There are a lot of sports car manufacturers in the world. However, with the popularity of race car driving on the rise, we can only expect more brands to make their way into the market. However, sport cars are synonymous with only a handful of brands that has been delivering prestigious design and excellent performance, and one of them is TVR, considered as the third-largest sports car manufacturer in the world.
This British company was founded under the name Trevcar Motors by Trevor Wilkinson in 1947. Their first car was built in 1949, but it was in 1953 when they introduced their concept of a fibre-reinforced plastic body over a tubular backbone chassis, which is still used in their cars to this day. The company then changed their name to TVR a year after.
British sports cars usually have engine sizes limited within two litres and produced less than 100 bhp. With TVR, its cars were produced with 4-cylinder engines from BMC, Ford, or Coventry Climax, while the performance cars were treated with Shorrock Chargers. With the help of American Ray Saidel, the first production run was in 1957. Saidel also helped design the car Jomel, taken from the names of his son John and daughter Margaret. The popularity of the model was stated when production did not meet the number of orders demanding their model. This forced TVR to seek financial backing elsewhere.
The end of 1958 saw the company change its name yet again to Layton Sports Car Ltd., but it was only done due to the change in financial backers and did not have any effect on the company name. Despite the change, however, production was still in disorder which led Saidel to relinquish his dealership. Still, the company persevered as it released Grantura in early 1959. With the help of Grantura Engineering supplying components and body shells for TVR, the company produced a car that realises their concept of using attractive fibreglass based on tubular backbone chassis for its car. A variation of the Grantura was also conceived in the early '60s when American motor dealer Jack Griffith installed a 4.7L from his AC Cobra into the Grantura.
The company experienced financial constraints for the second time during 1965, in the middle of producing V8 Griffith, before it has been purchased by Martin Lilley, who was also a shareholder of Grantura Engineering. The company's name was reverted back to TVR Engineering which promised higher levels of finish and quality control, which brought about the creation of the Tuscan and the Vixen series. Both products were responsible in making TVR a world-class sports car manufacturer.
In 2004, TVR was purchased by 24-year-old Russian Nikolai Smolenski. His tenure has been a difficult one for the company to endure. His plans to transfer assembly and production in Italy angered many employees. Even TVR owners joined in protest by parading their cars in Central London, dubbed as the London Thunder. Smolenski also directed the division of TVR into different parts; TVR Motors, Blackpool Automotive, and TVR Power. Strangely enough, Smolenski resigned as director of TVR in December 2006, only to return in February 2007. After much consideration, Smolenski decided to sell the company to Adam Burdette and Jean Michel Santacreu the same month.
Although mired with poor management, TVR will soon recover from its mishap and return to form. After all, the company is not one of the most well-known sports car manufacturers in the whole world for nothing.
Original Authors: Manny
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 10/06/2008