Well, it’s been a while since the last update and apologies for that – time flies when you’re having fun, as they say, and we’ve been spectacularly busy on all aspects of the development process and production logistics. There are some major announcements on these fronts which we’ll be able to share (and really look forward to sharing!) with you early in the new year, and in the meantime we thought you’d like to hear a bit about some of the exciting stuff we’ve been up to.
Looking great! It’s certainly a long process though — there is so much devil in the detail, so much work involved in getting everything to work together properly, to proper modern day standards of fit finish and aero, not to say legislative requirement, while at the same time doing proper justice (in all respects) to TVR’s lineage and DNA. Hundreds of iterations in, we are at the point where we have a number of final concepts differing now only in relatively small detail, with only a few decisions left to be made. Suffice to say we’re pretty happy with where we are! Incidentally, it may be interesting to know that while we have been using the very latest state of the art CAD software, in parallel we have been working with ‘old fashioned’ physical seating bucks and scale clay models – in fact far from old fashioned, as even the most modern (read young!) designer will readily confirm that it’s impossible to get the full impact and experience of a physical object via a virtual experience, no matter how good the CAD software is.
One of the great advantages when using the Gordon Murray iStream technology is that the body design can be finalised much later than that of a traditionally ‘stamped’ car. The body is essentially non-structural and – provided we don’t impinge on the structural hard points (God forbid – Gordon’s not one for compromise I’m happy to say!) – it can be finally finessed in tandem with the rest of the car.
Speaking of the chassis, you may be aware that Gordon Murray announced at the Tokyo Motor show last month (November 2015) the introduction of iStream Carbon. I guess you may be wondering whether this amazing, exciting new technology will be available as an option on the new TVR… well the good news is that IT WILL and (in line with our promises that early adopters would be treated exceptionally well) it is scheduled to be included as a NO COST option on the LE car!
In terms of timing, we have received a number of enquiries regarding delivery slots and general production timing. In order to be able to tell you when the first cars are going to be delivered, and therefore your place in the queue, there are a number of things that need to be determined. In our next update we will announce the factory location. This has been something we have spent a lot of time on recently. There are a number of important considerations for TVR when deciding where the new home should be. It wasn’t a decision to be taken lightly – we didn’t want the location chosen simply because we could build a large shed with grant money. We wanted it to be a statement of our future intent, a place our customers would want to visit, and most of all somewhere all of us associated with TVR – the whole community – can rightly be proud to call TVR’s home. We are very close to achieving that milestone in our plan – to make TVR the coolest, hardest-performing hand-built British sports car once more. This time though, it won’t just be designed and built with passion, it’ll be engineered to perform the way no other TVR has done to date. It will be class-leading, mainly because it will define its own class, as TVR has always done and you’d need to spend £1/4 million to find a worthy opponent. A Sagaris wouldn’t even see which way it went. (Speaking as an adoring Sag owner, I hope that that excites you just as much as it does me!)
Once we have announced the factory location together with some other car specifics regarding the car such as price, minimum performance details, and some further details on the styling/packaging, that will also be the point at which we propose to announce the closing of the order book for the LE cars. This announcement will come in the first half of 2016. Once that announcement is made, we will be confirming orders that have already been placed using our deposit system (I want one of those monsters!) and will be able confirm relative positions in the queue.
Steve Cropley from Autocar was present when we fired up an early version of one of our V8 engines at Cosworth’s Northampton facility – see it here: Fire up the Cossie. This was the first official showing of the engine, and the first time we had started the unit that will form the initial race car test mule. Clearly there is a lot of work still to do but we’re really pleased with the progress particularly as some of the development work on this unit has flowed back into the road car design, resulting in an expectation of a further additional increase in power for the LE car. The dyno simulated a lap of Le Mans and has the ability to simulate the effect of topography and gear change, and while the unit was not running with either our race or road transmission set up, and the correct aero for the car could not be correctly simulated (’cos we haven’t finished it yet ;0) – the results were very respectable, nonetheless. And we broke the dyno! However, our focus is very much on the road car at the moment and importantly, I am pleased to report that the power and torque figures and delivery characteristics are very much on target.
The mule car has been munching the miles over the last few months, testing the durability of the engine and drive-train combo. Next step is to combine the complete power train with our chassis into a mule for further testing – given the body is independent of the chassis and running gear, perhaps something familiar could be seen around the Northampton area soon… (…and yes, before you say it, with wheels, chassis, engine, small stickers etc!)
So in essence, you can expect an update on the following early in 2016:
- Production – Factory location, ancillary benefits & timing; LE car order book closing details; order confirmations and relative queue positions
- Body Styling – further detail of the final design/packaging
- Performance – power and torque figures and minimum production deliverables for top speed and acceleration, and kerb weight
- Pricing – LE car pricing confirmation
- Options – confirmation of basic options including no-cost carbon LE
Well, that’s about it for the moment and I’d like to finish off by thanking you for your incredible support during 2015, and wishing you a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year from all of us at TVR.
Exciting times now, and ahead!
Chairman, TVR Manufacturing Ltd