Blackpool Rocks Volume 2: TVR confirms a fully carbonfibre structure for new launch model

Published: 21 January 2016

Carbon structure for TVR’s relaunch model
2017 comeback year production sold out
Four new cars, naturally aspirated V8s

Reborn British sports car marque TVR will kick off its all-new sports car range in 2017 with an limited-run of models built around an inventive all-carbon architecture, the company has confirmed.

The first run of ‘Launch Edition’ cars will be built around a carbonfibre chassis, designed with help from famed design consultant Gordon Murray, put together using his innovative ‘iStream’ manufacturing system, and clothed in carbonfibre bodywork.

While the first batch of cars will get the full carbonfibre treatment, it’s understood that the following production run will use an aluminium chassis and bodywork made from less exotic composites, such as fibreglass. However, the carbon tub and carbon panels will still be available as an option at extra cost. There’s no official word on pricing yet, but iStream is claimed to be far more cost-effective than more traditional composite manufacturing methods.

‘Historically, carbonfibre has been reserved for motorsport and high-end supercars, but now TVR will be offering customers a slice of that technology at a fraction of the price,’ says TVR’s chairman Les Edgar.  ‘The carbon manufacturing process really is a game changer, and one I’m delighted to offer to all of our early adopter Launch Edition customers within the package cost.’

Gordon Murray has also commented: ‘From early on it became apparent that there was no reason why we couldn’t develop a carbonfibre chassis structure for the new TVR at a lower cost than manufacturing processes previously allowed.’

Most recent car to showcase Gordon Murray Design’s nascent iStream technology was Yamaha’s compact sports car concept displayed at the 2015 Tokyo motor show.

First production year already sold out

Following hot on the heels of the announcement of the TVR marque’s comeback, the company revealed in summer 2015 that it had sold out the projected first year of production in just six weeks.

So far more than 300 deposits of £5000 have been taken on the next generation of models. Putting money down early has secured one of the first new TVRs to be built - and owners' club members were allowed to jump on the queue for just £2500. Hence the company has raised a handy nest egg to help develop its new models.

‘The response has been fantastic,’ says Les Edgar. ‘With deposits continuing to flow in, we will be looking to close the order book for the Launch Edition car shortly. Our intent is to unveil the styling of the new car in the coming months at a public event, although we will be conducting car clinics before then.’

TVR Take Two: the facts

It's been nearly a decade since the Blackpool-based tearaways ceased building their outrageous coupes and roadsters, but a new ownership consortium has now confirmed that it will re-start production in 2017. In a wide-ranging announcement Les Edgar, who bought the rump of the company from Russian Nikolai Smolenski in 2013, revealed:

  • TVRs will be built in Britain from 2017
  • 'At least four new models' under development
  • Engineering collaboration with Gordon Murray Design
  • Ford V8 engines tuned by Cosworth
  • Priced and designed like TVRs of old
  • Production starts 'in the hundreds' in 2017
  • £5000 deposits taken from 7 July 2015
  • New dealer network being built up

Operations director John Chasey said: 'We’ve been totally blown away by the reaction to the new car. Our phonelines and online inquiry system went into meltdown when the news was announced, and we decided that we must begin to bring a structure to the inquiries and build a delivery pipeline well in advance of production. Volumes in year one will be limited as we ramp up production, so this allows us to reward those individuals prepared to make a financial commitment at this early stage.'

Visit www.tvr.co.uk or telephone +44 (0)330 120 0032 to place an order for one of the first new TVRs.

Who is behind the TVR rebirth?

The new management team is led by Edgar, a life-long TVR fan who made his money in the computer gaming industry. He's close to the enthusiastic owners' community, who have believed for some time that there's a gap in the market for affordable, characterful sports cars to nip at the heels of Porsche and co. He is assisted by a management team including the likes of John Chasey, who is now the operations director of the reborn TVR.

New TVR chairman Les Edgar

'We know that a new TVR has to be better than just good – it has to be outstanding,' admitted Edgar. 'We are a well-funded, well-supported organisation and boast a vastly experienced management team. We are here to stay and we have a fully evolved 10-year plan for product and business development, and are committed to deliver on all the targets we have set ourselves  - as we have done to date.

'Despite very deliberately maintaining a low profile since completing the acquisition of TVR two years ago, we have had an enormous amount of unsolicited interest from businesses, individuals and investors internationally. Such is the strength of the brand and the passion of its followers. It is a real privilege to be a part of the revival of a great British marque - one that will succeed through our single-minded desire to produce exceptional sports cars.'

The new TVRs planned

The revived TVR plans a range of vehicles 'in the tradition of classic British two-seat sports cars with a composite ground-effect aero chassis.' That points to a roadsters and coupes in the spirit of the defunct Sagaris and Tuscan, but updated with more modern engineering. Rear-wheel drive, a simple manual transmission and non-turbo, dry-sumped Ford V8s developed by Northamptonshire-based Cosworth are already confirmed.

The new, low-volume TVRs will be built in the UK. It's unlikely they'll be built in Blackpool; the current engineering prototypes are being developed near Murray's Surrey base.

Can they pull it off?

That's the $64 million question. Enthusiasts would suggest there is indeed a place in the market for something simpler, purer, more brutal than the polish of Porsches or the Germanic heft of modern-day M3s and AMGs. A step up from the purity of a Toyota GT86.

But the economic realities of realising this dream are harsh and the path to independent manufacturing is littered with failure, not least the last-generation TVR concern. However, the new business has appointed some of the brightest minds in the business, and the low-volume specialist build process that is Murray's iStream could make or break their chances.

It'll be fascinating to see if they can relaunch TVR successfully. Expect further announcements on the project later in 2015.

Click here to browse secondhand TVRs on our sister site Classiccarsforsale.

New owners promise to recapture the back-to-basics fun of old-school TVRs, like the Sagaris

By CAR's road test team

Our reviewers: fresh perspectives for inquisitive minds

  • Sketch on TVR's website gives a flavour of the new car's styling
  • TVR Tuscan: a new breed of TVRs returns in 2017
  • The Tuscan: a proper, hairy-chested TVR
  • The TVR Sagaris: the cheaper, but still outrageous coupe
  • The new, reborn TVR promises to stick with traditional price brackets, DNA
  • Will they keep the fabulously wrought TVR cabins? Tuscan here
  • Les Edgar, TVR chairman (left), and Gordon Murray
  • TVR fan and now boss: Les Edgar