Every year the TVR Car Club celebrates the models and people that shaped the brand before 1980. We had a quick nosey at this year’s meet in Surrey
Brooklands Museum recently hosted the TVR Car Club’s annual Pre80s Extravaganza, which featured a bumper 52 cars ranging from 1961 to ’79. AutoClassics hooked up with many of the members on their way to the event, and caught up on the history of some of the cars.
At Brooklands, the machines lined up to form a TVR lover’s dream display. A few even tackled the site’s historic test hill for the special Gymkhana. The overall concours prize went to David and Sue Griffin for their 1965 1800S, while the award for best restoration went to Darren Mingay’s 3000M. Dave Edbrook won the Gymkhana in his 3000S.
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The oldest cars on display were 1961 Grantura MkIIAs. One of them had had only two owners, a father and son, while the other, Australian-owned example was used for racing and was also a Concours of Elegance veteran. The model is noticeable for its incredibly short doors – but for those wondering whether it’s a squeeze inside, the footwell extends all the way to the front wheels.
The next car that AutoClassics got a look at was the Grantura 1800S. Its rear end is dominated by two massive lights, which resemble an upside-down Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament logo. The indicator, brake and hazard lenses are split within each light. The example we got to admire was finished in silver, and had plush, red-leather trim.
Also present were all four generations of the Vixen – described by one club member as ‘the ultimate motorway car’ – including several Ford Kent 1600cc-engined models, and a heavily modified second-generation machine. Niels Christian Nielson drove his Daimler V8-powered Series 1 car all the way from Norway in an 1800-mile round trip, while Gary Pritchard brought along his lime green Vixen S2 barn find.
One of the most well known TVRs is the Tuscan from the 1990s and 2000s, which took the name off a 1960s sports car. A 1969 Tuscan V6 with racing pedigree was present at Brooklands.
After the Vixen came the 3000 series, which included TVR’s long-awaited first production convertible. As a soft-top, the 3000S was in a way alien to owners of modern cars, as the windows (or ‘sidescreens’) were removable by unclipping them from the door. The place where the windows previously sat would then provide a useful elbow rest for the driver.
This method diminished the car’s waterproofing, and models that were exported to America often ended up returning to the UK. Popularity was no problem back home, and one magazine at the time described the 3000S as ‘by far the best and most usable open two-seater since the demise of the E-type Jaguar’.
Enjoyability wasn’t hampered by the occasional leakage, especially for the 13 lucky owners of the turbo version. Broadspeed developed a carburettor turbo that modified the engine to put out over 240bhp, meaning it could do 0-60mph in less than six seconds – an impressive figure for the 1970s.
Nestled in between the 3000S models was a Taimar, supposedly a shortening of ‘tailgate Martin’, a riff on TVR factory owner Martin Lilley’s name. Its boot was big and the lid borrowed hinges from the Austin Maxi. Both cars marked the end of the Lilley era of TVR, which was celebrated at Brooklands alongside the 40th anniversary of the 3000S.