Trevor Wilkinson leaves school at 14 years of age, and joins a local garage as apprentice mechanic. His interest in car making grows from here.
Wilkinson sets up on his own, creating Trevcar Motors after acquiring an old wheelwright’s shop. He undertakes many engineering projects…
TVR IS BORN
…then forms TVR Engineering and builds his first special. The TVR name? Wilkinson was persuaded not to call his cars Trevor. Thankfully.
A SMALL SERIES
The first TVR isn’t completed until 1949, and it takes a further two years to build the next two cars. They use Ford, Morris and bumper car parts.
Wilkinson designs a new special, which is conceived for series production. It goes on sale in kit form or as a fully built vehicle.
Six prototype TVR coupés are sold, following on from a run of Austin A40-engined ‘Sports Saloons’ that establish TVR’s future DNA in 1954.
The Mark I is put into series production, but not quickly enough. Wilkinson is forced to dissolve TVR, forming Layton Sports Cars.
More financial troubles force a second dissolution. TVR Cars Ltd is formed just in time to get the Grantura Mark IIA into production.
Trevor Wilkinson loses overall control and is forced to leave; Grantura Engineering will now build TVR sports cars, starting with the Grantura Mark III.
TVR GOES V8
Deliveries begin of modified Grantura shells to the USA for converting into Griffith 200 models, available with 195 or 271bhp. A queue develops.
MANX TAIL ARRIVES
The modern-looking TVR arrives as the Grantura 1800S gets a ‘Manx’ tail. It’s a look that remains with TVR until the end of the Taimar in 1979.
Trident prototype is unveiled, but lost following the collapse of Grantura Engineering. Arthur and Martin Lilley take over to form TVR Engineering.
NEW MODEL ARMY
Four-cylinder Vixen and V8-powered Tuscan arrive. Tina prototype is shown at the London Motor Show, but doesn’t make it to production.
The wide-bodied TVR Tuscan V8 SE arrives and, although its body is not used elsewhere, it loosely forms the basis of the 1971 M series.
TVR moves its assembly facilities from the original Hoo Hill estate in Layton to the much larger Bristol Avenue site in Cleveleys.
TVR SM or Zante prototype shown at London Motor Show. Neat wedge design pre-dates the Tasmin by eight years. There’s no money to build it.
Ford/Triumph-powered M series arrives; company expands and follows a single-model policy following the death of the V8 in 1970.
The Bristol Avenue factory endures a three-month closure following a fire in January. Broadspeed-developed Turbo unveiled.
TVR HATCHES OUT
Taimar version debuts with an opening rear hatchback. Name is derived from the merging of the words ‘tailgate’ and ‘Martin’ (as in Lilley).
TOPLESS AT LAST
TVR’s first series-production open-topped car arrives in the form of the 3000S. It immediately outsells its coupé siblings.
END OF THE TAIMAR
The last of the M series-based cars is built, seemingly for good, with the company pursuing an exciting higher-profit future.
THIN END OF WEDGE
A major change in direction as the wedge-shaped Tamsin is unveiled. Buyers baulk and sales plummet, causing another financial crisis.
A NEW DIRECTOR
Peter Wheeler assumes control of TVR and promises a radical overhaul. Tasmin Plus 2 and Convertible extend the range and widen appeal.
Tasmin Turbo meets with a lukewarm reception, and is cancelled. Long-wheelbase Series 2 Tasmin does little to improve sales.
THE V8s ARE BACK
Rover V8 power arrives at TVR as the Tasmin receives its new engine. Power and performance receive a massive boost – as do sales.
Three-box 420 Saloon is unveiled at the Birmingham Motor Show in prototype form. Sensibly, this oddity doesn’t go into production.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
TVR revisits its old 3000S and reintroduces the ’70s-style open-top sports car, with light modification. It leads to a change in direction.
The Tasmin’s development continues apace, and the 400SE arrives with smoothed-off corners. Brutish Tuscan Challenge racer is unveiled.
TASMIN’S FINAL FLING
The SE-bodied wedge has its last hurrah, and is fitted with the 450SEAC’s engine. First Tuscan Challenge series is won by Jeff Allem.
Peter Wheeler shows his hand by revealing the Griffith in prototype form at the Birmingham Motor Show. It causes a sensation.
OUT ON A HIGH
The ex-Rover 3.9-litre V8 engine is installed in the TVR S body to create the V8S. Performance finally matches the looks.
THE FUTURE ARRIVES First customer deliveries of the Griffith, and everyone’s left raving. 4.0- and 4.3-litre versions set new performance and value benchmarks.
A BIGGER BROTHER
The Chimaera follows. It’s originally styled at the same time as the Griffith, and modified by Wheeler’s dog Ned. Pure Griffith underneath.
The ultimate 5.0-litre, 340bhp incarnation of the ex-Rover V8 is rolled out. It turns Griffith and Chimaera into serious performance cars.
THE FASTEST YET
AJP V8-powered Cerbera goes on sale, and immediately redefines bangs-for-your-bucks. Out-accelerates a Porsche 911 Turbo with ease.
The 3.6-litre Speed Six is shown in prototype form in the Cerbera and Griffith.Monstrous Speed 12 promises to outdrag the McLaren F1.
The Cerbera Speed Six enters production, making for the first six- and eight-cylinder TVR model since the Tasmin. It’s a very different animal.
CERB’ GOES BALLISTIC
The AJP V8 engine is expanded to 4.5 litres and 450bhp. Performance goes stratospheric, with a claimed maximum speed of 185mph.
TUSCAN, TAKE THREE
The third car to bear the Tuscan name is introduced. Like its forebears, this one is potent – 180mph maximum speed. Targa or coupé offered.
Tuscan T440R revealed – longer wheelbase, more power and a claimed 200mph max. It’s the first double-ton TVR since the Speed 12.
The Chimaera and Griffith are replaced by the Tamora and T350, the latter offered with a targa roof or in coupé form. Both cost less than £40,000.
BEGINNING OF THE END
Nikolai Smolenski takes control of TVR and immediately states that he wishes TVR to remain a British company.
THE BEST YET
The 2004 Sagaris is a well- developed supercar, while its cousin, the 580bhp Typhon, is completely bonkers. They are the last new TVRs.
Production ends at Bristol Avenue, and the company is split into a number of divisions. Plans to move TVR production crumble.
TVR TO RETURN?
Smolenski still owns TVR, and has been in discussion with a number of parties about getting the cars into production again…
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.