TVR Tuscan Driven

If magpies really are in the habit of collecting precious metal and sparkling gems, then if they were big enough surely they would collect TVR Tuscans.

Attracted initially by the pearlescent paint that changes like a chameleon in differing lights and then by the array of trinkets throughout the interior, sparkling inside the TVR Tuscan like costume jewellery. A feeling shared by this test driver staring through the windows at the shiny things, whilst trying to locate the hidden door release button. Finally, eureka, who’d have thought, it’s on the bottom of the mirror, obvious really. The exit is more tricky though because the electric doors are released by push buttons located either side of the radio where you might normally find switch gear for heated seats or other non-critical functions. Still you feel rather smug when you know that.

TVR Tuscan
Tuscan Twins on show at Neil Garner’s

Now be honest, when you see a second generation TVR Tuscan like this pass you by what do you think? Boy, they must be rich, crikey that’s loud, damn fool given the reputation for big bills and dodgy build quality. Or simply mid-life crisis? I bet whatever you think you don’t think, wow a Le Mans race car. But get past the completely over the top looks and that is exactly what has just driven past. Underneath all of that shiny paint and glistening slightly random interior of the TVR Tuscan sits a very serious bit of kit which given its looks is a big surprise.

When driving the TVR Tuscan the first thing that comes across is the weightiness of all the primary controls. The steering, pedals and gear shift all require a firm hand and foot to operate. The clutch is like a switch, either in or out and there is no slack anywhere in the drive-train. Simply brush the throttle pedal with your right foot and the TVR Tuscan Speed Six 370bhp motor propels the modest 1100Kg mass forwards with all the verve and determination of anything you might pilot on track. This car must be one of the best disguised road legal endurance race cars out there. So loud, so in your face that the chances are you’ve simply ignored it and stored it your brain as mainly show with some go.

TVR Tuscan
Don’t be fooled by the styling, this is a serious piece of kit

How wrong first impressions can be, the TVR Tuscan totally flies, is completely planted, on smooth surfaces at least and demands all of your respect. True the front-end of the car will skip merrily up and down over any road imperfections, causing the nose to jump away from apexes. Although I have to say the TVR Tuscan is equally quick to get itself back on track, with the rear behaving beautifully when the road is dry. I suspect if you ever see one of these cars taken out in the rain and returned in one piece, then either the driver has parked it around the corner and spent their time admiring the diamonds and emeralds inside. Or they have some decent skills and a large pair of pants. Because in terms of even the most basic of safety systems, such as anti-lock brakes (ABS) or traction control there is absolutely nothing.

Which of course makes the TVR Tuscan a must drive before you die experience. Get over the brashness and brightness, overcome the hidden entry and perhaps even more worryingly exit systems. Stick on a pair of lightweight driving shoes and go and have some serious fun, you won’t regret it.

The TVR Tuscan is a race car for the road that just happens to look a bit like Blackpool on a Saturday night.

How does this car make you feel?

In one word: Champion.

As a favourite meal: Lamb Tagine with couscous.

Anything Else: Slightly embarrassed if you can’t get in, or back out again. The latter particularly awkward if half the town you’ve arrived at has formed a circle to see what the racket is.

Key Ingredients: Bonkers looks, pace and performance

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With thanks to Great Escape Classic Car Hire

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