Camaro V6 Powered: 1978 TVR 2500M

This 1978 TVR 2500 looks like a solid foundation for a restoration project, and certainly a good buy at the current asking price of just $5,500. Although these light-weight British sports cars were known for their Ford-derived V8 powerplants in certain applications that likely yielded a very wild ride, this is the first one we can recall seeing with a 3.8L V6 from a Camaro paired to an S10 manual transmission. Find it here on Facebook Marketplace and located in Illinois.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Paul V. for the find. The 2500M would have originally used running gear from a Triumph TR6 of the same era, which included the engine, transmission, and differential. The engine wasn’t exactly exotic, and while it may have made it easier to prep the car for complying with U.S. emissions requirements, it wasn’t exactly quick. This example, despite being a project, looks straight body-wise, with no obvious signs of major bumps and bruises.

The Camaro V6 is an unusual choice for an engine swap, other than being readily available and cheap to buy and service. The seller doesn’t offer any details on the engine or how it came to be installed in a TVR 2500M, but it seems likely that it’s a case of needing a healthy engine that didn’t cost too much, and a 3.8L Camaro engine certainly fits that bill. However, if it’s exotic you’re looking for, you best start looking for a replacement.

The interior is a bit of a mess, but the dash looks in better shape than I’d expect. The random alloy wheel tossed inside about sums up the state of the car, along with the wires dangling out of the dash. The seller notes a front windscreen will be included but that the rear window is missing. It seems like TVRs are often found in this state of affairs despite their modestly exotic qualities and razor-sharp handling – for some reason, they just aren’t cherished. Hopefully, this one comes back to life. Would you keep the Camaro drivetrain?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Oh, for cryin’ out loud, Bob Tasca Sr. is spinning in his grave. I believe he raced TVR’s, with Ford motors, this is downright blasphemy. I just don’t get what’s with people, no scruples whatsoever? Is a Chevy motor really that superior that one needs to ruin it’s originality? I don’t think so.

    Like 9
    • JMB#7

      I don’t think that the 2.8 liter Chevy V6 was much good in any Chevy… or anything else. Like the seller says, “does not run”. I looked at the listing and still no pictures of the engine bay. Makes me wonder if the engine is just sitting on a skid somewhere. I would not be opposed to swapping back to the original engine, or many other options, but not the 2.8 liter Chevy V6.

      Like 6
      • Chris

        The 2.8 liter is a 350 shrunk 2 cylinders
        It can be built to over 400 horse and still sip gas really not bad

    • DavidM

      The 2500 had a Triumph sourced engine. If one is a stickler for orginality, why is a Ford engine a better choice?

      Like 3
    • JMB#7

      I mis-read. It is the 3.8 liter, not the 2.8 liter. I stand my ground about the awful things I said about the 2.8 liter. At first I thought the 3.8 liter would be a little better than the 2.8. But then I remember where I crossed paths with the 3.8 liter. Oh yes, it was the horrible intake gaskets that encouraged coolant to seep into the oil. Oh my, you have got to love that. But don’t mind me, because if I engine swapped the TVR, it would have a 13B rotary, or just maybe a BMW motor.

      Like 2
  2. Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

    Finding a rear window for this car could be a serious challenge. If you found one, it might cost as much as the car itself. Try finding a 65-67 Barracuda rear window for less than $2500 and they weren’t as rare.

    Like 9
  3. rustylink

    rear glass for hand made British roadster should be easy and cheap to get from Safelite….

    Like 5
  4. Ed Hardt

    Based on the photos provided, I bet the engine compartment is something to behold.

    Like 6
  5. Mike Hawke

    I bought one with a missing window nearly 30 years ago and ended up using Lexan.

    Like 9
  6. CCFisher

    A 2500M would have had a Triumph 2.5L inline 6, so the GM 3.8 is something of an upgrade.

    Like 2
  7. Bryan Cohn

    Assuming its the 4th Gen 3.8 V6 it made 200 hp at the crank compared to the TR6 engine that made 150 hp at the crank. The torque increase is negligible as the 3.8 makes 225, the 2.5 TR6 makes 215. Both engines are HEAVY lumps of 13th century coal. There are so many engines that make more power and torque and weigh far less available, it makes this V6 a lazy man’s journey to nowhere.

    Like 4
    • Husky

      Yea, I would go for a .318 Poly Swap.

      Like 1
  8. 767driver

    Only the early non-US TR6 engines were rated at 150hp…and probably never actually made that much power. The Lucas petrol injection and agressive cam timing made those early cars difficult to properly tune. All US cars were rated at 104hp with the ZS175 carbs. A decent US TR6 only puts about 75hp to the wheels.

    • tompdx Member

      I installed the P.I. system on a stock, U.S. market engine in my TR250. It had so much horsepower that I destroyed the rear end … and a few tires!

      Like 1
  9. dr fine

    Plastics4performance has lexan rear windows for £330.00 in a variety of shades and thickness, and three vent ports are optional.

    Like 4
  10. dr fine
  11. wizzy

    sold

  12. chuck hoar

    For a short period of time in the early 70’s L was the Rhode Island dealer for TVR. My dealership was located in East Greenwich, RI. The car was powered with a TR-6 engine. Very little support from the factory. They majot dist. point was located in L.I. NY. I wish they like the old days when powered with a Ford v-8.

    Like 1
  13. gary martin

    has any looked at the front suspension of one of these things,yes they use triumph herald trunnions and not the bigger stronger tr6,i had a friend who had the same 2.5 triumph powered in the uk and the night before him and my brother where doing over 120mph as he was pulling onto my drive at less than 8mph in reverse when the trunnion gave way and the wheel went under the car,it was a right royal pain to jack it up and get it onto the drive using the jack as the front wheel,needless to say my friend was white in the face as to what would have happened at 120mph,i dont think he would be here today so remember guys these thing where crap in 1969 and tvr did not get any better with age,for the life of me i cannot understand why TVR did not use stronger components it could only be one thing cost,its like the sunbeam tiger that chassis was only ever meant for a Hillman minx 1500 engine in its original form way back in 1957 and today i see cars with upwards of 400bhp+,so remember English engineers could only build in a fudge factor before you start wacking in those great big heavy lumps!!

  14. Mitchell Ross Member

    The Camaro engine referred to above that had intake manifold issues was the 3100, This Buick 3800 is about as bulletproof as can be. The turn of the century Camaros with this engine ran great and were the cars to beat in their Autocross class which included Integras and Mitsubishi Eclipse turbos. This TVR is 1500lbs lighter so I’m sure it will be a blast.

  15. passed 2500 M owner

    My warmed up 2500 M TVR with the triumph 6 cylinder made 150 at the tires. You should put a HONDA S2000 engine and tranmission in all TVR’s .

  16. Mark Green

    Car is safely home in Louisiana with my.other 1974 2500m. Goimg to take some time to figure drive train. Leaning back ford but we will see. The frame is in fantastic shape have a body off sandblasting and recoated

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