Rare V6 Wedge: 1986 TVR 280i Convertible

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

There is a group of British car producers that are sometimes affectionately referred to as “men in sheds.” The term acknowledges that these companies create their products in humble facilities rather than the gleaming factories utilized by larger organizations. Lotus began in that form, while the role calls included companies such as Morgan, Noble, and Marcos. Some survive and prosper, while companies like Marcos succumb to financial pressures. TVR is a survivor, although it is now a shadow of the company that was once the world’s third-largest specialist sports car manufacturer. One of its more recognizable ranges was the 1980s “Wedge” models, including this 1986 280i. It runs and drives but has cosmetic needs. However, enjoying this beauty by hitting the open road while planning a refresh might make it irresistible to some.

TVR introduced the first of its “Wedge” models, the Tasmin, in 1980. The company followed prevailing design trends with straight and hard edges and the appearance divided opinions within the company. The car evolved through the 1980s, earning the 280i badge in 1984. TVR employed a tried-and-true construction technique, bolting a fiberglass body to a tubular steel chassis that accommodated the mechanical components. It hand-built every vehicle and would personalize vehicles as one-off models if buyers would pay the price. This 280i rolled out of the cluster of sheds that represented the TVR manufacturing base in Blackpool, England, in 1986. The first owner ordered it in Italian Red, and potential buyers can consider it a survivor. The seller supplies underside shots confirming the chassis is rock-solid and the fiberglass body appears sound. There are minor cracks, marks, and imperfections. However, I don’t believe these require specialist attention. The car’s overall condition suggests that a competent person could address the shortcomings in a home workshop with off-the-shelf tools. The soft-top requires replacement because it appears to have deteriorated beyond the point of no return. The glass is clear, and the 280i rolls on its original red-centered BBS wheels.

Some classics reveal much about their specifications by their model designation, and the 280i is no exception. It is a genuine “parts bin special,” with Ford providing the 2.8-liter fuel-injected Cologne V6 engine, the four-speed manual transmission, and the front end. The company sourced the rear end from a Jaguar XJS, creating a car with an almost bulletproof drivetrain. The V6 produces around 150hp and 163 ft/lbs of torque, but with a curb weight of only 2,251 lbs, it could race from 0-60mph in 7.5 seconds before running out of breath at 133mph. It may not place mountains of power at the driver’s disposal, but the 280i features four-wheel disc brakes that stop the car on a dime. This classic has a known ownership history and has been maintained by the same mechanic for over two decades. It rides on almost new tires, and the only issue noted by the seller is a small engine oil leak. Otherwise, this is a turnkey classic the winning bidder can enjoy immediately.

TVR interiors are prone to deterioration, and decades of use can leave trim and upholstery looking tired and worn. This 280i is better than many, but the seller made changes that might not appeal to purists. The most radical was swapping the original seats for a pair from a Mazda MX5 Miata. They may be more comfortable than the leather-wrapped factory items, but the Black cloth doesn’t match the light trim that covers many surfaces. A JVC radio/cassette player occupies the spot reserved for the factory radio/cassette player, but there are no other visible additions. A close inspection reveals minor flaws and marks, although the interior is serviceable. The timber trim has survived remarkably well, and the new owner receives touches like air conditioning, power windows, and a power antenna.

Exotic sports cars often feature complex mechanical components that can cost a fortune to maintain. The 1986 TVR 280i suffers no such problems, making it attractive for enthusiasts with a DIY approach. This one needs love, but the parts required to return its panels and paint to their former glory are available. The seller listed the TVR here on eBay in Orlando, Florida. Bidding sits at $3,150, and with No Reserve in play, it is destined for a new home in a few days. The loss of the original seats is disappointing, but it isn’t the end of the world if the winning bidder prioritizes comfort over authenticity. I would be surprised if the price climbs beyond $9,000, making it a potentially affordable turnkey classic British sports car. That new home awaits, but could it be yours?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Frank TA

    Nice car. Seller is up front with all issues. Looks like a Triumph TR7.

    Like 2
  2. Jon Calderon

    I love it! Could be fun!

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds