HOME > LOT 187 - 1973 TVR 1600M/3000M project

LOT 187 - 1973 TVR 1600M/3000M project

LOT 187 - 1973 TVR 1600M/3000M project

  • Virtually complete
  • Very good body
  • Solid chassis
  • A host of new parts
  • Apparently rebuilt engine, gearbox and differential
  • An excellent opportunity to restore a rare machine to your preferred specification
  • Estimated at £5,000 to £9,000

SOLD for £4,804


“Beautifully finished, eye-catchingly attractive, built for long life (likely to be smart and solid when steel competitors are heaps of rust) and ideal for the DIY enthusiast this sports car of character is reasonably priced: the 1600M starts at £2,896 and the 3000M at £3,256.” MotorSport, October 1975

It’s almost like MotorSport have been stalking us…

When most of us think of TVR, we tend to bring to mind the funky plastic bodied sports cars of the nineties with mad interiors, out there styling, photoreactive paint jobs and the kind of face bending acceleration that could leave you unable to unlock your smart phone.

For attention seekers hankering after one hundred or so decibels of hairy chested drama, you’d be hard pressed to beat these gruff road warriors from Blackpool. However, those in the know would argue that the roots of TVR betray more nuanced ambitions than the basic search for macho power and mucho speed.

When Trevor Wilkinson established Trevcar Motors in Blackpool back in 1949, TVR was more about taking the best aspects of British motoring and creating their vision of the ultimate road going race car. The first TiV produced in any sort of numbers (though that is very much a relative term) was the Grantura which moved through no less than six (or possibly seven, the naming system was a little confusing) variants, being joined by its big engined Griffith and Tuscan brothers before being replaced by the Vixen in 1967.

While TVR’s of the early to mid-1960s tended to utilise BMC drive trains (big ol’ Ford V8 engines aside), they mirrored the British conglomerate’s slow and painful demise by phasing out their engines and gearboxes in favour of Uncle Henry’s products as they moved towards and into the 1970s; the majority of Vixens were hence powered by Ford’s seminal ‘Kent’ 1600 four-cylinder crossflow engine. Ironically Ford’s ‘Essex’ V6 found in the concurrent Tuscan V6 did not comply with the USA’s stringent emissions regulations so the Stromberg carburetted 2,500cc Triumph engine, as seen in the US-only TR250, was pressed into service primarily to give TVR access to this lucrative market and a good number left the Hoo Hill factory with this straight six unit under the bonnet. The gearbox utilised in each version was dictated by the engine fitted, though the lack of an independently sprung rear end in the Blue Oval’s range saw TVR select Triumph’s robust differential, albeit allied to a somewhat more sophisticated suspension system than that of say a TR. No offence and all that.

During this five year period (1967 to 1972), TVR were spinning plates with no fewer than seven distinct models utilising engines of five different capacities from 1.3 to 4.7 litres in four configurations (straight four, straight six, V6 and V8) from three different manufacturers (if you count Ford Europe and Ford USA separately). All this ‘tailoring’ of its model range produced a grand total of just 1,185 cars. As they had with the later Granturas (please see Lot 182) for the most part TVR got around this logistical Rubik’s Cube by pretty much standardising everything else so that other than the engine and ‘box, there was virtually no difference between an ‘insurance special’ Vixen 1300 and a fire breathing Cobra powered Tuscan V8. Despite this streamlining there was not much time left to develop the Vixen though it did become progressively more refined and practical, the most significant single improvement coming with the S2 when it was treated to a longer 90” wheelbase chassis which crucially was now bolted rather than boded to the body. Ease of repair (and nowadays restoration, see below) was a significant win but larger doors giving easier access to a more capacious cockpit were more immediately appreciated.

In 1971, the multi-model Vixen/Tuscan range gave way to just three (at least for the first few years) M Series variants that were to see TVR through the 1970s. These were identified by the engine fitted, all of which were carried over from the outgoing machines; the 1600M and 3000M utilised Ford’s 1600 straight four and 3 litre V6 respectively and these bracketed the 2.5 litre straight six Triumph engined (you guessed it) 2500M. Power ranged from the GT specification four cylinder’s 84 bhp, via Triumphs carburettor fed six at 105 right up to the V6’s muscular 142 bhp. Engines were all set well back in the chassis’ (giving what we now term a ‘front/mid-engined layout) and access to them and their roomy engine bays was aided by large, front hinged bonnets.

With a simpler product range and more settled specification, TVR could spend some development time on the chassis which was vastly improved relative to the Vixen’s. TVR stalwart, dealer and chassis guru Mike Bigland came up with a new version of the tried and tested tubular backbone, this time constructed out of round and square tubes in 14 and 16 gauge depending function. Not only was this markedly more rigid than earlier versions, it was usefully cheaper to construct.

Over this sat, saddle-like, the pretty fixed head fibreglass body whose looks could be traced back to the earliest Granturas. Its styling and interior were tweaked by The Boss, Martin Lilley and long-time TVR guy Joe Mleczek. In a case of history repeating itself, this was a task repeated some twenty years later by then Company Owner Peter Wheeler on the Chimaera, though in this instance he was ably assisted by his dog Ned who famously bit a chunk out of the front of the styling model, the result remaining on the final production cars…

The running gear was familiar TVR fare with bespoke wishbone independent suspension all round and coil springs over telescopic dampers. Saving development and tooling costs that could not be borne by a small, low volume manufacturer such as TVR, much of the rest of the M series’ components could be found on more mainstream machines. The brakes were 11” discs up front with 9” drums at the rear sourced from the Triumph TR range with the same manufacturer providing the front uprights and steering gear, though the ‘T’ design alloy wheels were specific to TVR. The myriad switches, dials, lights, door handles and so on were all mass produced for other car companies so not only is parts supply surprisingly good today but M Series owners can enjoy hours of fun playing ‘spot the source’.

The three models that initially made up the M Series tended to be phased in and out depending on factors such as prevailing fuel crises and the level of demand from the USA so, as with the Vixen era cars, the ease with which the Factory could fit any of the three engine options to the same basic car was a boon. Indeed, initially there were just two series of chassis numbers suffixed TM (Triumph, M Series) and FM (Ford, M Series), the latter being used for both the four and six cylinder cars.

This brings us to this particular M and our somewhat ambiguous listing headline. Acquired by the owner as part payment for some work they had caried out, it arrived in its current disassembled state and no history, though parts packaging with the car indicates it might have spent some time on Guernsey. Complete with a four cylinder ‘Kent’ engine the owner assumed the car was a 1600M but on receiving the V5C from the DVLA, he was surprised to see its engine capacity was stated as 2,994cc, the standard displacement of the ‘Essex’ V6 fitted to the 3000M. As with the Grantura project we sold a few months ago, the V5C simply states “TVR” and “Coupe” while as explained above, the chassis number 2633FM could apply to either a 1600 or 3000M model. The question is, is this a 3000M with a 1600 engine or a 1600M which at some stage was fitted with a 3 litre V6 and updated as such by the DVLA? Either way, this is a wonderful blank canvas on which a new owner can paint their choice of picture; 1600M or 3000M, road or race car?

At this stage your best bet is to have a trawl through the photo gallery or better still come and have a look at the TiV in rural Nottinghamshire; just contact us and we’ll set up a viewing. Clearly it is virtually completely disassembled so test drives are a bit of a reach but at least you can see exactly what you are getting; speaking of which, as far as we can see that is everything apart from the driver’s seat (not an issue if you are going racing), radiator and exhaust manifold. If you have any questions about parts present or otherwise and their condition, do just get in touch.

The body is in pretty good condition with very little cracking or crazing evident and where the paint has cracked and flaked off, for example on the bonnet, the body underneath appears to be crack free. There may well be a few localised repairs to do but generally speaking the fact that they were well-built in their day (certainly to a higher standard than contemporary Lotus’) has stood this TVR in good stead. Having no sunroof fitted is quite rare for a 1960s or 1970s TVR and a bonus if you want to go racing or just prefer, as we do, the looks of the standard un-holed roofline. The door hinges on both sides are showing some wear which does not help with their alignment though we’ve seen worse, mostly because we’ve seen Lotus Elans…

Generally the paint is pretty presentable in its un-polished state though unfortunately it does have a little micro-blistering along with a few chips and scrapes. A significant bonus is that where it has chipped we could identify just the colour coat plus two or maybe three primer/undercoats over the factory gelcoat so if wanted, it should be possible to refinish the TVR without spending huge amounts of time and/or money removing multiple layers of paint.  

The bespoke aluminium window frames and surrounds are in good order and what chrome there is (door handles, headlight surrounds etc.) could be improved with a polish.

The chassis appears to be sound with just a coating of surface rust and one small, not very elegant repair that should perhaps be redone. Other than that, it is ready for either blasting or dipping before refinishing; powder coating, painting, galvanising or even hot zinc spraying are all suitable options which should effectively futureproof the car.

Inside though it is missing its partner, the passenger seat looks as though it just needs a good clean. The cockpit carpet appears to be complete and in decent condition though it was tricky to get a thorough look at all of it given the body shell’s location. The load space is currently less well finished.

The fuel tank has some surface rust on its lower side but it seems to be solid and still holds some rather evil smelling old fuel.

Having successfully dodged the rain showers we spent a happy few hours in the workshop going through numerous boxes of parts, original and new, untouched and refurbished.

Though unfortunately there is no documentation to support this, the three major mechanical items (engine, gearbox and differential) appear to have been rebuilt. The engine is reputed to be in Formula Ford specification and it certainly sports the desirable and super-robust 711M block and a single twin choke Weber carburettor. Empty parts boxes indicate it has had new +.020 pistons fitted and it is currently wet sumped though there is also a dry sump pan with associated pumps and an aluminium oil tank. Also present are a new clutch, a pair of Weber 40 DCOE 32s with manifold, a non-chambered GT specification cylinder head with 32/38mm valves and a Kent Cams A2 camshaft. One new and one apparently used Lucas Electronic Ignition system plus a couple of distributers, HT leads, coil and a new distributer cap are also present along with a starter motor and alternator. Please note the engine stand is included in the sale.

There are two gearboxes with the TVR – an apparently rebuilt Escort Sport unit and a slightly oily non-sport version. The Triumph differential also looks to have been rebuilt as does the prop. shaft.

It appears that one front ‘corner’ (wishbones, upright, brakes etc.) has been partly refurbished while the other has sensibly been left intact, presumably for reference purposes. There is a used steering rack plus a new (or perhaps refurbished) one, still in its packaging. The rear suspension, driveshafts and brakes are complete and ready for restoration while there is a set of AVO adjustable shock absorbers with their associated springs and adjustable spring seats along with three apparently original spring/damper units. Catch tanks and pipework for the cooling system are present along with the wood dashboard and instruments in fair condition. Trimmed door panels in good condition are present along with the heated glass rear screen.

There is a large quantity of new parts from an apparently full set of ‘SuperFlex’ polyurethane suspension bushes, rear lights and spare lenses, spark plugs, trunnions, wheel bearings and ball joints to packets of new nuts and bolts. Many of the Triumph sourced components have come from Rimmers while specialist door seals and mounts are still in their box from TVR specialists David Gerald. There is also a pair of wire wheel conversion hubs.

It seems TVR projects are like busses (a bit smaller and less red though); you wait years for one and then two come along at virtually the same time, though it has to be said this M Series looks to be a less daunting prospect than the Grantura we recently sold. Painting aside, the TiV is the very definition of a DIY job that needs time and a few hand tools rather than money to get it back on the road or perhaps circuit. It would make a great road car in either 1600 or 3000 form though it is also at the perfect stage to take it down the racer route with, amongst others, the HSCC (70s Road Sports) and CSCC (Future Classics) both running series for which it would be very well suited.

  • Registration Number: GBT 828L
  • Chassis Number: 2633 FM
  • Engine Number: See Text


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BID OF £3,650.00 PLACED BY Tvr

August 29th at 07 : 01 PM

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