For the rest of this month, the 1962 Le Mans Grantura, restored between 2000 and 2003, will take pride of place in the main display at Alfred Dunhill in Jermyn Street London.
Dunhills have long had an association with motorsport and the car has been loaned to them by its present owner, City Region RO, Daniel Nash.
The Grantura was the first model that TVR built in production quantities, beginning in 1958. By 1962, approximately 400 Granturas had been made. In March 1962, TVR introduced the Grantura Mk3 with a new multi-tube chassis, designed by John Thurner, under a slightly lengthened bodyshell. TVR set up a competitions department in 1962, under Ken Richardson, and YFR 751 is one of a batch of three lightweight cars they built for the TVR works team. It raced at Le Mans in June 1962, driven by Peter Bolton, but sadly succumbed to engine overheating. It also raced in the Tourist Trophy race at Goodwood in August 1962. In the hands of Tommy Wood, its first private owner, it competed in the first Harewood hill climb in September 1962.
The Le Mans Grantura was used as a road car from the mid-sixties. By the late seventies, despite its early promise, it was just another old sports car and in 1978 it was exported to Canada, where Gill Baker raced it at Hamilton and Mosport. It went to Kansas in the USA in 1985 where Tom Newcomer prepared it for SCCA racing. It was repatriated from Kansas to the UK in 2000 in very poor condition, and over the past three years it has been restored as closely as possible to the original 1962 specification, with the addition of safety modifications to comply with FIA Appendix K regulations.
The MGA 1622 cc engine has a HRG Derrington crossflow aluminium cylinder head and two twin choke Weber 45DCOE carburettors. The close ratio gearbox and differential are also MG sourced. The all-independent suspension uses coil springs and wishbones, supplemented by an anti-roll bar at the front. The brakes are Girling discs at the front and drums at the rear, operated in a split system with adjustable balance.
After its three year restoration, the fabulous Goodwood Revival in summer 2005 was the scene of YFR 751's return to racing which it celebrated with an impressive and fast finish first time out. It was particularly momentous as the car had previously been the original TVR works entry in the 1962 Tourist Trophy at the Sussex circuit.
Last year, Daniel successfully took the car back to France for the Classic Le Mans where together with co-driver and fellow TVRCC member Kingsley Marten, he finished a highly creditable 20th overall from 70 starters with many supposedly much faster cars - including three Porsche 911s, four E Types, five GT40s and a whole bunch of Ferraris - behind him.