The TVR S Series was announced at the 1986 NEC motor show. Due to a massive positive response the car went into production in less than 12 months, with 250 pre-manufacture orders. This was Peter Wheeler's first major development since buying the company from Martin Lilley, and the turning point in TVR's fortunes.
Between 1986 and 1994 2,604 S Series cars were made; 410 of these were of the V8S variety.
A 1989 TVR S2 was restored and sold as part of the UK television series Wheeler Dealers, first shown on the Discovery Realtime channel on the 3rd November 2009.
A TVR S2 was used in the classic British Sports cars challenge of Top Gear in series 15 Episode 6, bought by James May. It lapped the Lotus test track in 2:15.09 minutes.
The V6 S Series cars used Fords's Cologne V6 in 2.8 L, 160 hp (S) and 2.9 L, 170 hp (S2-S4) forms. The early "S" cars are often referred to as "S1"s, to distinguish them from later iterations. The S3 and S4 received longer doors, although some late S2's were also thus equipped.
Vehicle models ending with "C" were used to denote vehicles which were fitted with a catalytic converter. Only the S3 and S4 were fitted with catalysts. Cat standard in the UK was only introduced in August 1992, at K-registration, catalyzed earlier cars were intended for export to markets with tighter emissions standards.
The standard specification of the V8S included ½ hide leather interior, walnut trim, mohair hood, OZ alloy wheels, driving lamps, electric windows and door mirrors.
The V8S contains a 4.0 L fuel-injected Rover V8 engine, with gas-flowed cylinder heads, higher lift camshaft, compression ratio upped to 10:5:1, revised manifold, new chip for the engine management system and a limited slip differential. The result is 240 bhp (180 kW) at 5250 rpm and 270 lb·ft (366 N·m) of torque at 3000 rpm.
The V8S has a number of cosmetic differences over the V6. The bonnet has a large hump - created to house the Italian specification supercharger but carried over to all V8S models.
Picture of S3 on the left, and V8S on the right showing the 2 main bonnet styles.
The V8S has a small vent facing the windscreen, whereas S1 to S3 models face forward. Very late S3 and S4 models had no hump at all. As with all TVR's there is no specific point in time when they changed styles, probably when they ran out!
The suspension track is slightly wider on the V8S achieved with revised wishbones at the front and revised trailing arms at the rear. Disc brakes are fitted all round.
0-60 mph could be achieved in 4.9 seconds and 0-100 mph in 12.9 seconds. It was faster than an Aston Martin Virage, a Ferrari Testarossa, a Lotus Esprit Turbo SE and a Porsche Carrera 2, the supercars of the early 1990s.
A very rare beast is the 2 litre supercharged version of the V8S - this was created for the Italian market to overcome their strict taxation based on engine capacity. The engine was a modified 3.5 litre Rover V8 fitted with a smaller-throw crank to reduce the engine capacity, retaining the 88.9 mm bore but with an extremely short stroke of 40.25 mm. This meant a displacement of 1,998 cc (2.0 L), with a compression rate of 8.0:1. Lucas electronic fuel injection was fitted, along with an intercooled Eaton supercharger. All of this produced 233 PS (171 kW; 230 bhp) at 6,200 rpm and 266 N·m (196 lb·ft) at 3,700 rpm. Performance was on par with the bigger V8s, with a top speed of 232 km/h (144 mph) and 0–100 km/h coming up in 6.5 seconds. Ventilated disc brakes were fitted up front, and the 2-litre V8 also got adjustable ride height hydraulic shocks. There is at this time only one known to exist.
| Classic production cars
| Classic prototype cars