TVR TASMIN REVIEW

tvr_tasmin.jpg

Stylish and eye-catching partnered with brute power, the TVR 'Wedge' range was an enduring success. Developed with input from Lotus designers Oliver Winterbottom and Ian Jones, the Tasmin FHC Series 1 was officially launched at the NEC Motor Show in October 1980 as a two-seater coupé. 

Initially powered by the 2792cc fuel injected Ford V6 'Cologne' 160bhp power plant and a non-overdrive four speed manual gearbox, with the option of an automatic being offered as from October 1980. The Tasmin was the first TVR to have this as an option.

The range expanded with a 2+2 and convertible in 1981. The Plus 2 was short lived, but when it was dropped, the larger body, without the rear seats, was used for the coupé. A five-speed gearbox was introduced in 1983.

Sales of the Tasmin were slow, in part due to the steep increase in price from the outgoing Taimars. TVR production reached a low of 121 in 1982. TVR briefly trialled an "entry level" priced version, the Tasmin 200, powered by the Ford 1993cc four cylinder Pinto engine. They didn’t prove popular and production was halted after a short time. Only 16 Tasmin 200 coupes and 45 convertibles were made in total.

There swiftly followed a short lived experiment with turbo charging the Tasmin, in an attempt to increase the performance of the V6 cars, which never really made it into production and only a few examples of the Tasmin Turbo were ever produced. 

In 1984 the Tasmin name was dropped and the car was rebadged TVR 280i, although early 350i's were also referred to as the "Tasmin 350i".

The Tasmin brought two ‘firsts’ to the motoring world. It was the first production car in the world to have both a bonded windscreen and also to incorporate the aerial in the rear screen heater element.

VITAL STATISTICS

Engine Ford V6 'Cologne'

Power 145bhp

Torque 150lb ft

Top speed 134mph

0-60mph 9.7sec

Economy 22mpg

Gearbox Five-speed manual

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Engine

The engines on the 200, 280i and 350i are pretty much standard Ford and Rover units. Parts for the engines themselves are relatively common although be aware that not all components are standard Ford items as TVR has been known to modify certain components.

Chassis

The chassis comprises of a steel tubular pipework that has been powder coated for extra corrosion resistance. Over the years the protective surface is compromised and water gets in and starts to lift the protective coating. Before you know it the chassis has started to rot. Check this out thoroughly.

Bodywork & Trim

Bodypanels, doors, light pods, bumpers, spoilers etc are now getting scarce, especially as the factory now no longer stocks such items. Although there are a few specialist fibreglass repair companies offering a full repair service full panel replacements will be difficult to source.

Interior trim can also be expensive to have repaired or replaced. The wood vaneer and leather seats and upholstery are a prime example of such items. If you can, when looking to purchase a car, try to get one with the trim in relatively good condition. The interiors on these cars can deteriorate quickly if not looked after.

The hood and door/window seals can be replaced but again, bank on an outlay of quite a few hundred pounds unless you are talented or brave enough to do the work yourself.

Electrics

Issues with electrical items not working can be down to simply a wire off or a corroded fuse terminal to a failed or seized component. Some of the motors for instance such as the light pod lift, window lift, wing mirror positioning, heater fan and windscreen wiper motors can be very expensive to replace and difficult to source. Check these all work prior to negotiating a potential purchase.

Brakes & Transmission

The brakes have never been a strong point of the Wedge series cars so bear this in mind when stamping on them on a test drive. Also listen out for noises and 'clonks' from the transmission and suspension. This could be a sign of worn UJ's, failing steering racks or worn suspension bushes and springs etc.

OUR VERDICT

Riding around on a tidal wave of V8 noise with the roof down simply does not get any better. Go for it, stand out from the crowd and get yourself a TVR Wedge.

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