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200mph TVR super coupe revealed to buyers ahead of launch

Autocar logo Autocar 18/03/2017 Sam Sheehan

200mph TVR super coupe revealed to buyers ahead of launch

200mph TVR super coupe revealed to buyers ahead of launch
© Haymarket

TVR’s new super-sports coupe is revealed at last — but only to the exclusive group of enthusiasts who have already agreed to buy one.

The car, a 200mph, front-engined V8 two-seater very much in character with the traditional Blackpool TVRs but entirely new from the ground up, is being unveiled in series of secret launches at designer Gordon Murray’s HQ near Guildford, south east of London. Only those who have already placed a deposit are invited.

The company is swearing its customers to secrecy — to the extent of asking them to sign confidentiality agreements — because it has elected not to show the car’s finished look in public until an official launch in September.

First customers are seeing the car in groups of about 30, at intimate meetings with designers and company principals, held on Saturdays and Sundays over two weekends. Proceedings start with a briefing on the car’s all-new mechanical specification — touching on aerodynamics, lightweight construction and crash safety — before the fully detailed model is dramatically revealed.

Prospective buyers are also hearing about a series of performance targets for the car: power from the Cosworth-developed V8 easily exceeding 400bhp, a kerb weight around 1200 kilograms and a price below £90,000 for the full-house TVR launch edition. Plus, of course, the 200mph top speed and the sub-4.0 0-60mph sprint.

“Though these weekends are mainly about revealing the beauty of the car,” says Les Edgar, TVR’s chairman,  “we’re also keen to stress its sophisticated underpinnings, which incorporate the very latest technology. This project has required our engineers and designers to start from scratch — you can’t meet the latest legislation any other way — and we’re proud of what they’ve achieved.”

Edgar says the need for an entirely new design — and a desire among TVR’s backing consortium to refine the car’s all-important details — is the main reason for slippage in the original delivery schedule. “We’re determined to give this car the perfect chassis, and to make sure the looks match the engineering,” Edgar explains. “That has meant working through a number of styling iterations, which isn’t a quick process.

Autocar first broke the news of TVR's new car early last year, and shortly after almost 400 deposits were taken. A full-size clay model of the car was taken to the London motor show (shown in gallery), but it remained under covers.

The new TVR uses Gordon Murray’s patented “iStream Carbon” production process which uses a tubular structure to define the hard points of the car, with bonded-in carbon fibre panels greatly enhancing its strength. The rigidity, lightness and crash-worthiness of iStream have already been proven in a number of applications, including Murray’s own micro-cars, two Japanese sports car projects and a flat-pack truck design for developing world applications called Ox.

At the Guildford meetings, customers are also seeing a 3D portrayal of the TVR’s completed interior — in two different colour/trim combinations — plus a model of TVR’s unique in-house seat design. Proceedings conclude with a discussion of finance options, then a Q&A. The whole thing occupies a little less than two hours.

Over the past year, TVR has been conducting extensive performance and durability tests of its Cosworth-developed, Mustang-derived 5.0-litre V8 engine, most of them in previous generation TVR Cerbera lightened to simulate the weight of the new car. Performance has been described as “electrifying”.

TVR is also making good progress with a deal over its new factory, expected to be located close to the proposed new Circuit of Wales in Blaenau Gwent. Les Edgar says the company should get the keys to the new place, an existing building converted to its own specification, in the first quarter of next year. Full-scale production will began after a short pilot production phase in the third quarter of 2018.

TVR isn’t yet saying exactly when first owners will get their cars  — but can expect this to be a burning question among its weekend visitors.

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