Not Our Project This Time: 1983 TVR Tasmin

You may remember the Barn Finds project 1983 TVR Tasmin that was featured in our pages back in March 2016. It was a cool car that was eventually passed on to a reader. While not in as nice shape, this silver 1983 Tasmin may offer a similar experience to the right buyer. It’s listed for sale here on craigslist in El Monte, California. Thanks to reader Jubjub for this wedgie find! The seller is looking for $5,200, but as usual with cars on craigslist, they may be willing to take something lower. The seller tells us it needs a total restoration.

When the Tasmin was introduced in 1980, it was pretty much the only mass-produced car that out-wedged the Triumph TR7 and TR8. This Hemmings article goes into a lot of details on how to pick out a good one. By the point this one was produced there had already been a round of improvements. The basic 280i continued through 1987 without too many changes, but then TVR went to town.

The ultimate TVR wedges were the 420 and 450 SEAC cars, which were based on the Tasmin but were fitted with powerful versions of the  ubiquitous Rover V8. What did SEAC stand for? Special Equipment Aramid Composite, which meant that around 20% of the body was made from a Kevlar composite, unlike the original Tasmins which were 100% fiberglass. Don’t think too badly of that, though, as it didn’t stop TVR from getting a coachwork award at an auto show when it was introduced.

You might be wondering what’s under that wedgie skin. Since there’s no other pictures of the sale car, I found this picture of the chassis; as you can see it’s a very Lotus-esque backbone chassis but out of tubes. And yes, this is a later car with the V8 as opposed to the Ford V6 that powers all of the Tasmin models. As a side note, I went looking for what these cars cost new. Believe it or not, according to this Autoweek article the car stickered for $28,262! Wow! Well, it won’t take anywhere near that much to get this car–are you going to be the one that buys it?


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  1. Frank

    do I see evidence of minor fire damage on that hood vent?

  2. Paul

    I apologize if this was covered in a previous article, but how hard is it to find parts for these?

    • Ron Bunting

      it might be hard now ,but the mechanical parts were all English Ford and ther’re a lot of places in the UK that carry bits. The body and chassis are a different thing though as TVR went out of business quite a few years ago . if i were in the market for one I’d be looking at one their own V8 powered cars. Even the sound they make sends chills down the spine.

  3. Bob_S

    This car has been up for sale for a long time.

  4. TVRMK3

    Nearly all mechanical parts are readily available. Body parts are hard to come by but it’s fiberglass so you just glue it back together if you have all the parts. TVR’s for the most part are parts bin engineered parts meaning they used parts from other cars.
    I’ve had seven now and love the way they handle and look.

    Like 1
  5. Klharper

    Driveline parts are easy. It has a Ford cologne V6, ford transmission and a Jaguar rear diff and suspension.

    Most of the switch gear and lights are from other cars. For example rear lights are from a Renault Fuego, but they are flipped over and reversed. The fun is playing where did this come from.

    TVR has a pretty good cottage industry of parts

    • Concinnity

      On the later cars the front suspension uprights were Saab 900. The whole car was made of other maker’s parts like this, though on the later cars they did start making more of their own stuff, which included their own engines in their last few years. Hours of fun can be had on Google tracing which parts come from where-else.
      After being sold to a Russian chap, called Smolensky, who closed the company down.In June 2013, it was confirmed that Nikolay Smolensky had sold his entire ownership of TVR to a syndicate of British Businessmen led by Les Edgar, a millionaire British entrepreneur. The new TVR was announced at Goodwood Speed Week earlier this year, as seen here
      Again made using many other parts from others, including a Cosworth reworked version of the current Ford ‘Coyote’ V8.
      But they won’t be stocking parts at their dealers for the older models.
      Your best bet is contacting the local TVR club who’ll have people that know which bits are shared with other makers.

  6. JD

    A good friend of mine had one, sold it about 8 years ago. the 83 didn’t make it past the dealers (supposedly) as they didn’t pass US Regulations and only 50 were imported prior to being halted. They did distribute in Canada and EU. His car pops up on eBay from time to time, of course increasing in value each time. Last sale was from Canada about 5 years ago.

  7. ccrvtt

    That frame is so cool I’d be tempted to remove all the bodywork and drive it like a sand rail.

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