Cult Favorite TVR Returns | Edmunds

Cult Favorite TVR Returns

Just the Facts:
  • TVR, one of the United Kingdom's storied sports car brands, is set to make a sensational comeback.
  • Famed for its bold convertibles and coupes like the Griffith and Chimaera, TVR will relaunch under the stewardship of a U.K. company, TVR Automotive Ltd, fronted by entrepreneur Les Edgar.
  • TVR's new owners have not announced plans for new models.

SURREY, England — TVR, the celebrated United Kingdom sports car maker, is on the way back.

The British media is full of news that a new company, TVR Automotive Ltd, has been set up to resurrect TVR, the revered builder of macho sports cars like the Griffith, Cerbera and Tuscan.

TVR, which has a long and colorful past dating back to 1947, was bought by Russian tycoon Nikolai Smolenski as recently as 2004 for a reputed $23 million.

But under Smolenski, TVR went into decline and ultimately went bankrupt. Now, an enthusiastic U.K. entrepreneur, Les Edgar, has bought the rights to TVR and has told the U.K.'s Top Gear magazine that he has a "a lot of plans" to bring TVR back, to keep it in the sports car business and based in the U.K.

To build on the buzz, the company's Web site announces: "Thunderous News! The distant rumble of rumor has turned to thunder and TVR is back in Britain!"

What TVR has planned in terms of new models has yet to be revealed but the company's vibrant back catalogue may provide a few clues.

TVR, created in 1947 by British sports car entrepreneur TreVoR Wilkinson (hence the company name) started to come to prominence in the early '60s with chunky fiberglass sports cars like the Grantura.

Perhaps the first TVR to come to the attention of U.S. aficionados was the inaugural Griffith of 1963, which packed a Ford 289 V8 and is now a collectors' item.

Into the modern era, and under the ownership of Peter Wheeler, TVR created a sensation with the 1992 Griffith whose fabulous design, big V8 power and hand-built exclusivity was so hot it had 911 owners trading in their cars.

TVR followed this up with a succession of cars building on this theme, becoming ever faster and more spectacular in terms of looks, as exemplified by the track-based Sagaris.

Wheeler sold out to Smolenski in 2004 but the success story then began to peter out as no new cars were developed and Smolenski threatened to take production out of Britain.

Now a new chapter for TVR (nickname "Travels Very Rapidly") begins and with luck, the new generation of cars will make their way stateside.

Edmunds says: Great news that TVR is to be resurrected. Nobody builds brash, high-powered specialty sports cars quite like this cult Brit outfit.

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