TVR was founded in 1947 by Trevor Wilkinson, who used three consonants of his first name for the company name.  The first car was built in 1949.  In 1953 the concept of glass reinforced plastic bodywork over a tubular steel backbone chassis was born, which is continued to this day.  In the early years, a wide range of engines was used. TVR survived the car kit era, countless management upheavals and a major fire to become a respected manufacturer.  The MkI lasted until 1960, followed by the MkII (1960-62) and MkIII (1960-63).  Then came the Griffith 200 (1964) and 400 (1965), followed by the 200-V8 (1966), Tuscan SE and Vixen 1600 (1967), Vixen S2 (1968), Tuscan V6 (1969) 1600 M (1972-73), 2500 (1970-73), and 2500 M and 3000 M (1972).
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The Turbo appeared in 1975 and the Taimar in 1976.  Beautifully finished glass-fibre-bodied two-seaters, modern TVRs are elegant, fast and reliable.  Ford V6 engines were used with or without turbocharger and the 1979 Turbo Convertible could attain 130 mph.


For a  while TVR was the third largest specialized sports car manufacturer of the world.  A diverse range of coupes and convertibles are offered, most using an in-house straight 6 cylinder engine design, others an in-house V8.  These cars were built from sturdy tubular steel frames, cloaked in aggressive (and sometimes bizarre) body designs.

The life of TVR can be divided into four eras, based on who owned the company:

-1947 - 1965: Trevor Wilkinson
-1965 - 1981: Martin Lilley
-1981 - 2004: Peter Wheeler
-2004 - 2007: Nikolai Smolenski

In July 2004, 24 year old Russian, Nikolai Smolenski, bought 100% of the company from its owner Peter Wheeler, for about £15 million.


By December 2006, it emerged that Smolenski had split TVR into a number of different companies;

  • Brand and intellectual property rights had been transferred to a core Smolenski company
  • TVR Motors - held the licence to the brands and intellectual property in the UK, as well as sales and marketing of the brand
  • TVR Power - the parts and spares business had been sold to a management buyout
  • Blackpool Automotive - the factory and manufacturing assets

On 13 December, Smolenski and production director Mike Penny resigned as directors of Blackpool Automotive, being replaced by Smolenski UK personal assistant Roger Billinghurst and 25 year old Austrian Angelco Stamenkov.  By 24 December Blackpool Automotive was in administration.  Administrators are now seeking legal clarification on the ownership of certain assets, including the brand and intellectual property, to see what assets the company has and who should pay the redundancy notices of the remaining 200 workers.

On 22 February 2007 it was revealed that Smolenski was once again the owner of the company after being the highest bidder.  On 28 February 2007, less than one week after reacquiring TVR, he has reportedly announced plans to sell the company to Adam Burdette and Jean Michel Santacreu, who intend to export TVRs to the United States market.  On 08 October 2007 it was found that Smolenski was still in control of the company and was hoping to restart production, with a target of 2,000 units to be sold in 2008.

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