Niche British sports car manufacturer TVR is known for its wild, off-the-wall designs and the formidable nature of its cars when pushed to their limits. Sadly, Peter Wheeler, the man who was instrumental in building the brand for over two decades has passed away at the age of 64, following a short illness.

Wheeler's reign at the helm of TVR for 23 years was the longest period any one individual continuously ran the company. Taking ownership in 1981, Wheeler was instrumental in the design and marketing of several famed TVR models, including the cars that arguably cemented the company’s brand identity as a passionate sports car manufacturer. Under his ownership, Wheeler oversaw construction of the Griffith, Chimeera, Cerbera and the mighty Sagaris.

Wheeler was also present for the construction of TVR's Cerbera Speed 12, a vehicle he described as too powerful for the road and thus decided against putting it into serious production - probably a good thing considering that more tame TVR's are already a handful to drive while the Cerbera boasted a top speed of 240mph and close to 1,000hp (746kW) from its V12 engine.

Currently, TVR is owned by 29-year old Russian banker Nikolai Smolensky, who reportedly bought the company from Wheeler for close to £15 million back in 2004. Despite the sale being half-a-decade ago, Wheeler's influence is still seen throughout the company, especially in its eye-catching Sagaris model that Wheeler, a chemical engineer by trade, helped to design.

Wheeler's legacy will continue to live on through TVR with news emerging last year that the troubled automaker will be coming out with a revised Sagaris and dialing up production, following years of economic turbulence following Smolenski's takeover.

The news comes almost exactly a year after TVR founder Trevor Wilkinson passed away.