TVR Tamora buying guide

The oft-overlooked TVR Tamora is one of the best-driving TVRs and good value too. Here's what you need to know when buying a used example.

The Griffith and Chimaera were always going to be tough acts to follow. Not only were they the cars that finally allowed TVR to shrug off its kit-car roots and stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Porsche, they also married thunderous performance to timelessly handsome lines. But they couldn’t go on forever.

The early 2000s was a time of change for TVR; out with the old guard – Griff, Chimaera, Rover V8s – and in with the new: Tuscan, Tamora and TVR’s own range of straight-sixes and V8s. Peter Wheeler described the Tamora as a ‘more practical TVR for urban driving’. There’s no doubt the new entry-level TVR was designed to appeal to the widest possible market. That meant tempting Porsche fans out of their Boxsters.

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Based on the then-recently released Tuscan Speed Six, the Tamora had the same wheelbase, steel-backbone chassis and all-wishbone suspension, but with a short-stroke 3.6-litre version of the Tuscan’s 4-litre straight-six, and sharply abbreviated glassfibre bodywork. With 350bhp to propel just 1050kg it was exhilaratingly rapid – and there was no ABS or traction control to get you out of any trouble, though it did have power steering. It also had a more manageable clutch than other TVRs, while its long throttle travel and more progressive power delivery than the V8s helped you avoid snap oversteer. Smaller (16in) alloys with deeper-profile (225/50) tyres gave a more absorbent ride than the Tuscan.

'I bought one'

Pete Ather

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‘Ideally I wanted one with a rebuilt engine. An 02-plate car in Scotland caught my eye – it had a full service history, 15,000 miles on the clock, and was advertised for £17,000. Those facts outweighed it still being on its original engine, and the car was delivered to me just after Christmas 2011. As the weather improved I instantly fell in love with it. The chassis and brakes are a big improvement on other TVRs’, and the character of the Speed Six is so different from the V8s. All these elements combine to make a hell of a drivers’ car.

‘But during a routine service, a lot of swarf and metal filings were found in the oil, and an engine inspection showed a full rebuild was required. I’ve covered nearly 3000 miles now. The car owes me a lot, but over the winter I had the suspension renewed and upgraded, by choice, to reflect the fact that I fully intend to keep it. I get 15-20mpg and insurance is around £400 per annum. The Tamora is the most underrated and – of the convertibles – best-handling TVR of all.’

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