Well, the ‘Big News’ we are working on, as alluded to in our last update, is not quite ready to be divulged just yet – sorry, the best laid plans and all that! We are working as hard as we can, and please rest assured that we will share just the minute we can. In the meantime, we felt it best to get this update out now rather than wait any longer.
It’s a truism that things always take longer and cost more than first thought. The rebirth of TVR is no exception. There have been a number of factors that have delayed us, some of which I have previously mentioned. These include the arrival of the new Coyote engine, meaning significant extra (duplicated) work; the hold up with the main factory due to EU regulations requiring a lengthy tendering process EU-wide for the work to be carried out - the Welsh Government are bound by the EU rules in this respect (for the moment at least!); changes to EU regulations governing emissions etc. (we still intend to force our EU cousins to enjoy themselves!) for the medium term which makes homologation more of a challenge, meaning an increase in development costs, and the inevitable impact on timing. However, it’s critical that we make sure the car is not only fit for purpose out of the box, but has a life-span without the need for major modifications in the medium term. On top of all of that, Brexit continues to have an impact on the industry outlook, although happily less so in the niche car market compared to the more mass-market manufacturers.
On top of all the above, we have been presented with a couple of very significant and exciting opportunities that will hugely expand our overall business plan and guarantee not only our short-term success, but also ensure that our 10-year plan can be delivered while enabling us to grow far faster than we ever envisaged when we embarked on this journey – in terms of model platforms, territories, and sales volumes. We are in discussions with a couple of major potential partners in this respect, and will share the news when we are able to, and meanwhile make no apology for ensuring we don’t trip over our shoelaces in finalising what will be the most important deal in the history of TVR, by a huge factor.
Large Box in Wales
Things are progressing with the factory and training units albeit (again!) more slowly than hoped and expected, BUT we can now give you the time line for completion of the works on the refurbishment. We have had confirmation from the Welsh Government that the refurbishment contract (following the recent completion of the 7-month tender process required by the EU) is expected to be awarded to the successful candidate in the coming weeks in readiness for a January 2019 start on site. The refurbishment of the landlord’s ‘shell’ should take approximately 6 months to complete, which will be dovetailed in with our fit-out works. We will be providing updates on progress, including pictures and video, on a regular basis as the works progress. Meanwhile a few are attached of ‘Ground Base Zero’, showing the car in the factory in its raw state following completion of initial clearance works – just needs a lick of paint really, oh, and a coffee machine.
Additionally, the works to complete the smaller training, test and prototype build facility are well under way, and Blaenau Gwent local council have now given us a completion / handover date for this facility of March 2019. It remains an option to complete customer builds in this facility should there be any delays to the main factory programme, although we have no reason to believe that that should prove to be the case.
We have continued with work on the mules and, in particular, with increasing emphasis on the full prototype car. As you know, we are engaged in a serious circuit testing programme, including high speed tyre testing with our partners at AVON. I can tell you that the new tyre compound specially formulated for us by AVON is absolutely fantastic. Bench-tested at over 230mph (and by us at something getting on towards that figure!), the special-compound tyre proudly bears the TVR logo as well as the Union flag. The tread design is particularly efficient at water displacement and the additional grip over the earlier versions is enormous, in both the wet and in the dry. We couldn’t ask for better partners in developing our rubberwear – the unique characteristics of the car (high power / low weight / high downforce and consequent huge lateral grip) brings a unique set of challenges, to which the team at AVON have risen magnificently. It perhaps also bears mentioning that we will be able to keep them to a very sensible price, which is a pretty remarkable achievement considering the amount of bespoke R&D work that has been invested in them.
Anyway, enough talking about it – a picture is worth a thousand words, as they say, and a film is worth a thousand pictures (as we say!) so we’ve taken the opportunity to take some film of some of the activities, and you can get a feel for how the car is performing from the video sequence below - enjoy! (remember to turn your volume up high!)
By the way, we have engaged with a film production company to document the rebirth of TVR – following the progress from blank sheet of paper to the first cars rolling off the production line. Interest from the main-stream TV channels, domestic and international is high. The video excerpt linked-to represents a small montage of some of the Castle Combe on-track action.
Additionally, we have been testing various diff/gear-ratio combinations to ensure the car takes off like a scalded cat, without compromising top end performance – it does! It’s amazing how things like this can only be got ‘just so’ by real-world testing in a variety of conditions – as with things like the seating buck that we had hewn from wood by GMD at the outset of the journey, CAD and simulation is great, but by no means a total replacement for the ‘Mark 1 eyeball’ and proper seat of the pants empirical testing and development.
We’ve had quite a lot of enquiries regarding ground clearance on the car and happily it’s something we’ve not only thought about, but got right given the car’s daily usability; normally on a sportscar of this ilk clearance can be a challenge, even on the most gentle of speed humps, pavement crossovers, car park ramps etc.. Please see the diagram below which illustrates clearance and approach angles – a lot better than most sportscars I’ve owned.
In parallel with all of the above, we are working hard with our suppliers to complete all the necessary supply chain logistics. The majority of the key components have now been sourced, and terms with suppliers are beginning to fall into place. Some components are proving a little more challenging to pin down and we are working to find solutions – nothing insurmountable though. Overall, we are approximately 75% complete on the journey of finalising specifications and sources for the complete Bill of Materials.
We attended the TopCats event in Aylesbury last weekend and hats off to Warren and Charlotte for an extremely good day indeed. I had the pleasure of taking the famed ‘Shmee’ out for a short burst around the estate in the Griff and, other than a very close encounter with some of the largest pot-holes in the Northern Hemisphere, it was great to be able to open her up; Shmee is a depositor and I think (without stealing any thunder from a no doubt soon to be aired Vlog!) it’s fair to say he loved the car!.
TopCats put on a really great display of some of their work in progress projects (impressive!) together with previous performance upgrade examples kindly brought along by their owners. A large and pleasingly diverse selection of TVRs were present, including a very nice pair of wedges (400 and 450) and we had a chance to speak to a good number of depositors and others on the day – many thanks to all for all the feedback! Warren gave us a brief talk on the race cars he had on show – Ginetta, Marcos and Mosler – the latter making an ear-shatteringly great sound on start-up (it’s the first time the Griff’s been upstaged on that front, I can assure you!) The team have had great successes in recent seasons and are building to even higher expectations for the coming year. Thanks again to everybody at Top Cats for a great day!
The team continues to excel in the WEC championship. Despite an unfortunate mishap with the #03 car crashing out after exiting the pits on new slicks, we still managed a 3rd at Fuji – next stop Shanghai! We are also doing well in the LMP drivers’ Championship with most of our drivers in 3rd and 4th places. As you may know, this is a ‘Super Season’, extending through to Le Mans 2019, so with 4 more races to go, we have a great chance for a spectacular end to the season!!
The long-awaited questionnaire is almost finished and will be issued week commencing 12th November. We’d love to get your feedback on this as it will help us finally work through some of the options we will be making available. We will also shortly be uploading some 3D renders of the Griffith on our website for your review.
Thanks for the great response confirming your details from the ‘Queue Position’ mailing! If you haven’t replied yet, please do so – in case you ticked the 1.6l diesel option by mistake.
We continue to monitor all communications - both directly to us by email and on the various forums. The former we endeavour to respond to within 24 hours, the latter we do not engage with for the usual reasons, although we obviously note, and pay attention to, those where the comments are relevant, factual, rational(!), and so on. All depositors are always welcome to contact us by phone or via the ‘dearles’ email address, at any time, as many of you already have done to date.
I’ll be in touch again w/c 12th November.
All the best