The TVR Grantura is the first model in a long line of TVR cars and debuted in 1958. The cars went through a series of developments leading to the I to IV and 1800S models. The last ones were made in 1967.
These coupés were hand-built at the TVR factory in Blackpool, England with varying mechanical specifications and could be had in kit form. All cars featured a cocktail of Austin-Healey brakes, VW Beetle or Triumph suspension parts and BMC rear axles.
The Grantura bodyshell was made from glass-reinforced plastic and made use of a variety of proprietary components. The bonnet was front hinged. There was no opening at the rear but the boot could be accessed from inside the car - the spare wheel had to be removed through the front doors. Buyers could choose from a range of powerplants which included a choice of side or overhead valve engines from Ford, a Coventry Climax unit or the MGA
The first of the Granturas used a fibreglass body moulded to a tubular steel backbone chassis and VW Beetle-based front and rear suspension. The car was designed around a 1,098 cc Coventry Climax type FWA engine but many different makes were fitted from 1,172 cc Ford side valve to 1600 cc BMC from the MGA. The drum brakes originated on the Austin Healey 100 and the windscreen on the Ford Consul.
Approximately 100 of the series I Grantura were built from 1958 to 1960.
Rear end of Series II/IIIThe Series II had MGA engines as standard but again customers could choose from a variety of power units. The IIA used the 1,622 cc MGA or Ford 1,340 cc engine and front disc brakes were standard. Rack and pinion steering was standardised.
A car with a 1600 cc MGA engine was tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1961. It had a top speed of 98.4 mph (158.4 km/h) and could accelerate from zero to60 mph (97 km/h) in twelve seconds. Fuel consumption of 32.8 miles per imperial gallon (8.61 L/100 km; 27.3 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1,298 including taxes.
Approximately 400 of the series II Grantura were built.
Series III, Series III 1800, 1800S and IV
The final series of cars had a new, longer and stiffer chassis and coil sprung independent suspension. This chassis was designed by John Thurner and would form the basis of the one used by TVR up to the launch of the 2500M cars in 1972.
The Series III and Series III 1800 used MG engines, either 1,622 or 1,798 cc respectively, although Ford or Coventry Climax units were also available for the earlier Series III model.
In 1964 the car became available as the 1800S with a cut off, square back (called a 'Manx tail' after the similarly tailless breed of cat) and round rear light clusters from the Ford Cortina. After a stop in production in 1965, under Martin Lilley's new ownership the car reappeared in 1966 as the longer MkIV. The MkIV also featured better trim and a larger gas tank.
Approximately 300 cars were built (estimated to be 60 of the Series III, 30 of the Series III 1800, 128 of the 1800S and 78 of the MkIV) before being replaced by the Vixen.
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| Classic prototype cars