News : TVR’s rights come back home

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Keith Adams

TVR Sagaris 2

There have been lots of false dawns about TVR’s future over the years since it went into administration in 2006. But there’s finally reason to be positive that we could well see the moribund and much-loved marque make a return following the news that the rights to the name have been bought by a UK-based entrepreneur.

The Internet’s been alight with TVR speculation, since the company’s website began posting cryptic messages on its homepage. The www.tvr.co.uk website’s main message changed to ‘Never say never’ last week, and currently it’s annoucing, ’Thunderous news! The distant rumble of rumour has turned to thunder and TVR is back in Britain!’ The speculation ended when it was confirmed that the rights to use the TVR name have been sold to Surrey-based businessman, Les Edgar. Not only does he own the rights, but he has also bought the rights to manufacture components for old TVRs. He’s also stated that there will be a full announcement about TVR’s future shortly.

The beginning of the end for TVR – as was – can probably be traced to Peter Wheeler’s sale of the Blackpool company to Russian billionaire Nikolai Smolenksy in 2004. The company changed focus, moved upmarket and left its traditional heartland of the affordable muscular sports car open the opposition. The Sagaris might have been mightily quick, but it was also expensive, and not without problems – and, in 2006, it was cancelled, taking the company with it.

There have been several attempts to relaunch TVR in the ensuing years. TVR announced the Sagaris 2 (above) in 2007, which was to be built in modest premises near Kirkham in Lancashire. That never happened, and so the most credible option occured in 2010, when a deal with FMS, a German specialist firm that manufactures the Gullwing and AC MkVI in Meissen, was mooted.

The plan was to produce a GM LS3-powered, open-topped sports car and build it alongside the AC MkVI. The deal fell through when the two parties couldn’t agree terms. Smolensky’s aid told AROnline at the time that it didn’t matter where any new TVR was built and it certainly didn’t need to return to the UK.

TVR continued to offer parts and specialist support and announced on its website in 2011 that the Sagaris could then be built to order, but series production never restarted and, as far as we know no new cars were completed. Smolensky threw in the towel in 2012, winding up the company after coming to the conclusion that a revival of TVR was not going to be financially viable and thus ending TVR’s continuous history as a car manufacturer since the formation of TVR Engineering in 1947 to an end.

Less than a year later, it would seem that we could be on the brink of a relaunch thanks to Les Edgar.

TVR

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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25 Comments

  1. I, too, hope this spells good news in relation to the TVR name adorning new build sports cars, built in the UK once again.

    I have fond (and unforgettable!) memories of having driven a Chimaera, Tuscan 2, T350C and the Sagaris in my ‘previous vocation’. All were fabulously quick and unlike anything else on the road, and my favourites were definitely the Chimaera and T350C.

    Thinking aloud, I am wondering whether the new owners of the TVR name might decide to knock on the door of one Jaguar Land Rover, given they produce a number of appealing V6 and V8 engines in various states of tune?

  2. Yeah, but how long before he sells it again? I don’t get my hopes up anymore. The typical British mentality is to just make a quick buck out of everything.

  3. Has a few parallels with the unfortunate character that ‘bought’ the rights to the MG X Power SV after the demise of MGR, and who was always on the brink of a big announcement….

  4. I’m not too sure it will succeed but, good luck to him. Just imagine if Mr. Wheeler hadn’t been seduced by the big Russian money and let Mr. Tomlinson buy it. TVR would be where Ginetta are today. Award winning cars and, I suggest, a healthy future.

  5. Smolenski was dead wrong when he said that it didn’t matter if TVRs were built in the UK or elsewhere- TVRs are a very British take on the high-horsepower V8 sportscar- spartan, brutal, slightly suspect build quality and will it/won’t it reliability, and looking like they have been knocked up by a very talented designer in a shed.

    Made with love, and achingly lustworthy. Even George Monbiot probably has a secret craving to own one.

    I know I do.

  6. I think there is a definite niche for TVR but hope their management give priority to establishing spares support for existing TVR owners – I have been involved with a number of vehicle brands changing owners/factories and it’s aftermarket support that makes the profits and keeps customers loyal/keen to buy replacement vehicles.

    If I were TVR I would also relaunch vehicles recognisable to the old models rather than come up with an unproven new design at silly prices.

  7. Nice to see a bloke invest his money and has the balls to do so,yet once again this story is awash with negativity,only ten posts in and folk are putting the boot in.

    I could ask where are your successful businesses but with this British disease so prevalent you may not have them.

  8. correct if it was a german name reborn everyone would be jumping for joy but oh no its british so stick the boot in. unbelievable really…
    I say good luck. pity the old rover v8 wont be used again..

  9. @ Chris (post 4) It’s not just regulation! The market has changed too. A lashed-together Brit muscle car doesn’t quite fit nowadays does it? Give the man the benefit of the doubt and say he will revive TVR, and I think he’d be best advised to follow the Tesla model…

    Good luck to the chap

  10. It’d be great to see new V8 sports cars rumble out of Blackpool. Hopefully he’ll use the LS3 or AJV8. I think TVR really started to get into trouble when they built their own engines, but these days there’s plenty of off the shelf power.

    If they need to get CO2 down they could probably get reasonable figures with a Jag supercharged V6 and a light body, while still being mighty fast.

  11. This can only be good news after the Smolenksy cock-up. Good look to him. lets hope he can regain production in the UK.
    Its a shame Melling gave up…..whatever happened to the Melling cars?

  12. #13…….haven’t Caterham /Westfield been doing exactly that for years? A simple, well built [which may not exactly have been TVR’s trump card in the past]V8 powered sports car with TVR’s name on it will always sell.

  13. I will believe it when I see it. Many rich men dream of owning a sports car company, only to throw in the towel when they start bleeding money.

    I’m also not sure where the niche for these cars is. As lotus have shown, there doesn’t seem to be a demand for a Spartan sports car anymore. Go up market and you have to compete with the likes of Porsche.

  14. Nobody buys a Range Rover V8 supercharged and worries about CO2,these was always niche,not produced in large number cars.
    Same applies.

  15. Most of the modern U.S. would not exist if the Americans had this ‘lay the boot in’ British disease. A lot of the wonderful designs in the U.K. would not come to fruition either. (Thankfully it only affects a minority).
    One can just imagine the response from some of our contributors to the suggestion that we build a hotel with a motor museum bigger than Beaulie on the 5th floor or a hotel with half a mile of canal running through it.
    ‘Oh, that’ll never work” or “I”ll believe it when I see it”
    Those that have been to Las Vegas will know it does happen and it does work – because the those folks have a ‘can do’ attitude with not a vestage of this British attitude so exemplified by knockers of everything that’s brave!

  16. Good interview, that one on PistonHeads. Mr Edgar doesn’t sound at all like a reincarnated Will Riley. My hopes are raised.

  17. Good news if there is follow through. Like someone with guts and determination. It is possible to take on the Germans. Porsche Boxster is hardly a beauty even if it does drive very well. Not got the passion of TVR.

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