The TVR Tuscan – an alien’s car with solid investment potential!
And not being able to control something completely.
Two of my pet hates.
Yes, hate. A powerful term, but I mean it. The human attribute dubbed patience was not programmed into my brain when I was created, nor have I developed it, nor have I learnt it. In fact, I never will. I have merely found solutions to circumnavigate the real core issue; that I am extremely impatient and shudder at the notion of having to wait. If I want something, I want it now. In fact, why have I not got it already? Why did it not happen yesterday? Or the instant I thought of it?
It is a very destructive trait to posses and both my business and personal life have suffered at the hands of my impatient behaviour. However, equally, my lack of the substance in question has got me to where I am today. And I am very pleased with where I stand in life currently.
But in terms of motoring, it dawned on me the other day that there has only been one car that I have had to exercise patience with when it was working as it should. And by that I mean I am well aware and familiar with the need for tolerance and patience with any car, let alone a classic, when they go wrong, but when they are up and running, functioning perfectly, do you really need to be patient?
With a perfectly functioning TVR Tuscan, yes, you do. And now I will demonstrate that good things do indeed come to those who wait. And just so you know, typing this last sentence has made me shiver.
I pace up to the Tuscan, admiring it. What a stylish and aggressive design I had in front of me. I ran my hand over the rear of the car, over the roof line and halfway into the bonnet…stopping at the air scoops. I still to this day do not know why I did that. But I did. It just felt correct. I pressed the black button on the key. Two beeps. Two flashes of the indicators. I press the button under the drivers door mirror. I hear the solenoid jump into action as it should.
I continue to wait.
I continue, to continue to wait.
The drivers window slides down by six inches.
I wait and watch.
Just as I am about to pass into the phase ‘continue to wait’, I hear a whirring noise with a thump, and the door pops open by 2 inches.
I jump in. I close the door. Wow. Red leather and carpet everywhere. The window suddenly moves to the closed position. Solid metal vents, a gear knob that is freezing cold to the touch and feels like it would weigh 25kg if I were to take it off and try and hold it. I notice a rubber pump next to me on the seat…had a doctor or nurse left their rather dated blood pressure checking device behind?
No. After a few squeezes I deduced it to be the lumbar support. I decided to see how long the doors took to open from the inside. I push the solid metal button to the right of the stereo, producing a satisfying click, prompting the window to move down a little, followed by whirring sounds and a thump from within the door, which subsequently popped open. Each stage of action divided by waiting and continued waiting.
I close the door. Find the ignition barrel, embedded deep within red leather and carpet quite a way into the dash. Suddenly the drivers window closes. I turn the key. Nothing. Immobiliser. Fast forward in excess of ten button pressing combinations and waiting phases, I finally see an oil light on the dash and hear a fuel pump running. I bring the Tuscan to life by turning that key.
The good things had arrived.
No longer was I listening out for solenoid clicks or beeps, but being treated to a deep down hum from the exhausts and a full on mechanical symphony from the engine bay. The Tuscan’s straight six engine felt aggressive, sharp and violent straight away. Getting to grips with the solid metal pedals beneath my feet yet again required patience. The clutch travel was long and the surface slippery due to its polished finish. I had to get my seating position spot on to use it safely, which I fussed over for quite some time until I got it just right. I took time out to understand the digital readouts I had in front of me. There was a lot to take in, and making a decision with the technical side of my brain I settled on keeping the display set to show the water temperature, RPM, road speed and fuel level.
Now in any other car I would just begin my journey and then simply wind down the window or press a button to put it down for me, once I was on route. Not in a Tuscan. The dirty word patience yet again ruled the roost. It took time to locate the window control. Then I spent more time understanding it. I had to turn a dial anti clockwise to put it down, and clockwise to put it up. It was very sensitive. Lucky I am an all or nothing type of gent, window fully down it was. For a driver who wants to open the window just enough to let air in, not too much to create a draught to your ear, and perhaps adjust this a couple of times on a journey, either buy a BMW M3 or adopt my all or nothing approach. I am not telling you what to do, but I think you should be like Mike.
I took charge of the solid metal pedals and gear lever and began my journey. I wanted to be in complete control of this TVR Tuscan.
‘Not being able to control something completely.’
Remember that sentence? It lives just below my least favourite word at the very start of this article. Because it is my least favourite state of being. Again, destructive yet oh so productive.
But thanks to the Tuscan I have more respect for patience and more tolerance for lack of control. You know why? Because it was one of only a few times in my life that not being able to control something completely was a definitive ‘good thing’ that patience had delivered. Waiting and waiting for the doors to open and windows to work was well worth it. You see for me, ironically, with a performance car, I do not want to be able to control it completely, or master it. Because when you do manage to do so, the magic and awe dies. The fear dissipates and the whole performance element becomes normality.
The Tuscan was a monster. I have never driven a race car, but I think one will feel like the Tuscan. Raw. Unhinged. Unapologetic. Unrestricted. Unrestrained.
If I owned one I would never be capable of controlling it to its full potential on a fast sweeping bend. I do not have the driving skills to attain the measure of the throttle’s extremely long, and crucially responsive down to the very end pedal travel. I will always forget from time to time how to de-arm the immobiliser. Or that the fuel flap is accessed by opening the boot. Or the procedure to take the roof panel out, store it in the boot, take it out of storage from the boot and refit it. Or that if you ever suffer a flat battery, due to the battery being tucked away and sensitive electronics, a special set of leads, called an ‘Anderson plug’ if I recall correctly must be plugged into the floor of the car near the side sill. It would be hard to learn the double bonnet arrangement too.
I would never be able to master the Tuscan fully. And therefore complete control would always be out of my reach. Long live respect, fear and magic.
Stepping into a Tuscan is like you have landed on another planet and entered an alien’s spacecraft.
You take one look at the controls and say “This is not how we do it on Earth.”
The alien’s response is short and sweet. “We have always done it this way.”
And you know what…give it two weeks and you will have forgotten all about how you used to do it on Earth. And just like alien spacecraft, no more are being made and they are a rare sight in life. I personally believe the TVR Tuscan is a great investment and will appreciate like it accelerates in years to come. Brutally and uncontrollably.
The TVR Tuscan turned my least favourite phrase into a gift by making me respect my least favourite word. And that is why I love it.
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This article was written and published by Mike Atwal. Mike works for Trade Classics as an in-house journalist and copywriter and has many years’ experience in the classic car sector – for over 8 years he was the General Manager of the Classic Car Club in London and responsible for a fleet of over 100 cars worth multi-million pounds. So there’s not much Mike doesn’t know about makes, models, maintenance and idiosyncrasies of these old cars. Mike’s a true petrol head with a deep passion for the classics and he loves to talk cars all day, so why not write a reply on this article below.