When they arrived on the scene in the early 1970s, the M-series cars were a bold step forward for TVR, despite being an evolution of the Vixen and Tuscan models that preceded them.
The M in the name stood for Martin, after Marin Lilley who had saved TVR from bankruptcy in 1965. The cars made their debut amid some controversy at the 1971 Earls Court Motor Show, where TVR had staffed its entire stand with naked female models – if ever there were a pointer to different times…
The first M-Car to go on sale was the Triumph-powered 2500M in 1972, but it was soon followed by the Ford-engined 1600M and 3000M, the latter of which has the V6 ‘Essex’ engine from the Ford Capri.
By then, the car had evolved further too and had an all-new multi-tube chassis, despite its traditional looks. Otherwise, it carried on the front mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout that had been used in its predecessors, and also continued the fibreglass body-on-frame construction that made their production so flexible. The car’s suspension was via double wishbones and coil springs front and rear, and much was sourced off the shelf from other manufacturers – most notably Triumph, with a bit of Ford thrown in.
While the 2500M was a prominent seller thanks to TVR’s reliance on other Triumph components. It was the Ford-powered 3000M that was considered the gem of the range, with a much lighter front end and substantially better handling. It also became the basis for two new M-Series spin-offs; the 3000S convertible and the Taimar ‘hatchback’.
After a seven year run, the M-Series made way for the altogether more progressive wedge-shaped Tamsin, making it the last of the curvy TVRs.
The vendor of this car bought it as a 2020 lockdown project and has spent a lot of the past year (as well as a lot of money) bringing it up to the standard you see it in today. At the start of 2020, it was a down at heel brown TVR that had been in dry storage since 2011
What followed was a complete refurbishment and respray in smart Bonatti Grey with matching Minilite alloys. It’s a smart and well-executed job, now for sale to make way for the owner’s next project.
As well as all of the paperwork relating to the TVR’s restoration, which includes a substantial amount of bills for new parts and specialist services, the 3000M has a file that traces that car’s past back as far as 1988, before which its history is a little sketchy.
There is a V5C in the name of the vendor and the car is both tax and MOT exempt.
The vendor has spent a small fortune restoring the TVR and it shows in the quality of the body, which looks absolutely fabulous in Bonatti Grey and has been painted to a very high standard.
Previously, it was brown with a beige stripe and brown vinyl roof, the latter of which has been replaced by a black one. At the same time, the Webasto folding roof was also overhauled and retrimmed in black vinyl. The overall look is very smart and professional – blending in neatly with the excellent paintwork.
During its refurbishment, the TVR has received new door seals and rubbers all round, new door mirrors, upgraded headlamps and brand new wheels and tyres, though the owner has the old (rough condition) wheels which will be supplied with the car for originality’s sake.
The chassis is said to be in good order, with the notoriously fragile chassis outriggers replaced by the previous keeper in 2011 and the car barely used since.
New seat bases replaced the worn out originals during the TVR’s rebuild, with the whole lot retrimmed in high quality black leather. Perforated leather trim was also applied to the centre panels for extra airing.
The rest of the cabin is immaculately preserved, with all of the Original instruments working as they should.
It’s cosy inside, with a big transmission tunnel running down the centre of the car, but also snug and comfortable once you get used to the low-slung driving position.
The dash and door panels are trimmed in beige vinyl with matching carpets, while a modern CD stereo is fitted.
According to the vendor, the Ford V6 is in fine fettle and fires up on the button, the 15,338 miles on the five-figure clock believed to be the second rotation.
It holds good oil pressure and idles sweetly, having received a full service as part of the car’s restoration. A ‘pancake’ filter rounds it off, giving the TVR a proper induction roar. Refinement isn’t it’s strong point – it’s raw and noisy, but that’s surely the core to its appeal?
At some stage, the car has had a five-speed Ford gearbox conversion which makes it a better cruising machine, but it’s still a handful of a car and not one for lazy drivers or shrinking violets.
During the restoration, the car was also given a new alloy radiator and a new cooling fan and thermostatic switch, taking away any fears of overheating.
This is the last of the pure, raw, old-school TVRs. A car that really stirs the senses, and in 3.0-litre V6 form is the best of its breed – noisy, fast, uncouth and exciting.
It’s like going on a date with the partner your parents told you to avoid. You know it’s naughty, you know there are nicer and more cultured alternatives out there, but you also know that it will never fail to deliver excitement, put a childish grin on your face or leave you feeling utterly exhilarated by its very presence.
Make no mistake – this is a classic that delivers the ultimate in rugged and tactile driving experiences. It is also a beautifully executed restoration and must be one of the best examples on the market right now.
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