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End of an era. Image by TVR.

End of an era
TVR says goodbye to car production in Britain.
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Britain's best-known and oldest remaining carmaker, TVR, is to cease production in the UK. The news ends months of speculation about the future of the Blackpool-based sports car company.

TVR initially announced plans to relocate abroad earlier this year, although as recently as last month it had said production would remain in the UK. About 250 jobs will be lost in the move and TVR is said to be currently involved in negotiations over redundancies.

TVR was bought by Russian billionaire Nikolai Smolenski in 2004, on the back of a period of relative success for the company. Despite a marked improvement in quality of late, demand for the glass-fibre muscle-cars has steadily declined, with production falling from a peak of twelve cars per week to just three. An uncertain motoring future and poor weather have been blamed for the slump in sales.

Smolenski had the following to say on the recent bombshell:

"We are extremely sorry that, after a period of uncertainty and raised hopes that we could continue production ourselves in Blackpool, we have had to make this decision... We need to secure the future of the company and move it forward. I am afraid we see no other way to do so."

He also went on to add that TVR will be making further announcements in due course, but that at present its efforts will be focused on the Blackpool staff and their families.

TVR began life in 1947 and was named after its founder Trevor Wilkinson, using the first, fourth and final letters of his first name. For many years the company used more established manufacturers' parts to construct its cars, such as the Rover V8. During the '90s the company enjoyed a period of huge growth and began to develop bespoke offerings, such as the AJP-engined Cerbera.

The news will sadden many car enthusiasts. TVR has almost single-handedly flown the flag for the British sports car in recent years, producing some of the wildest and most rapid machines in the world. The company is, in truth, as infamous for its reliability issues as it is famous for its flamboyance, although current models, such as the Sagaris and Tuscan, are much improved in this respect.

Plans are being finalised for 2007 runs of these two cars to be produced abroad. The engines and gearboxes are likely to be built in the UK, however. Let's just hope the move overseas won't dilute TVR's passion for building outrageous sports cars.

We'll keep you up to date with further developments as, and when, they come to light.

Will Nightingale - 26 Oct 2006

2003 TVR Tuscan S. Image by TVR.2003 TVR Tuscan S. Image by TVR.2003 TVR Tuscan S. Image by TVR.2003 TVR Tuscan S. Image by TVR. 

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