1963 TVR Grantura Mk III
There is the obscure, and then there is the arcane. When the revival of TVR was announced, with a grand touring car based on Gordon Murray’s iStream manufacturing technology, it is likely that more contemporary car enthusiasts were familiar with Murray than with TVR. Even most car enthusiasts have never heard of the marque. TVR is a specialist British sports-car maker that’s been around since the early 1950s. Over the years they’ve managed to produce a few thousand fiberglass-bodied cars with quirky styling, confusing names, and a passionate following despite repeated bankruptcies and numerous changes of management and ownership. Founder Trevor Wilkinson left the company in the mid 1960s, though the company retained its name, based on the letters of his first name.
After being chopped up and spread around by owner Nikolay Smolensky in 2006, TVR appeared to be dead in the water. By then, production had dwindled from a dozen vehicles per week to just a few and the company seemed more doomed than usual. Eventually you just stopped hearing about it, unless you found yourself engrossed in a discussion about the craziest cars in history.
Smolensky sold TVR in 2013 to — get this — TVR Automotive Ltd., a company helmed by the U.K.’s Les Edgar and John Chasey, to minimal fanfare. However, our interest was piqued earlier this year when news arose of a new car in development with Gordon Murray and Cosworth. We weren’t alone — the model “ sold out” immediately upon its announcement. Now the company is letting us know where and when we can first lay our eyeballs upon it.
The reborn sportscar maker TVR says it has “sold out” of its first model since shuttering in 2006, Autocar is reporting. Reportedly, none of the prospective owners, who have deposited £5,000 ($7,700 USD), have seen pictures of the new car.
The new model will be a V8-powered sportscar designed by Gordon Murray, with engine development from Cosworth and production by humans, rather than unicorns. The company said it took 250 deposits six weeks after it began accepting them in July.
You may find the idea that relatively obscure British sports car, with fewer than 16,000 made, could be the most inspirational or influential sports car ever a bit far-fetched, but I think a compelling argument can be made in the favor of the Lotus Elan. Yes, there were two seaters going back to the MG TC and even before that there were cars like the the Jaguar SS100. In many people’s minds the MGB defined 1960s era two seat roadsters, but was the B that much different from the Austin Healeys, the MGA, and the Jaguar XKs? An argument could be made that the Elan was the first modern sports car (putting aside the E Type Jaguar for the sake of argument) and it was introduced almost simultaneously with the MGB. Its contemporaries from MG and Triumph were primitive cars compared to the Elan.
Pioneering designer Gordon Murray, the man who gave the world the McLaren F1, announced on his blog that his T.25 and T.27 urban concept cars have been sold by Gordon Murray Design to an as yet unnamed manufacturer, to go into production and on sale in 2016. “The T.25 and T.27 concept has now been sold to a customer and with a following wind a lot more drivers should be able to enjoy the centre drive experience in 2016!,” Murray said. The tiny T. cars use a 1+2 configuration, with space for the driver and two passengers. The driver sits centrally with the two passengers flanking the driver in the back. The T.25 will be powered by a modified 660cc 51 HP 3 cylinder sourced from Daimler’s smart division. The T.27 is the same car, only battery electric. The very small cars were designed to be built with Murray’s unique iStream manufacturing process.
When asked by thenational.ae if he preferred to drive his McLaren F1 or Mclaren-Mercedes SLR to work everyday, the man who designed both legendary hypercars, Gordon Murray demurs:
I wouldn’t say the SLR is quite an everyday car but I certainly like to drive it to work. But for me, despite all those cars and my single-seater Rocket [a car he privately designed], it’s the [eight year-old Smart Roadster] I’m most taken with. For one, it’s a great-looking car. It has a power roof, heated seats and air con, and it all weighs just 830kg. In fact, it’s got all you’d want from a car. It nips around corners and it’s fun to drive.
So, other than proving that Murray has exquisite taste (I’d kill you all for a Brabus Smart Roadster Coupe), what’s the point? That, having been there and done that in the world of high performance, Murray’s taking on a less obviously sexy but ultimately significant project that first occurred to him in a traffic jam back in 1993: the T.25 and T.27 city cars. We’ve written about Murray’s T.25 before, but the real news today is the release of specs for the T.27, an all-electric version of the tiny three-seater. And yes, it weighs 1,500 lbs on the nose (including batteries), and ekes 100 miles of range out of just 12 kWh. That beats the efficiency of competitors like the Smart EV (by 29%), the Mitsubishi iMiEV (by 36%) and MINI E (by 86%). So, how does it do it?
What happens when the man behind the McLaren F1 decides to chuck in the go-fast nonsense and devote his considerable energies towards developing a “revolutionary” city car? You’re looking at it. Autocar caught this first image of Gordon Murray‘s three-seat T.25 testing in the UK, and from the looks of it, all the talk of this car creating a new segment wasn’t just talk. We knew it was going to be small, but my god is it ever small. And, as Autocar reports, this first image of the T.25’s near-production look shows off one of its most distinctive features:
Our exclusive photograph shows the car’s compact dimensions and reveals the revolutionary single door for the first time. It swings upwards and forwards to allow cabin access for all three occupants.
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- ToolGuy "At risk of oversimplification, a heat pump takes ambient air, compresses it, and then uses the condenser’s heat to warm up the air it just grabbed from outside."• This description seems fairly dramatically wrong to me.
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- El scotto My iPhone gets too hot while using the wireless charging in my BMW. One more line on why someone is a dumbazz list?
- Buickman yeah, get Ron Fellows each time I get a Vette. screw Caddy.