I have dreamed about driving a Ferrari and have snicked that iconic H box up into 4th, 5th, 6th even. But in my dream I had no idea which model I was driving suffice to say it must have been pre-2011 for that was when they stopped offering manual boxes and forced those moneyed enough to buy the flappy paddles.
I have dreamed about being some sort of Bond-esque character and obviously about to jump into an Aston. Any would do I guess because again the model did not come into it.
I have dreamed about climbing up into the driving seat of one of Europe’s continent crossing trucks, most probably laden with Albanian refugees or some such cargo, but again the make and model of the vehicle is unknown or unseen.
However, when I dream about Stuttgart’s finest the model is unmistakeable. It is always and very obviously a 911. That upright wheel, the almost vertical rake of the windscreen, the less is more dash and of course it has a stick and a bunch of gears just waiting to be found by my left hand. Yes, it does sound sexual, because it is, sort of.
So are my Porsche fantasies only destined for my dreams only or will they ever come true? Glancing through the classifieds reality does appear to be looming closer. Smart 993’s are available from $35k upwards. If my budget could stretch another $20k I could just about get hold of a 996.
So which would I go for?
Do I opt for modernity, a water cooled engine and a sleeker look or am I swayed by the charm of an air cooled engine, higher mileage and that infamous rear drive kick in the teeth?
By all accounts the best bang for buck is the 996 TT but it does have IMS issues and if I choose a car that has not been well looked after I could be staring at a hugely expensive engine change just because of a silly little gasket thingy in the drive train that should have been changed.
No, lovely as it is and however unlikely an engine failure may be, I would probably go for the 993. Its retro looks, its unmistakable sound and its fabled status of pure drivers’ car in which you must learn its limits as well as your own, yes that is my first Porsche. And at first glance its cheaper too.
No doubt the costs of this beautiful 911 is out of reach for many of us, but isn’t it great that people around the world are attempting these things.
The words, writes the BBC, “Everything Is Important” are scrawled large in black ink on the whitewashed walls.
Successful musicians often buy exotic cars, but rarely do they make them. Singer Vehicle Design Porsche 911 is what happens when that rule of thumb is broken. Rob Dickinson was a member of the 1990s alternative rock group the Catherine Wheel, before tiring of show business and moving to California to make cars ….
TVR’s were fast and furious and it is incredible that such a small factory with limited resources could have turned out anything as accomplished as the Griffith, Tuscan, Chimera or Cerbera. Of course these were the culmination of almost 50 years of development under various owners, but the four mentioned above, under the stewardship of Peter Wheeler, were arguably the best they ever made. It’s just such a shame that after almost 25 years he sold out to a 24 year old Russian millionaire, Nikolay Smolensky, who ran the firm into the ground in only 2 years.
As a teenager in the early 80’s I yearned to own a Griffith. It was quite simply the coolest car around. Not only was the modern Griffith, like its predecessors from the ’60’s – the 200 and 400 – a V8 powered 2 seater, it was also a convertible. And to a spotty youth a convertible meant sexy, it meant pulling power. It was so different to anything else, it was ahead of its time. Its shape could grace a motor show today and you’d be none the wiser that it was in fact 30 years old.
But there was a sting in its tail. It was notoriously unreliable. TVR did not have the billions to check and double check its products and the only testing that could be done was by the customer after delivery. Of course the firm learned and things improved but only to a point.
Tuscan Speed Six Mk1
Though a proposed Speed Six Griffith never made production it did evolve into the Tuscan Speed Six and an even sexier shape. The twenty years preceding its arrival had helped TVR to improve its cars and build a brand new engine, the speed six; a normally aspirated straight-6 that was the most powerful ever to be fitted to a production car with 350 bhp (261 kW) up to 405bhp (302kW) as in our Tuscan.
The engine had issues with poor lubrication and cooling. This led to valve gear failure, worn out cam lobes and finger followers. In the case of the finger followers there were reports of poor batch products and some cams were made from substandard material. As such the lobes on the cams wore out quickly. Therefore it is essential to follow a proper warm up procedure and avoid driving the engine too hard before the oil has fully lubricated the engine.
The Tuscan had a poor clutch design that could cause some components to fail after only 32k kms and its slave cylinder was definitely sub-standard. So check gear changes thoroughly and if the clutch feels spongy with little resistance, the slave cylinder seals may have gone.
Water ingress was also a common issue; in its combustion chamber leading to the head gasket failing in the engine and into senors controlling EFI warnings and power windows in particular. The ECU in the transmission tunnel has a tendancy to get wet too and this can cause the electrics to stop working. You could, for instance, be stuck inside the car as the door opening buttons are electric. Luckily there are emergency door release pulls beneath the dashboard.
It is also imperative that owners remove the front near side wheel and check the battery compartment every 6 months. One of the bolts in the battery tray can wear through the housing on the charging point causing it to short. The danger here is that it could set the vehicle on fire, so hopefully you will remember where those door pulls are if you’re inside when or if this happens.
Problems from rust are unlikely due to the fibreglass body, but its tubular steel chassis could be susceptible if it spent any time in a UK winter. Its rear screen often pops out, particularly when the targa roof panel has been taken out, mainly because it was slightly too small. They revised the size in the mk 2 and if your mk1 hasn’t had the change, go and source the newer one.
The original suspension was never the best and this can lead to tramlining. Fitting after market shock absorbers could help and the original ‘spider’ alloys have been known to bend quite easily.
Both sites are from the UK and considering you will more than likely need parts at some stage, why not go straight to the source.
I’m still working on these. If anyone has a recommended service centre, please let me know. It seems wise to assume that owning a TVR is not going to be cheap or stress free. Sure you will be the envy of all at most track days or quarter mile sprints but you don’t want to be re-building the engine after each occasion.
Interesting night at the auction. Not only did the Quattro, mentioned here on this site, not sell for a decent price tag, it was passed in at $17k (I fear its poor re-spray may have let it down), some people in Sydney are prepared to pay $50k + for a Mk 1 TVR Tuscan; a car that is both beautiful and flawed, fast and unreliable, from a company now defunct, ruined by some junior Russian oligarch after five decades of steady progress from a small factory in Blackpool, northern England. Parts will be almost non-existent, and a lathe and a workshop a necessity.
Yet the $50k bid was turned down because it seems there are even more outlandish people out there and greedy ones at that. However, after the car was passed in someone did stump up the extra reddies and drove away in a whopping $58,500 trouble bucket. I would never have seen that coming and it’s probably why I am still only able to buy second-hand.
I didn’t quite hear the spiel in detail but there seemed a tenuous link with the film Swordfish. Would that make me want to pay $20-25k over the odds for a car that most probably won’t work next week, even if Halle Berry could have draped her shapely frame all over it? No thanks, but I did hesitate.
All this being said, I have to ask myself whether I am missing something. Are TVR’s becoming collectors’ items? Prices overseas suggest not, you can pick up a number in the UK for around £20k ($30k) so unless our buyer knows something the rest of us don’t, the words more money and sense spring to mind.
Would I like to drive it though? Oh yes please. To feel that enormous shove up to 100 kph and far beyond, in under 4 seconds, from a car that that cost a fraction of the price of anything else that could do that? Double please. This version is a 2003 model, with upgraded power to 400 bhp (298kW). There used to be a fantastic race series in the UK called the Tuscan Challenge, and it may still be running, and in race form speeds of over 190 mph were attained with acceleration figures to 100 mph in under 7 seconds. Now that’s fast.
If you are the new owner, check out the Research category for common problems http://wp.me/s3rCxt-763 and visit the links to the enthusiast forums.
No doubt you already know what you have bought and would have done the research. Wonderful car, fantastic noise and incredible performance, but what a shame if it just sits in a garage somewhere never to be driven.
The highest price on the night went to a beautifull ’59 Mercedes 190SL Roadster for $91k, closely followed by a mint condition ’64 230SL for $89k. A magnificent V12 E-Type sold for $56k completing the last podium spot.
Looking forward to what tasty treats lay in store for the next one.
Let’s take a look at one of my favourites. A car that I would have like a shot, given a lottery win and a 5 car garage. A Jaguar XFR. New, it’s an eye watering $189,000, thanks to our government’s luxury car tax, apparently. The price in the UK is £65,350, which at the current exchange rate equates to $83,000.
I realize that this tax is apparently there to save the local car industry, but this is a joke. This is a premium of over 100% and who receives that? Does it all go to the government or have the car companies just screwed us for all we are worth? The car companies claim that they price their cars a year in advance so as not to be dictated to by fluctuating exchange rates.
Fine, so how come the Aussie dollar has remained strong for 4 years now with no hint of a change anytime soon and car prices have not decreased one iota?
BMW said at the time, ”We do hedge to protect against currency movements going both ways. We don’t put prices up when the currency is weak and neither do we respond immediately by putting prices down when the currency is strong. We have to hedge against these kinds of fluctuations for the customers’ benefit [so new owners don’t see their car discounted just months later]. As a manufacturer, we’re not actually in a position to capitalise on a strong Aussie dollar – at least not in the short term.”
So when is it no longer the short term? Can we expect then to see a price cut in the next year, two? I totally understand that if you had bought new you would not want to see the price depreciate by half, the very next day. But come on, are we really that stupid that we will just put up with the status quo and pay twice as much as the UK and even more compared to the US? Do new car buyers really have more money than sense? I tend to that think that the wealthy have money because they are astute and so paying through the nose for a car does not add up.
Eventually there must a ground swell of support for a price decrease. There is with everything else. People are buying off the net for goods they can get from their local Harvey Norman because they can benefit from the strong dollar. And rightly so. Surely we have to start thinking this way when, for most people, the second most expensive product they will purchase is their car.
Until then, buying second hand in this climate has to be the sensible option.