For fifty years, TVR built quirky sports cars, by hand, in Blackpool, England. Known for their distinctive (and occasionally odd) styling, TVRs were among the most polarizing boutique sports cars ever built.
Fans of the marque loved its cars for the unique look and personality each TVR had, while critics panned them for spotty build quality and razor’s edge handling. TVR’s finest hour probably came at the hands of Peter Wheeler, who owned the company from 1984 until 2004.
Under Wheeler’s ownership, the brand moved from V-6 engines back into V-8s, and penned such memorable designs as the Chimaera, Griffith, Cerbera, Tuscan, Tamora and Sagaris.
In 2004, Wheeler sold the company to a young Russian businessman, Nikolai Smolenski. Two years later, a victim of plummeting sales, TVR laid off some 300 Blackpool factory workers, and by 2007 TVR was split up into two holding companies and a parts distribution business.
Since then, there have been numerous attempts to restart the company and resume production, but none have amounted to anything other than hype. Thanks to a recently launched Facebook page, however, rumors of a TVR rebirth are once again circulating.
Here’s what we know: Nikolai Smolenski still owns the TVR brand, as well as any remaining assets. The TVR Facebook page, which uses the latest TVR logo, now includes a link to the “new” TVR website.
Then things take a turn from strange to stranger. The TVR website is for TVR GmbH, located in Vienna, Austria. TVR GmbH is offering to upgrade existing TVR Griffith car to TVR Sagaris models, and it will even build “new” Sagaris models from old Griffiths for aspiring TVR owners.
Seems like an Austrian dealer, handling conversions and upgrades with or without factory approval, right? There may be even more to it than that.
TVR GmbH will also build new Sagaris, Tuscan Convertible, Tuscan Mk II, Cerbera, Chimera and Griffith models to individual customer specification, which sounds to us like TVR may be back in the business of building cars, albeit from a new location.
Strangely silent in all of this is Nickolai Smolenski, which has us believing that the latest chapter in TVR’s weird history is still a long way from over.