The Tale of the Trevor

The sorry tale of a TVR

I once bought a TVR, it was a rather special one, a 420 SE AC and it went like stink.  It was, as usual, an impulse purchase and was mainly the fault of a friend, a local garage proprietor, who persuaded me to buy one when I showed him a magazine article about how fast it was going to be.  He knew Peter Wheeler, the then owner of TVR, and arranged for me to purchase one of the early cars.  Of course I paid too much, don’t I always when it comes to cars?

Crikey it was fast, and loud and bloody awful on a long journey.  At the time I believe it was the fastest production car available, an incredible amount of bang per buck.  It was however very badly built, the term Jerry Built would not do the workmanship justice.  The wipers failed in their primary purpose, the windscreen washers had all the power of a geriatrics bladder, the heater just didn’t and I don’t think the horn ever worked. It did look pretty though

Of more pressing concern was the engine management electrics.  They were fastened to a hatch in the nearside footwell, mounted on a rectangular piece of thin, sharp metal held in place above the passenger’s legs by a couple of catches.  Under hard acceleration the catches would open and the entire caboodle would fall onto the legs of  the passenger with the sharp edge threatening to lacerate the shins.

But it was chuffing quick; the noise of the cross plane V8 under load was awesome and the ability to thrash it down a winding country lane just intoxicating. For the first service the car was returned to Blackpool and I took the opportunity to apprise Mr Wheeler of some of the vehicle’s shortcomings. He listened to me in his office, wreathed in a cloud of cigarette smoke, paused to light another from the stub of the old one and then told me to eff off; I’d bought the car and it was tough. Great customer service I thought.

The car was left at Blackpool for a couple of days for some remedial work as well as its service and I received a phone call from a magazine, Performance Car. They were in Blackpool for an article on TVR and they asked if they could borrow mine for some photographs around the town. I was assured that the car would not leave town and would only be driven carefully so, after agreeing that I could have copies of the photos, I gave permission.

When I went to pick the car up a couple of days later it was buggered. The engine had started smoking a little, the rear tyres were well past their best and the diff seemed to have a slight whine. Mr Wheeler was noticeable by his absence and any calls to Performance Car were met with no knowledge of our agreement. When I later got a copy of the magazine there was what amounted to a full road test and through thrashing around the Lake District. I never even got the photos!

The time came a little while later to sell the car, it was a real ‘head turner’ and attracted small boys and petrol heads wherever it stopped. Should sell easily!

Meh! I advertised it far and wide at ever reducing prices and elicited zero interest until finally a dealer from Bristol offered a derisory £20K to which I reluctantly agreed. He arrived on the train at Harrogate, took a test drive and then proffered a bankers draft drawn against the Bank of Baroda. Never heard of them and this was long before the internet so anything Google was out of the question. I rang the number on the cheque and was assured by an earnest foreign sounding chap that the bank was indeed real and the account kosher.

TVR420

Went like a bat out of hell!

Private Number Plates

Some years ago I recall seeing an advert in a motoring magazine where they boasted that every car came complete with a private number plate, their lead example was a rather mundane Mini Metro with the number plate BZY 234 T. * Their point was that every registration has to be unique.

*( it wasn’t that exact number, it was many years ago and I use that number for illustration!)

I have owned a couple of Cherished Numbers over the years and the first notable one was NAS7Y.

Performance Car October 87I bought this number whilst it was on a Range Rover, a black 4 door 3.5lt petrol V8. Fabulous car, I ran it for a few months and then I bought the ill-fated TVR 420SEAC. (a separate blog on this will follow soon.)

At one point I had the number on both vehicles simultaneously and it may have gone unnoticed until I inadvertently parked them together in Harrogate and Mr. Plod gave me a lecture.

I even had my car featured in a car magazine with the number plate on.  If you look carefully at the image you can even see my name on the number plate!  Happy days.

Some months later I was in my local pub, lightly oiled, when someone asked me how much I wanted for the plate. I answered that it was not really for sale unless I was offered a ridiculous amount. What, he inquired, was ridiculous? I answered £20K and he said yes!

That sum funded a rather nice Lotus Elan Sprint and another number plate: 8 POO

This was a great car but so tiny, even by the standards of the 90’s when I owned it. This is not the exact car but mine was the same colour combination.

This number stayed with me for some years, unlike the Lotus which found a new home after only a short while. 8 POO was on several cars (not all at once!) and I reluctantly sold it when I needed to get my finances on a more even footing. I did make quite a good profit though.

I missed that number and regretted selling it, even though I was ‘clocked’ wherever I went.

Recently I have been thinking about another number and this came about through an Ebay search, they sell loads of registrations, who knew? I started looking and one caught my attention, fairly rude; F4CKK. That sold for quite a large sum, more than I was prepared to pay. I tried the DVLA website and searched through a huge quantity of numbers that they have available and was informed of their forthcoming auction, one of several they hold each year.

B16 POO was available with a guide price of £550. Lovely! Within a couple of hours of the auction (on line) getting underway the price had risen to £10,100 and I was out of the running.

Back to the DVLA site and I found F4 CKF was for sale at £599. Bargain!

Almost certainly a Police magnet.

I’ve bought it and I am happy to sell it on… I’m not sure I have the cojones to put it on my car.