Thursday, January 31, 2019

1985 TVR 280i - A Beautiful Wedge

I have always like these cars. I've written about them in the past. In order to save time I am going to copy some text from an earlier post...

Introduced in 1981, the 280i came with the Ford 2.8 liter V6 Cologne engine. The transmission, front brakes and much of the suspension was also from the Ford parts bin. (Differential and rear brakes are from Jaguar.) Its 0-60 time was in the 8 second range and it had a top speed of 130 MPH. The bodies were made of fiberglass and sat on a tubular steel chassis. The 280i was available in coupe and convertible form.

TVR never seemd to be able to settle on a name for this car and during its production it was known as the Tasmin, the Tasmin 280i and just 280i. (And, just to confuse us further, TVR also offered a Tasmin with a 2.0 liter Ford 4 cylinder engine in it, known as the Tasmin 200i.) TVR also offered a V8 version of this car, using the Rover aluminum 3.5 liter engine, called the 350i. (Which is a car I really want to own someday.)

TVR stopped selling cars in the US in 1987. Since then they have changed owners several times and have closed and reopened. As of 2019 they were back in business building a new Griffith.The body and chassis were designed by Gordon Murray the engine comes from Cosworth.

This is an interesting car. The seller says he acquired it in a "barter deal" and knows little about it. The fiberglass body looks to be in nice shape, although flaws in fiberglass rarely show up in photos like dents and rust in steel do.

Mechanically, the seller says "the car needs minor mechanical finishing." That description is about as vague as they come. (I'm not saying this is the problem, as I haven't seen the car, but its been my experience that mechanical issues on a fiberglass car are often caused by bad grounds. Add Lucas electronic parts into that mix and the probability of that being all or part of the problem goes way up.)

A TVR is fairly easy to restore and keep running. Most parts are from major manufacturers parts bins, the bulk coming from Ford and BL.

If you like the wedge shape - and I really do - a TVR 280i is a nice alternative to a Triumph or MG.

Located in Newtown, CT, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

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