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For the most part I would relate sensuality – or sex – with curves. And just to be precise, yes I’m talking about cars. But lately I’ve found myself getting rather turned on by TVR’s famous wedge, where every line was created using a ruler.

I’m not entirely sure where it all started, but it might have been with the purchase of my wife’s Rover 3500. That little Buick/Rover 3.5-litre V8 is sensational. And so is the crisp SD1 shape created by David Baches. From there, slowly but surely, something started to develop within me – perhaps there were other beautifully sharp designs, other than the big Rover saloon, which utilises the aurally pleasing V8.

One example could easily be the equally British TVR. The companies most successful period was virtually based around the use of the aging Rover engine. They also utilised it in their nineties Griffith which arguably turned out to be TVR’s biggest success to date – rightly so, as it in my humble opinion is one of the sexiest cars of that decade.

The Griffith of the nineties was a monumental hit for TVR.

But that was far from the first time TVR used the Rover engine: The same powerplant (even in the same trim, i.e. 4-litres, fuel injected and pushing out approximately 240 horsepower) was installed in the less spectacular TVR S-series from 1986. Equally a lovely sportscar, but also quite different from the 1991 Griffith seeing as the S-series had a very retro-inspired design with heavy influences from their M-series dating back to the seventies. Nonetheless, it proved to be a hit, and the S-series sold (by TVR standards…) quite well.

Can you tell the difference? Is this a 3000M from the seventies or a S-series from the eighties?

However, they actually used the Rover engine even earlier than that: In a car which has been relatively overlooked by classic car enthusiasts – the TVR wedge-series. That was of course not their official model name, as the first incarnation from 1980 bore the tuneful name “Tasmin”. But you only have to grant the car one quick glance to understand why its unofficial nickname quickly became the Wedge.

The TVR Tasmin was introduced in 1980, initially as a coupé.

One would truly struggle to argue that the design by British Oliver Winterbottom is anything but super sharp and crisp. Granted all of the proportions are perhaps not in perfect harmony, and some might feel that it simply has too much edge. It almost makes a series 1 Lotus Esprit look nicely rounded, and that takes some doing. Initially it was presented only as a coupé, but the later convertible – even without the angular sloping roofline – is every bit the wedge too.

What a shape! – all by ruler of course.

Enginewise they started off with Fords Cologne 2.8-litre V6 with 160 horsepower, which was enough to the first wedges reasonably rapid cars. Then in 1983 they raised the bar significantly with the V8. The first cars made due with 190 horsepower from 3.5-litres, but TVR knew that there was huge tuning potential in the V8, and off they went! In the Wedge-series they ended up pushing out a healthy 325 horsepower towards the end of the eighties, which propelled the small sportscar from 0-60 mph in a mere 4.5 seconds. Back then, that was simply sensational.

The most extreme were the SEAC-models.

Less could of course suffice. I personally feel that especially the 390i model from 1984 – 1989 is a commendable compromise with its 275 horsepower V8. One of my feinschmeckerfriends coined it as the AC Cobra of the eighties.

Viewed as a classic car, the rarity is of course an added bonus.

Those are of course big words which could easily be challenged – but considering that the Wedge-series is among those few classic cars which haven’t (yet) been hit by silly hikes northbound in value, you certainly get a lot of bang for your buck. Around £ 10,000 should get you into 390i territory and you might be lucky and find the original 350i for as little as half of that.

But why not simply buy a Griffith from the sixties and get yourself a real classic? Because these are in fact very like the AC Cobra – which reflects in their price as well.

I’ve recently found myself trawling the internet for TVR’s wedge, but I’m still quite ambivalent: On the one side, I’m drawn in by just how much sportscar you get for your money – let’s just call it a poor man’s Cobra. But on the other hand, I’m just not sure how I feel about that design. It’s wedge on speed!

We all know that curves are sexy.

So the question isn’t whether you get a lot of sportscar for your money with a TVR wedge. I believe that goes without saying…

Rather, the big question is: Do you get a sexy sportscar? I frankly can’t decide. Some days I love the idea of a square-cut wedge of an eighties V8 sportscar with power and attitude in bulk. Where other days, I struggle to come to terms with the exaggerated absence of curves.

What say the readers: Is “wedge” sexy?

Is wedge sexy too?

12 Responses

  1. Tony Wawryk

    I like the earlier TVR’s quite a lot, and also the wedge-shaped Tasmin – reminds me a little of the Concorde with it’s “droop-snoot” profile – which is no bad thing imo. This is very different to the droop-snoot Firenza, which actually doesn’t droop at all and is, in my view, incorrectly named, but I digress. I’m not a fan of the later, shouty “look at me” TVR’s, far too unsubtle and attention-seeking for my liking, despite the curves. They do sound great, though.
    Is the Tasmin sexy? Difficult to say – but it is very definitely cool.

  2. Claus Ebberfeld

    As I wrote I am very ambigous towards the wedges. I though I had one of those periods where I gravitated more towards traditional curves – but then a buddy posted a photo of a black one for sale and I was immediately turned on once more. It’s been like that for years!

    I guess I need to live it out at some stage. Maybe after the RX-7? Would be handy to deliver it to Anders in England only to drive a TVR on the way back :-)

  3. YrHmblHst

    Hmmm…sexy? I dunno. How can something be sexy without 6″ heels and…oh, uh…um…er…anyway… not sure I can answer that one exactly, but i can say I like the coupe very much. The roadster just doesnt look right to me eyes, but what do I know? I like early Esprits, TR7s and Plymouth SuperBirds too.

  4. Anders Bilidt

    I’m not too sure the TVR wedge is outright sexy. But it most certainly does appeal to me nonetheless! A SEAC would obviously be the one to have, but prices have actually already moved sharply upwards on that one. Short of that, I think I would opt for a rare 390i FHC. But actually, it’s the base 350i Convertible which is damned good value-for-money…

    Claus, I’ll see what I can find for your return trip from the UK. How long do I have…?? ;-)

  5. Niels Bak

    I just bought one in Sweden in pristine condition. And no it’s not sexy it’s cool. But I can assure you that you feel really sexy driving it! I’ve been looking at for years but looking at it does not ad up to seeing it in reallife, hearing it and driving it. It totally changes your perspective of the car. To quote a review from 1984: “There are quicker accelerating rivals like the Lotus Esprit Turbo for instance, but few get the adrenaline flowing quite so freely. Off the line, the Blackpool Bomber is sheer dynamite. Figures alone tell half the story”. So remember to buy one!

  6. Anders Bilidt

    A massive CONGRATULATIONS with your wedge TVR!
    It’s always interesting to hear from an owner. It certainly adds an extra element to our various wet dreams… ;-)
    Niels, may I ask which wedge you own? Coupé or open? 6-cylinder or V8?

  7. Nick Campbell

    Good to hear my Scandinavian friends talking about 80’s wedges with such enthusiasm. A picture of my 1985 390i on its way to a specialist after being in storage for 12 years. Whether this car was fitted with the 3.9L engine originally or not I cannot be sure but will try to investigate.

    All the best

  8. Anders Bilidt

    @nick-campbell, what you have there is quite possibly – to me at least – the very ultimate TVR wedge. I’ve always been more of a fhc guy than I have been a dhc guy – regardless of marque and model, I love the 390i and even think that your TVR’s particular shade of blue is the perfect colour for a wedge TVR. Yes, I’m currently experiencing quite significant automotive jealously… ;-)
    Nick, once you have it back on the road again, please do drop by the north Peak District. I would love to see it in the flesh…

  9. Nick Campbell

    Hi Anders, the car has gone for a body off restoration so will not be on the road until summer next year. I live in Lancashire so the Peak District is not very far away and has some fabulous roads for keen driving. I have owned FHC wedges for the last 25 years – a S1 Tasmin 280i, 1984 350i and this car pictured. I’m glad you like her, the picture is not great, the colour of the car is grey. You can take her for a drive next year which may either sway you away form the wedges or get you reaching for your wallet & scouring the classified adverts!

  10. Anders Bilidt

    @nick-campbell, well, you’re not far away at all then! And yes, I too quite enjoy the fabulous roads of the Peak District. Best of luck with the restoration! Once your TVR is back on the road, by all means do contact me. I would very much appreciate experiencing your 390i fhc up close and personal.
    Hmmm… though I can already tell you now which way I’ll sway. Just revisiting this article has me searching the classified’s for some TVR wedge… ;-)

  11. Don

    I have the big brother if the TVR, the Lotus Eclat. The confidence on the ride, visiting the garage and looking back on the parking lot where it stands proud out of the boring mainstream curves tell you every time : yes! Wedges are super sexy. Buy it!


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