactured, including prototypes and race cars, and Rowan Atkinson’s freshly rebuilt example recently sold at auction for $12.2 million.
Luckily for those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to own one of Murray’s masterpieces from the 1990s, there is soon to be an alternative. Murray and TVR are claiming a similar 1200kg weight for their new car, which will be priced at around £90,000 ($115,000). This has been made possible by advances in carbon fibre mass production, something that Murray has been pioneering with his iStream technology.
Another similarity is with supplier of the engine. Back in 1990 Murray tapped his old Brabham Formula One engine designer Paul Rosche to design and supply a BMW Motorsport engine. In 2017 for TVR, Murray is using another Formula One connection, this time Cosworth, who have designed a 5.0 litre V8 for the car. The F1 engine was a clean sheet design, but the V8 for TVR is probably based upon a mass-produced unit (either from Ford or Chevrolet) in order to control manufacturing and servicing costs – a good thing as F1s need to go back to MSO for servicing. It is naturally aspirated and expected to make around 480bhp.
Crucially, the new TVR is to be – like the F1 – an extremely compact design. It measures just 4300mm long and 1271mm tall, which is 190mm shorter and 25mm lower than the current 911). One of the things we love about driving classic cars is how small and wieldy they are, and we applaud any modern car that manages this.
TVR was established in 1947 and has an enviable back catalogue of small sports and racing cars. They were raced throughout the history of the marque, including at Sebring and Le Mans, up until it’s receivership in 2006.
Since then the TVR flag has been flown by privateer racers including some very fast and well developed Griffiths, a car created in 1963 when Jack Griffith and his race mechanic George Clark installed a Ford 289 V8 in a TVR Grantura Mk3. These Griffs have benefitted greatly from some (read: a lot of – Ed.) development and fettling and can now be made very competitive with the Cobras and lightweight E-types in vintage racing.
The current incarnation of TVR is led by Les Edgar, and the plan is to build up to a four car range – 2 hardtops and 2 roadsters. As huge fans of TVR, Gordon Murray and cars for drivers…we can’t wait.
TVR will be reborn on September 8, 2017 at the Goodwood Revival.