1978 TVR 2500M
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With an experienced team and a lot of data.
TVR is a company with an interesting and at times turbulent history. The name comes from the consonants in the first name of the founder Trevor Wilkinson, and during the 1950s and early 1960s the small Blackpool-based company busied itself primarily constructing lightweight race specials with tube chassis and fiberglass bodies, typicall with MG and Ford Kent cross-flow four-cylinder power underneath.
With the sale of the company to Martin Lilley in 1965, TVR enjoyed greater prosperity and stability, concentrating on the production Vixen model (powered by a variety of engines from Ford Kent, MG and Triumph fours to a Triumph six), while independent importer Jack Griffith executed the Ford V-8-powered Griffith 200 and 400. These became known as the Tuscan when Griffith’s operation ceased. The 2500M was by far the most successful model of the Lilley era with most going to the US via importer Gerry Sagerman.
The 2500M followed the basic TVR formula of a fiberglass body over a tube frame with various large manufacturer parts bin items making up most of the front suspension while the rear wishbone independent suspension was a TVR design. Power was from the 2.5-liter straight six that ordinarily lived under the hood of the Triumph TR6. Since the 2500M was a bit lighter than the Triumph, performance was slightly better, although the TVR used the slightly emissions-choked US-spec TR6 motor, even in UK-market cars.
TVR was always at the mercy of other manufacturers for its engines and when the TR6 ended production in 1976, the writing was on the wall, at least for TVRs with that specific engine. When TVR exhausted its supply of TR6 engines in 1977, a switch was made to a 3.0-liter Ford Essex V-6, which was altogether a better powerplant. Around the same time, the car got the opening glass hatchback that it always should have had and it became known as the Taimar.
TVRs appeal to those enthusiasts with a taste for something different and the patience to figure out the source of the bits that make up their car. They are also wonderful to drive, with light steering and a sharp responsiveness to every input. The Triumph engine also makes a particularly pleasing noise. Bodies obviously don’t rust, but the tube frames do. It’s the only major headache in TVR ownership, but it can be a big and expensive one and there are minor headaches as well. This was a car built by hand in small numbers in 1970s Britain, so your experiences with individual cars’ build quality may vary.