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Prototypes/Specials Model Area Acting Editor; David Pennington

Like most car manufactures various ideas are tried and either make it to production, or left as curious maybe's. This page looks at some of these prototypes.

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TrevCar Motors (1947-1958)
The early cars of TVR, No 1, 2, 3; through the Jomar, to the Grantura are covered in the Pre M section. 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

Trident (1965)
This was a concerted attempt to break away from the Grantura styling, using an Italian styled dare one say wedgie shaped body. At the time of the 1965 take over only four prototypes existed. Martin Lilley thought he owned the rights, but a former TVR dealer obtained the rights and built the non TVR Trident using the Essex 3 litre engine in place of the 289 from the Griffith. All four TVR prototypes still exist and two of these were fully restored in the 1990s; one is in UK, one in the US and the remaining two are in Belgium. Martin Lilley personally used the convertible for a while.

Tina (1967)
An Imp engined prototype, shown at the Motorshow, in both convertible and fixed head variants. One of these - the coupe - was owned for a long time by famous TVR race driver Gerry Marshall. It is still owned by his daughter, Tina, is currently undergoing restoration and is expected to be completed in in the first half of 2008. The convertible is road-going and is in the USA.

Zante (1970)
Another wedge styled prototype based on the mechanicals which eventually became the M series. For many years this car was being restored by a former TVRCC secretary but eventually he had to abandoned the restoration due to ill health. At that point it became known that he did not own the car but that it was still registered with TVR Engineering and it was returned to Bristol Avenue where, as far as we are aware, it still resides.

After the interesting prototypes of the 60ís, TVR settled down to make the M Series. As most of the prototypes made it to production these are covered in the M pages, similarly with the Tasmin Series, most notably the two turbo-charged cars, both of which are still in existence and owned by Club members.

420 Sport Saloon (1986)
This was TVR's attempt to make a fixed head coupe from the mechanicals of a 420 SEAC but the body shape simply didn't look right and it was never progressed. However, the front of the car did make it into the White Elephant...

Holden/White Elephant (1988)
The Holden has had a charmed life. It was built as TVR experiemented with other engines to replace the ubiquitous RV8 and was for a number of years owner Peter Wheeler's personal car; it could often be seen parked in the paddock at Tuscan Challenge meets when the boss was racing and quickly gained its nickname of the White Elephant from factory employees. However, despite this, it never made it into production and after a few years it was simply parked at the back of the yard at Bristol Avenue where understandably it started to deteriorate quite rapidly, even more so after the rear screen was taken for another car and water ingress destroyed most of the interior. But help was at hand. In 2004, in a reversal of the policy set by PRW of not selling the prototype cars, the factory agreed to sell the White Elephant to a Club member with a view to restoration. It was first documented in the August 2004 issue of TVR Sprint and regular updates have appeared ever since.

Speed 8 (1989/90)
Two prototypes were developed from the wedge series. Initially it was a straight 2-seater replacement for the 400SE but in the following year it re-appeared at the Motor Show as a 2+2 convertible, described by Performance Car at the time as a "big wide bedroom of a car". Unfortunately, although it was well received, it was shown alongside the Griffith and with apparently less than 30 orders for the Speed Eight against over 200 orders for the Griffith, the Speed Eight concept was dropped. It too was left languishing in the yard at Bristol Avenue for a number of years until in the mid 1990s it was cut up and the moulds destroyed to prevent it from ever being completed and put on the road.

Tuscan Racer (1989-2003)
Is this really a special or prototype, with over 50 made? Made for TVRís own one make series. Started life with a tuned 4.5litre Rover engine and then the AJP derived V8. Some have been used on the Hillclimbs and even on the road.

Speed 6 (1996/7)
The Speed 6 prototypes were a series of Motorshow prototypes, which were attempts to move from the Griffith styling. The two cars were felt to be too close to the original Griffith and the then more radically styled Tuscan we know was shown in 1998. The 96 prototype was called the Griffith Speed 6 and the second was renamed the Tuscan.

Speed 12 (1997/1999)
The Speed 12 was more of an engine than a car style. Two amazingly styled cars for the road were replaced by a Cerbera (on steroids) look. TVR then went GT racing, with mixed success. Although it was designed for road use, it was never built in sufficient numbers for race homologation and therefore despite the engine being capable of producing Formula 1 levels of power and torque, it was always severely limited by air restrictors. At least one road going version was built and again was used by former boss Peter Wheeler to drive to Tuscan Challenge meetings. This car has also now passed into private hands and following an extensive restoration is now owned by a Club member.

Tuscan R(2000)
This was TVR's next attempt to challenge international GT racing. Designed as a road-going 2+2 based loosely on the Tuscan, it was a bespoke car in every respect with the customer having choice over almost every single aspect of the car such that it could be specified as a road car, a ultra-quick track day car, a car to be driven to Club races, raced and then driven home again or a fully spec'd Le Mans/FIA GT racer. Although it did not make it into production, it did spawn the T400 series cars.

T400/T440/Typhon (2003/4)
Developed from the Tuscan R of 2000, the T400 then underwent much development and was raced in the British GT series in 2001/2002 before finally an attempt was made at the famous Le Mans 24 Hour race by a factory backed team led by Club member Richard Stanton of Race Sport Salisbury. Sadly, neither car made it to the finish with one being pushed into the Armco just over one hour into the race and the second having itís propshaft fail at close to 200mph on the Mulsanne Straight. It had just prior to that set the fastest time in its class on the Mulsanne.
The following year the cars returned, allegedly by now as T440Rs and with a wider track for greater stability and with guidance from GT racing guru Hugh Chamberlain, the two Synergy Chamberlain cars crossed the line together in 7th and 9th places in class. One of the drivers from that team is the owner of supposedly the only road going T400R which appeared in the driversí parade prior to the race. Externally virtually identical is the Typhon, which sported a supercharged version of the Speed 6 engine and although rumour continues to suggest that Typhons will be eventually produced for customers as road cars, as far as the Club is aware, none have yet been built.

The future?
We are sure that TVR will continue to produce prototypes at Motor Shows to wow the public. These cars may not make it into production but elements of them may well prove to be part of your next road going TVR. Donít miss the Motor Show to see what they have on offer for this year.

Technical Specifications

The space frame chassis and fiberglass bodywork mean that engine transplants and new body styling can be more easily implemented that with a monocoque construction. Specials range from home brew efforts through light upgrades to the Mercedes/Cerbera used as a test mule for the SL cars.

Putting a bigger engine in to a smaller car has always been good way of getting more power into a car. Through the 60ís the Shelby/AC Cobra showed the way to V8 power and the Griffith was born. Since then more V8ís have been added to smaller TVRís with either the small block Ford or the Rover engine being a favourite. Gem and Mongoose (eats snakes Ė ie cobras!)

350 based camera car.
There is a famous camera car used by a number of the British based fim studios based on a 350 chassis with bodywork heavily reworked to attach a series of camera mounting points.

The McLaren Mule
Do we have a picture?

Let us know about your TVR based special

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