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Published on November 29th, 2012 | by Perrin



Terrific TVRs

TVRs are handmade British sports cars and ceased production in 2006. Almost without exception they are beautiful, savagely fast, make a biblical noise and are terrifying yet rewarding to drive. The build quality is generally laughable and the reliability can be appalling but, if you buy an older car, the worst of the problems should be resolved. These are cars for enthusiasts and are not practical for everyday use, but they’re great value for money and nothing puts a bigger smile on your face. Here are my top four.

TVR Chimaera          (1992 to 2003)

The Chimaera is a drop dead gorgeous two seater roadster with an interior straight out of a gentleman’s club. The power came from a variety of Rover V8 engines, all of which emit a wonderful V8 burble. They are all fast, but the 5 litre version can hurl itself to 62mph in 4.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 175. The handling is not too challenging and the ride good enough to be used as a grand tourer. There are plenty around with prices starting at £5k for a ratty old one. I found a pristine 1997 model with 29k on the clock for £11,000.

For: Great looks, practicality, availability

Against: A bit soft for hardcore performance addicts 

TVR Cerbera             (1996 to 2003)

The Cerbera is a 2+2 coupe with a good sized boot and should, in theory, be ideal for the school run. In reality, it’s a thinly disguised racing car with virtually no suspension and handling that needs an expert to tame it. Most of them come with TVR’s own engines, a 4.2 or 4.5 litre V8. Performance ranges from vivid to outrageous – the vital statistics for the 4.5 are 3.9 seconds and 195mph – and the noise is just astonishing. You can pick up a reasonably tidy 4.2 for £10,000, but you’ll have to find £19k for a 1999 4.5 with 30,000 miles under its belt.

For: Race car performance and handling, surprising practicality, bonkers interior

Against: Not the prettiest TVR, the in-house V8 can be fragile

TVR Tuscan Speed 6           (1999 to 2006)

The Tuscan is a two seater coupe with a targa top for that wind in the hair feeling. Everything about this car is utterly insane, the styling, the performance, the handling and the noise. All the Tuscans come with a straight six TVR built engine with power outputs ranging from 360 to 440bhp. The performance is anything from terrifying to frankly suicidal and the handling is something to be pushed to the limit only by the very brave. The interior is sensational, though the build quality is abysmal. All this magnificence can be yours for a mere £14k which puts you in a 2001 model with 16,000 miles on it.

For: All of the above, John Travolta drove one in Swordfish

Against: This car makes a full time job out of trying to kill you

TVR S2           1989 to 1991

The S2 is an old school roadster complete with circular headlights, leather upholstery and a burr walnut dash. The styling is reminiscent of a Triumph TR6 or an MGB soft top; a flat cap is an obligatory accessory. All the S2s had a 2.9 litre Ford V6 – although the 170bhp it kicks out is not huge, in a car that weighs 900kg it is plenty of power. The handling is a revelation, good enough to turn a Porsche driver green with envy. There are always a few used examples in the market; I found a 1991 model with 63,000 miles for £5k – bargain!

For: Old school looks, sublime handling, value

Against: Leaky roofs, rubbish electric windows, lack of ground clearance  



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