Rare Rides: The 1977 TVR 2500M - Regulatory Mishaps (Part II)

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

In Part I of the TVR M Series story, we covered the new model range TVR developed based upon its dual core principles of lightness and roadster. And while things progressed without major issue for the first few model years, the latter half of the M’s life was fraught with adversity, mishaps, and a case of oversharing. Prepare for government intervention!

With TVR’s small budget, there was little the company could do to up the ante of the M cars (like it had done in its other markets) and simultaneously comply with U.S. emissions regulations. The only version sold in North America was the 2500M; performance was not a strong suit, despite its sporty looks. Top speed was limited to 109 miles per hour, and acceleration to 60 mph took a sedate 9.3 seconds. The model’s Zenith carburetors allowed 106 horsepower to escape from the engine, doled out via four-speed manual. The absolute end of the 2500M came in 1977, as by that time Triumph had moved on to its new TR7 model and stopped producing the 2.5-liter engine for the TR6.

TVR needed a solution, and quick. The company hired an American engineering firm to design modifications to the Ford Essex V6 and make the 3000M U.S. emissions compliant. Said engineers were successful, and road legal V6 3000Ms started arriving in small numbers for 1978.

As management cleared one hurdle in the U.S., another appeared: TVR’s primary American importer called it quits with little warning. The company had to form a new entity to import models for the remainder of 1979, and TVR Sports Cars Inc. replaced TVR Cars of America. With paperwork in order and new company formed, around 20 3000S models arrived on U.S. shores, marked as emissions compliant. Huzzah!

Alas, those cars didn’t actually have their emissions kits installed — they were simply mismarked. The importer “encouraged” each dealer to buy at least two 3000S examples which could not be sold legally. One dealer explained the issue to a customer who was checking out a 3000S. Said customer happened to work for the U.S. government in an emissions and regulatory sort of way, and quickly returned to his office to report TVR’s violation. All 3000S cars were impounded. Stored outside and subject to vandalism, the convertibles were eventually deported out of the country and sent back to the UK. There, they were reconditioned and sold in Germany at a loss. However, by then the wedge-shaped Tasmin was ready, and TVR put the latter, sordid tale of the M Series cars behind it. After such a considerable expense at the end of the M’s life cycle, the company could afford to do little else.

Today’s festive BRG and yellow 2500M is located in North Carolina. With 10,000 miles and in very clean condition, it asks $21,900.

[Images: seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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2 of 5 comments
  • Redapple2 34 yr in Michigan salt?
  • Mike-NB2 Zero. Not interested at all. I often don't have my phone with me, and if I do, I completely ignore it. Unless it were to catch fire, of course. But I'm old, so that has to be taken into account too.
  • Urlik It’s only important to me for navigation. OEM’s do Nav all wrong and charge for the privilege. While once they charged big money for map updates, they charge subscriptions for the privilege of a worse Nav than you have on your phone.The other stuff mirroring brings is mere gravy.
  • Rna65689660 Zero interest
  • Redapple2 1- bad quality reputation and dealer horror stories make a VW purchase not happening.2- 1.5 turbo in my driveway is something I d be leery of every hour of ownership.