Peter Wheelers car, courtesy of Oliver Edwards

Hot news for TVR fans is that Automodello™ has just announced two exciting new 1:43 resin models are scheduled for release this summer. The 1977 TVR M-Series Turbo Tribute Edition of Peter Wheeler’s car in red and in RHD (Ref. AM-TML-MST-TE) will be limited to only 123 pieces to commemorate Peter’s 23-years as chairman of TVR. This will be priced at $119.95 (approx. £78).

Image of the car once owned by Gerry Sagerman courtesy of current owner Bill Sanford, TVRCC North AmericaWhile the 1975-1979 TVR M-Series Turbo Homage Edition in black and in LHD (Ref. AM-TML-MST-HE) will be even more exclusive with a build of just 24 pieces and a price tag of $235 (approx. £152.85). Gerry Sagerman, the North American importer for TVR at the time, will be personally hand signing each of the certificates for the Homage Edition models.

For those of you who like a little more background to your models, Oliver Edwards, the pre-1980s' Editor of TVR Sprint magazine, who has been working in close consultation with Automodello™ on this project, has kindly supplied us with a potted history of the TVR M-Series and the Turbo range…

Magazine cover cover, courtesy of Oliver Edwards

TVR M-Series and the Turbo range

TVR replaced the Vixen series with the M-Series in 1972, with a stronger and more refined chassis and sleeker bodywork. The ‘M’ stood for Martin Lilley, owner of TVR Engineering Ltd and the driving force behind the new model.

The old engine choice was carried over: the Ford powered 1600M, Triumph powered 2500M mainly for the US market and the Ford V6 powered 3000M. All were fixed back coupe models, but in 1976 they answered the major criticism of the model by introducing the Taimar, which had an opening tailgate.

In 1978 came the 3000S, a convertible version, which was very popular but sold for just two years before the entire M-Series range was replaced by the angular Tasmin series (often referred to as the 'Wedge') at the start of the 1980s.

In the 1960s TVR had built the Griffith and Tuscan models with Ford V8s and Martin Lilley wanted a performance flagship but without using a heavy American engine. The answer came from the small Midlands tuning and racing firm of Broadspeed, whose owner Ralph Broad had developed a turbo charger conversion for the Ford V6 engine, as used in the Capri and Granada. He initially wanted to market this as a modification for Ford owners, but the oil crisis of the mid 1970s made this plan unfeasible.

Martin Lilley saw this as the ideal way to obtain his flagship and provide outstanding performance with very little changes to his current range. The 3000M already came with a Ford V6, so it was just a case of offering a turbocharged option. When the 3000M Turbo was launched in 1975 it was the first British production turbo charged car, and proved devastatingly fast.

In 1976 it was joined by the Taimar Turbo, and in 1978 by the 3000S Turbo, and the three ran alongside each other until the end of 1979. In 1978 Motor tested a 3000S Turbo and found that at certain speeds it would out accelerate the new Porsche 911 Turbo and Ferrari’s 308GTB, both of which were far more expensive. It ran a front cover (above) showing the car with the headline “TVR Turbo - World’s fastest soft-top?”

To say that the turbo was a production car is rather optimistic, in a little over four years just 63 cars were built, 20 3000M turbos, 30 Taimar Turbos and 13 3000S Turbos.

It is reckoned TVR lost money on them, but it was a fantastic image builder and helped pave the way for the big engine performance models of the 1980s and 1990s.

In 1977 a wealthy chemical engineer and sports car fan called Peter Wheeler bought a Taimar Turbo and loved it, but it wasn’t without its problems. He always took the car back to the TVR factory for servicing, and when TVR ran into cash flow problems in the early 1980s he ended up buying the company from Martin Lilley. He ran TVR for over 20 years and turned TVR into a household name with models such as the Griffith, Chimaera, Cerbera and Sagaris. It is that original red and silver Taimar Turbo which Automodello™ is to recreate.


Pre-orders are now being taken.


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Peter Wheelers car, picture courtesy of Oliver Edwards