Trevor Wilkinson and Martin Lilley both appreciated the glamour that participation could bring – and so did Peter Wheeler. In 1986, the factory-backed 420SEAC proved a dominant force in national competition before being banned on homologation grounds, when the authorities questioned production numbers.
In 1988, Wheeler got round that by creating a brand new race car and his own series for them to race in. At the heart of the Tuscan Challenge racer was TVR Power’s 4.5-litre version of the Rover V8, pumping out 350bhp. The first cars were offered at half-price – £16,000 – so long as they competed in at least six rounds of the 12-race series. If they didn’t, the owner had to pay the other £16,000 at the end of it.
The racing proved massively popular, and was televised in the UK. Gerry Marshall was a high-profile (and successful) entrant, while Octane’s Mark Hales won back-to-back championships. Wheeler was proud of what he’d achieved with the Tuscan Challenge, admitting that the secret of its success was the cars’ excess of power and lack of grip.
There was supposed to be a production version of the Tuscan Challenge car, and roadgoing prototypes were very pretty indeed. But those plans fell away as TVR concentrated on the S models, before developing the Griffith and Chimaera. So the Challenge car never entered production – yet it’s still a hugely important part of TVR history.
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.