After months of searching the wait is finally over when at 2014 Race Retro Silverstone Auctions we took the plunge and became the successful bidder for what we already regard as the perfect classic competition car in the form of this TVR 3000M.
Every single little grey cell in your head tells you to be very careful when buying anything at an auction, to bring an expert with you, talk to the owner and check the history. True we did talk to vendor Richard Thorne of Richard Thorne Classic Cars but due to the unique way that this car came into his ownership its history is completely unknown. In fact when the hammer dropped, apparently bang on reserve, we didn’t even know whether this car would start never mind go. The thing is that didn’t matter one iota.
Because this TVR 3000M had spoken to us in a way I can only try and explain. It said that yes it was tatty in places, had a few scars, but was an honest and if you looked carefully enough very well sorted race car in need of a new home. Look I did and everywhere I found the evidence I needed. Cooling ducts for the brakes, bracing for the roll cage, Perspex rear screen (complete with repaired crack) wild suspension geometry, decent Yokohama A032R track tyres, a plumbed in extinguisher, cooling holes drilled into the inner wings, sealed battery box where the passenger seat once was, oil cooler, alloy radiator complete with twin fans and a rev counter with one marker placed at 3,000rpm and another at 6,200rpm. That’ll be the power band then.
Driving this uncompromising TVR 3000M onto the transporter we hastily hired on Sunday evening after the dawning realisation we had just bought an untaxed and as yet uninsured highly modified classic competition car resulted in mixed feelings. Put short it sounded like a bag of nails inside, in fact it still does, the clutch was basically a switch, further evidence if needed, and it would not pull at anything below 3,000rpm. A combination that would risk taking the TVR completely over the top of the transporter rather than coolly ending up sat on the back of it. Still we passed that particular test after a few attempts and got her home safe and sound.
The following weekend after a pesky work commitment that put an unwelcome 200 miles between me and our new TVR 3000M and with the road tax and insurance sorted, more on which later, it was time to take our car out for a spin. We filled the 20litre square alloy tank that sits beneath a fireproof skin in the raised boot floor with super unleaded dosed with Millers VSPe lead replacement Octane Booster. This was based on an assumption that with no knowledge to the contrary the engine would need it. I then pumped the throttle several times, which promptly flooded it, before finally coaxing the Ford 3.0 litre V6 into action after several presses of the starter button to both annoy and excite our neighbours in equal measure.
Next after a lengthy painful and frankly embarrassing 24-point-turn in the close with no power steering to assist and tyres all below 20psi as it turned out the bright blue TVR 3000M finally faced away from its new garage home to begin a full 1.8mile journey to the next hamlet. Well a step at a time, no point breaking down miles and miles away. Having already given up on a smooth ride the experience next could only be described as brutal. This car had no notion of travelling slowly in any gear. Simply pulling away in first immediately equated to 20mph before any real pressure was applied by your right foot and don’t even think of second below 2,500rpm given the lumpy cam. Not to mention the noise inside which was unbearable; due I think to the fact the right hand exhaust pipe is jammed hard up against the underbody and chassis causing a deafening resonance inside. Needless to say and in summary the campaign by some to ban such vehicles from peaceful southern Cotswolds locations is already underway.
Following a few journeys up and back my short route and with temperatures and oil pressure settled, the latter at a healthy 75psi, it was time to see what all the fuss was about. Well the fluffing ended at around 4,000rpm and with the throttle buried the engine emitted a noise and I’m not exaggerating when I say would turn heads at Le Mans. Ford Capris never ever sounded like this, the motor in our TVR was an absolute gem and I was completely smitten. This car was indeed the real deal. That said in terms of pace it was fast but not devastatingly so and therefore I drew the conclusion that lap times would need to draw equally on the lightweight construction and go-kart handling as much as outright pace down the straights.
It was a few days later that work started to prepare our TVR 3000M for its first sprint at Castle Combe Circuit on Saturday 22nd March, an event still looking for entries and Marshals at the time of writing. Richard Thorne Classic Cars had recommended changing the oil and coolant and in doing so whilst also tidying other things as I went along I found a plug lead off, interesting. I finished the jobs I needed to do and then went out for another run, a full five miles this time before turning back. Brave doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Now the engine pulled smoothly all the way through and once above 3,000rpm cleaned up completely. Again allowing time for things to warm up provided an opportunity to repeat the previous test and when I did I had my first oh sh*t moment, TR6 brakes are OK, but just OK and I cannot emphasise enough the just bit of OK. This car was a monster, the acceleration in third was repeated in fourth and I bottled it way before the whole envelope had been explored. Which is just as well because the albeit brand new Triumph front callipers only just brought things back down again on time. Welcome to the world of classic competition car ownership, I love it, I love, I LOVE IT.
Which brings me back onto the subject of insurance and with a list of mods as long as your arm, no-claims tied up in the daily drive then £223.00 fully comp isn’t bad is it for a forty something year old living in the countryside. We therefore have no hesitation in recommending Heritage Classic Car Insurance for all your classic car insurance needs.
Next up for our TVR 3000M is the remaining preparation work required before its first sprint on 22nd March at Castle Combe Circuit. This will include a chassis spruce up and following a noise test at 108DBA new silencers fitted to the rear, as there is absolutely no space underneath. Initial test dropped the noise level to a more acceptable 99-100DBA. I can only hope and pray that the distinctive sound doesn’t completely disappear as that would be a crying shame, the world needs to hear it.
Follow further reports on this car here at ClassicCarsDriven.com and please contact Bristol Motor Club directly if you would like to enter the Castle Combe sprint yourself or can assist by marshalling on the day. Certainly if you can make it we’ll see you there for a catch up and chat.
How does this car make you feel?
In one word: Brutalised (in a nice way, if there is a nice way to be brutalised)
As a favourite meal: Phal curry with phaal sauce, fahl rice and faal poppadum’s
Anything Else: This is 70s classic driving hardened up to go well beyond the hairy chest stage
Key Ingredients: That noise, compact dimensions, classic styling, decent chassis, go-kart handling and basic Ford mechanicals.
With thanks to my wife Julia, son Alex and daughter Ashleigh, your husband and father loves you dearly. Matt x.
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