Rare Rides: The 1977 TVR 2500M, Continuing a Theme (Part I)
Recently, Rare Rides featured its first-ever TVR, a wedge from the decade or so where all of TVR’s offerings were variations on the same doorstop shape. The 2500M predated wedge design and thus maintained a more traditional British roadster shape. In Part I of this two-part series, we’ll cover the humble beginnings of TVR’s M Series cars.
Leading into the 1970s, TVR suffered from a lean model lineup. The company offered just two models: An entry-level Vixen powered by inline-four and six-cylinder engines and, for customers desiring more power, there were V6 and V8 coupes nearly identical to the Vixen called Tuscan.
Realizing both cars needed replacement, the company’s management set to work on a new offering. Sort of. The format of the new TVR would be the same as all the others: Front-engine, rear-drive, and in either roadster or coupe format. Using fiberglass and a body-on-frame construction, the new car shared its chassis with the outgoing Vixen and Tuscan. Body shells were reworked and lengthened in profile compared to the stumpy outgoing designs.
The new “M Series” entered production in 1972. First of the bunch was the 2500M, which utilized a 2.5-liter inline-six borrowed from Triumph. It was joined at various times by the 1600M (Ford Kent 1.6 I4, from Fiesta) and the 3000M (Ford Essex 3.0 V6). Between 1972 and 1979, TVR made many changes, adjustments, and variations to its builds. Often, M Series cars were completed with whichever components fell easily to hand, so among the same series of cars mechanical and trim components could vary. Late in production there was also a 3000S — similar to a 3000M, but available only in convertible form. More on that next time.
Given the importance of the United States to TVR’s balance sheet, the choice to use a Triumph inline-six for the 2500M was an easy one. That engine came straight from the TR6, and had already been certified under U.S. emissions regulations. Though the 2500M remained on sale in the U.S. market, it was dropped in the UK by 1973 as the V6 3000M had much better performance. Due to the design of the 2500M, the TR6 engine would overheat at high revs or in traffic situations. Vents along the fenders were supposed to help cool the engine, but proved ineffective. So TVR said “Eh, whatever,” and eliminated them.
Despite being a bit hot under the collar, the fortunes of TVR’s M were going fairly well. But semi-smooth sailing didn’t last long. In Part II, we’ll learn about the variety of factors which converged from multiple angles to end the M Series cars.
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