TVR’s ‘wedge’ models seem to have fallen into a black hole between the M series cars they replaced and the S series that followed. Designer Oliver Winterbottom’s attempt to make TVRs look modern (he’d previously given us the Lotus Elite and Éclat) was far from a triumph in period, and certainly wasn’t helped by the fact that the Tasmin (later called the 280i) launched head-on into the start of the early ’80s recession.
But they do say that time is a great healer and now, 40 years later and with the values of so many classics having gone through the roof, the idea of owning a Wedge becomes ever more appealing – especially for those who are a bit short of, er, wedge.
Getting a good one is not so easy, however. The narrow-gauge, tubular spaceframe chassis that gave the cars such fine handling could soon succumb to rust, the glassfibre body made for temperamental electrics and being encased in plastic did nothing to help the 2.8-litre Ford Cologne V6 keep its cool.
As a result of those problems (plus a few others) many Wedge TVRs quickly entered into a downward spiral of mechanical decline and multiple ownership.
This example, however, seems to be one of the good ones. Aside from the fact that it has retained its important period features (cream paintwork, all original decals and stripes, cassette player, brown roof and upholstery, etc) it remained in single ownership for the best part of 35 years, the last 15 of which it didn’t turn a wheel. In the summer of 2021, however, it had the good fortune to fall into the hands of its current owner, a former RAF fast jet technician and aeronautical engineering instructor who has spent the last 12 months fixing, fettling and re-finishing the mechanical aspects of the car in the way only someone trusted to keep aircraft flying safely knows how – i.e. in a reassuringly fastidious manner.
To that end, this Tasmin boasts all-new suspension; a stripped, rustproofed and re-finished chassis; rebuilt brake calipers with new discs and pads all round; a completely overhauled fuel system with new pump, marine-grade fuel lines and cleaned tanks; a stainless steel exhaust system front to back and a thoroughly tried and tested engine, gearbox and cooling system.
The result is a Wedge that combines an entirely original, gently patinated appearance with tip-top mechanicals – meaning that it’s a car that’s not only ready to go for the summer, but one that the new owner won’t be afraid to use.
So if you thought an interesting, open-top classic with genuine 130mph performance, distinctive styling and a fabulous exhaust note could no longer be had for less than £10,000, think again.
Don’t forget the benefits of the Tasmin’s mongrel heritage – being a parts bin special composed of bits of Ford, Jaguar and Triumph (the retractable lights are powered by TR7 motors) spares are affordable and easy to find. Growls come free.
1982 TVR Tasmin
Private sale by Michael Eveleigh, Newton Abbot, Devon
Asking £8995. 01647 221575