What's the news?
It's more a question of what's old might be what's new. Legendary sports car maker TVR went the way of the Dodo two years ago, essentially because not enough people were buying its beautiful, noisy, fast cars anymore. Possibly because those beautiful, noisy, fast cars were also hopelessly unreliable and didn't have little modern touches like anti-lock brakes. Or airbags. Or any kind of safety system.
Still, from the late eighties to the early 2000s, under the charismatic leadership of former chemical industry magnate Peter Wheeler, TVR shone as a beacon of low-volume, high impact sports car making. Crude and lacking in modern tech the likes of the Griffith, Cerbera, Chimera and Tuscan may have been, but they were utterly gorgeous, ridiculously fast and those V8 and straight-six engines (designed by legendary engine guru Al Melling and made by TVR itself) sounded less like internal combustion motors and more like artillery barrages with wheels.
But, in an age when Porsche could sell you a Cayman S and Mercedes-Benz an SLK 55 AMG, the market for TVR's particular brand of lovely lunacy just faded away. Wheeler, shortly before his own sadly premature death, sold out to a young Russian millionaire Nikolai Smolensky. Smolensky kept TVR - and its haphazard Blackpool-based factory - going for a few more years, but then the sales and the money dried up and TVR was gone.
Or so we thought. In the past while, TVR's old .co.uk website has come, partially, to life again with a logo and the words 'Never say never...' Quite apart from the Bond allusion (Daniel Craig did say that 007's hobby was 'resurrection' in the recent smash hit Skyfall), is TVR actually going to try and make a comeback?
It's certainly looking that way. Steve Cropley at Autocar magazine spoke with Smolensky, who confirmed that the rights to the name and the cars had been sold to a Surrey-based entrepreneur, Leslie Edgar. Edgar then confirmed in an interview with Auto Express magazine that yes, plans were indeed afoot for TVR, but wouldn't be drawn on any specifics, saying that it will take "as long as it takes to get this right."
Which sounds like the right attitude to take. After all, while there's a lot of affection out there for TVR, any new owners are unlikely to be impressed by the sort of reliability woes that hounded the old range, and nor are they likely to be keen to swap their Boxsters or Z4Ms for something with the technology of a steam train, no matter how beautiful or fast it is.
TVR's old appeal was that the cars were as gorgeous, noisy and fast as any Ferrari or Lamborghini, but at a fraction of the price. That trick will have to be pulled off again, with the addition of reliability and modern technology, if TVR is to thrive again. Over to you, Mr Edgar.
Yes. If you're going to do this, Mr Edgar, please, please, please bring back the Griffith. Even with its Opel Vectra rear lamps, it's still one of the most beautiful cars ever made.
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When: May 2013
Where: Frankfurt, Germany
What: Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid
Occasion: Passenger ride and technology workshop
Porsche's first generation Panamera Hybrid really only suited markets where diesel power wasn't accepted, but the new plug-in version, called the Panamera S E-Hybrid, changes all that, marrying 416hp with a 71g/km emissions rating and genuinely usable electric-only range and speed. Our first taste was from the passenger seat, but it holds a lot of promise.
Model driven: Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid