For such a big-noise manufacturer, TVR had gentle beginnings. In 1938, the 14-year-old Trevor Wilkinson began his apprenticeship at a local garage, which would lead him on an adventure into the automotive industry. In 1947, he built his first car, based on an Alvis Firebird. It featured an aluminium body of his own design and proved so promising that Trevcar Motors started building more, between day-to-day servicing and repair jobs.
Two years later, Wilkinson sold his first car. He also renamed his company TVR Engineering. His original plan was to call his sports cars Trevors, but concerned friends talked him out of that. No-one, they figured, would buy a car named Trevor.
What set this special apart from its predecessors was that it was underpinned by a strong multi-tube chassis designed and built by Wilkinson. It didn’t last long, and was crashed before it was finished – but it proved the strength of the Wilkinson-engineered chassis. By 1951, he’d built three of these TVRs.
The profits from his first (sold for £325) were ploughed into the next – and so on. And each of these early specials was better than the last. In 1954, the TVR ‘Sports Saloon’ went on sale and, although it owed much to the earlier cars, it was designed for series production. It sported a streamlined glassfibre bodyshell (supplied by RGS Atalanta, Rochdale or Microplas), and enthusiastic owners could order their TVR from £650 (fully built) with a variety of power units. These ranged from the Ford 10hp engine, via the BMC A- or B-series, to a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder Lea-Francis OHV. In this form, the compact and aerodynamic TVR would easily top 90mph, making it a popular performance car bargain. And from there came the TVR Mark 1.
The marque endured a convoluted and gradual development in these formative years, and it was no different during the company’s heyday. You can read the story of TVR from Grantura to Sagaris – and hopefully beyond – over the next 9 pages.
All The TVRs - The Full Story - All The TVRs
Rumours abound that TVR is about to stage a comeback. What better time to recall the past glories of Blackpool's best?
A breakdown of TVR historic milestones.
Grantura Mark lll, Mark lV 1800S - TVR's Grantura Mark lll, Mark lV 1800S
There’s an appealing delicacy about the TVR Grantura that shouts ‘drive me’.
Griffith, Tuscan, Vixen - TVR's Griffith, Tuscan, Vixen
It’s a case of ‘more of the same’ for the next generation of TVRs.
Griffith, Chimaera, Cerbera - TVR's Griffith, Chimaera, Cerbera
It’s time to get controversial.
Sagaris - TVR Sagaris
All of Peter Wheeler’s TVRs were blessed with ferocious acceleration, a glorious soundtrack, and price tags that meant his cars were within the reach of hard-working enthusiasts.
Tuscan Speed Six - TVR Tuscan Speed Six
It must have seemed strange that, when the Tuscan Speed Six went on sale in 2000, its big selling point was its new engine
The Tuscan challenge - TVR The Tuscan challenge
TVR had been actively involved in motor sport pretty much from its inception.
Taimar, Tasmin, TVR S - TVR's Taimar, Tasmin, TVR S
Looking at the Taimar and the S3, it’s difficult to believe that more than a decade separates them – or that they book-end the glorious white 350i that’s thundering around our temporary paddock at the Bruntingthorpe track.
T350, Tamora - TVRs T350, Tamora
After a ten-year production run, the Griffith needed replacement.