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TVR Pre M grantura vixen

The Pre M TVR's encompasses nearly the first 25 years of the history of TVR. From the early cars of Trevor Wilkinson, thought the Jomars and to the first real production car, the Grantura. The Grantura went to Le Mans, gave birth to the V8 Griffith and brought in our second hero Martin Lilley. Martin steadied the ship and produced the Vixen and Tuscans, which developed into the M series.

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Pre M Series

Any early history has to refer to "TVR: Success Against the Odds" by Peter Filby published in 1976 by Wilton House Gentry. In this book Filby describes how Trevor Wilkinson removed the body from an Alvis Firebird and founded Trevcar Motors and then TVR Engineering in 1947. Over the next few years TVR's Nos 1, 2, and 3 were produced and then in 1954 the Sports Saloon based on a RGS Atalanta body shell. Other body shells were available including ones from Rochdale (of Olympic fame). The earliest surviving TVR is No 2, which was restored by a Yorkshire based member in the late 1990s and is regularly seen at Club events. There is a web page devoted to TVR No2 here

Then started the Jomar saga, Peter Scott wrote in Sprint in October and November 1994 about his visit to see Alex Saidel. Ray Saidel had written from New Hampshire to Trevor Wilkinson and agreed to sell TVRs under the Jomar name, based on his children names JOanna and MARc. TVR moved to a new home at Hoo Hill and Roadsters based on two bonnet moulds, Notchbacks coupes and eventually Fastbacks were produced. The fastback was to become the Grantura and set the style of TVR's for the next 21 years.

In the front office things changed and in late 1958 TVR became Layton Sports Cars (a district of Blackpool) and a separate company was formed called Grantura Engineering. Things were looking up and Motor even road tested one of the early Grantura cars in 1959. The car became the mk2 and 2a with MGA engine options. At this time Trevor left the company.

The company name changed, again, TVR Cars, and John Thurner improved the chassis with coil springs replacing the torsion bars of the old car. Grantura Engineering rescued the Car Company and the Mk3 Grantura went to Le Mans, failing within the hour. Meanwhile in the USA an importer Dich Monnich and his friend Gerry Sagermann visited a Long Island Ford dealer called Jack Griffith. Mike Mooney tells the story in his recent book (The Griffith Years) of how a Ford 289ci V8 was matched to a Grantura Mk3 to produce a Cobra beater. Some of these Anglo-American hybrids were sold in the UK, including one to a young man called Martin Lilley. Again the old problem of over optimism returned and a USA Dockers strike killed the Griffith project and the Grantura Company.

Rescue came in the shape of Martin and his father Arthur Lilley. Slowly production restarted with the MkIV or 1800S and the V8 cars now called Tuscans. Improvements were incorporated including (thankfully) bigger doors in the long wheelbase (LWB) Tuscans and in the renamed Vixens. The LWB Vixens (the S2) now came with Ford 1600GT engines instead of the previous MGB units. Vixens sold well, mostly in kit form in those pre-VAT days. The supply of Ford of USA V8's became more difficult and the Tuscans received the Ford UK Essex 3litre V6. For the smog aware USA market the TR6 2.5litre engine was available.

Over Christmas 1970 TVR Engineering moved from Hoo Hill, to Bristol Road, TVR's current location. The scene was set for M series.

Success Against the Odds indeed.

Pre M Series

Pre M Series

Pre M Series

Technical Specifications  
If you have No2 or have a Jomar I don't think we can tell you more than you know, in fact you tell us!

The club used to issue a reprint of what bits is of what for the Grantura series cars. This list now has some limited use as the chances of finding the standard 1960 production car in a scrapyard has reduced.

Over the last year or so Ian Massey Crosse's detailed restoration of one of the LeMans cars has featured in Sprint. I'd like to see that collected in print. Perhaps in an update of this page.

Brian Holmes has also written a fascinating series of articles for Sprint detailing the restoration of his MkII Grantura. Although the series is still far from complete, the early articles are now online - click here to read them.

The Vixen models have been covered in many articles and websites, I hope to list more in updates. The V8 Cars are more specialised and some excellent articles have appeared in Sprint.

Date Description
Useful Links
Description Link
Yahoo Pre 1980 Group
John Upham's Vixen Site
Vixen Restoration
Grantura Restoration
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