Rare British Project: 1969 TVR Vixen

1969-tvr-vixen-project

After reviving our TVR, I’ve had plenty of dreams about finding another one of these awesome Brits. Sadly, they just aren’t all that common. Our Tasmin was powered by a wonderful Ford V6, but every time I drove it, I couldn’t help but dream about putting a V8 in it. Well, this example I came across here on eBay, sadly doesn’t have a V8. Instead, it has a Ford 1600 inline 4, which might not have tons of power but is a fantastic engine! You could cram a V8 into it, but I would leave the Kent where it is. You can view it in Potterville, Michigan and it currently has a high bid of $2,300.

1969-tvr-vixen-chassis

If you haven’t ever experienced a TVR, I can assure you it’s quite the experience. It wasn’t ever a very large manufacturer, so they had to resort to alternative building methods. Like all TVRs, this Vixen rides on a ladder tube chassis and that slick body is made of composite materials. This all adds up to a low curb weight and interesting handling characteristics. Our Tasmin’s V6 almost seemed like too much engine for it at times, so I have a feeling this 4 cylinder is plenty engine. It’s Ford’s Kent Crossflow, which is a great little engine that has been used for all kinds of racing. Finding performance parts for it shouldn’t be an issue and there is a lot of potential waiting to be unleashed from this engine.

1969-tvr-vixen-interior

When we bought our TVR, we were extremely nervous about finding parts for it, but it actually wasn’t that hard to find stuff for it. Items that are specific to the car can be tough to find, but most of the mechanical parts are Ford and can be found at most parts stores. Now finding interior bits and glass is a completely different story. You can find stuff, but it’s usually expensive. This one’s interior needs work, but is all there. If you have a good upholstery shop, your best bet would be to have them make you up some new seat covers. While they are at it, have them redye the carpets and it would look infinitely better.

1969-tvr-vixen

I’m a bit nervous about rust with this one. While fiberglass won’t ever rust, the tube chassis will. I see a few questionable spots, but hopefully it’s just surface rust at this point. Finding another chassis would be expensive, you’d be better off just buying a completely different car. So be sure to have a closer look at it before bidding! Of course, if you can get it cheap enough and are handy with a cutting torch and a welder, you could fix it up and have one amazing car.

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Comments

  1. Tirefriar

    Cool TVR. I wonder if the seller can be talked into parting with the custom custom wheel chock…

    • ron h

      Ha ha… made me look.

    • Ernie the Dancing Weasel

      Dude, that there is a genuine British Parking Brake…

    • wyatt

      Tirefriar…thats a genuine hunk of English corned beef….so the answer is no…

      • Tirefriar

        Ahh, shucks!

  2. Joe Howell

    This car, it calls to me……….

  3. Brakeservo

    Speaking of TVR’s and V8’s, Jack Griffith did exactly that 52 years ago with some inspiration from Carroll Shelby. And he produced a much faster car than the Cobra. He built 192 Griffith 200’s and I recently found and bought number 35. It requires complete restoration but is a worthwhile project.

    • Dolphin Member

      I saw a Griffith up close running in Canada years ago. The solid lifter sound of the engine was menacing and cool at the same time. The owner was driving it slowly in a built up area but I wondered how it would go with all that torque and so little weight.

      I have driven early Tigers with the 260 and the 2-barrel carb and they were pretty underwhelming. I’m guessing that the Griffith can get out of its own way pretty well. Any comments on that? Congrats on getting one of the 192 originals.

  4. Brakeservo

    Griffith promoted his cars ‘ back in the day’ as the world’s fastest production automobiles – zero to sixty in 3.8 seconds ( when you could get traction) and a top speed of 165. Others described the performance as “lethal.”

  5. wyatt

    Potential bidders would be wise to ignore this reviewers gross speculation about the frame. I posted that it was ROCK solid, because it IS rock solid, were it something otherwise you would be informed as such.This car was driven up from Fla, used for a few short years then stored in a secure semi heated garage for 20+ years until I brought it home with me. I have the Fla sales paper work to prove it. As for a V8 …why?? the Kent 1600 is the engine of choice and the best balanced. There is a reason Vixens are so highly prized over many other TVRs, they have earned it. I am glad the reviewer likes the car I am not so glad he tries to poison the well at the end with provable misinformation on my car.

    • Brakeservo

      What is “provable misinformation?” Sure sounds like an oxymoron to me, or maybe even governmentspeak??

    • Dolphin Member

      wyatt, it looks like you have added extra photos of the underside, so that’s good. I think they show that the tube frame is in solid condition.

      Nobody wants to engage in gross speculation or poison anyone’s well, especially about a car that they personally like. I don’t know how many underside photos you had in your Ebay auction when it first went up, when this Barn Finds page was written, but you have quite a few good photos now.

      Lots of sellers who ask good money for interesting cars don’t even bother to show underside photos, and you can probably understand how frustrating that can be for someone who wants to have a look at the car but can’t tell whether it’s even worth looking at. If you read Barn Finds much you will see how frustrating that can be for car guys.

      Nobody is trying to poison anybody’s well. We just want the information, and good pictures are worth a lot when you’re looking at a desirable car from a distance on the internet. I think your pictures show what anyone wanting to buy a TVR needs to know about the car’s tube frame.

      Like 1
    • Josh Staff

      Hi Wyatt, I’m sorry if you feel that I was trying to poison the well, that wasn’t my intention at all. I can’t come see the car in person and have to base my review of the car based on what I can see in photos. I see some surface rust on the frame and what looks to be some serious rust in the bottom radiator mounts. Since the car is in the rust belt, it just makes me nervous about what could be happening inside the frame tubes. I’d rather be cautious than sorry! I want to find a good home for this amazing car with an owner who will get it back on the road and enjoy it! Again. my apologies if you felt I was overly critical of your car, but I feel you can’t ever be too cautious when it comes to rust. I truly hope you find a good home for it and that you have success with you auction! Good Luck!

      • wyatt

        understood….not a problem and thanks,car guys are the good guys…:>)

  6. Wayne Thomas

    Modern engines negate the need for a V8 in these chassis. Ecotec to EcoBoost to Vortec 4200 allow 4cyl, V6 or straight 6 equal to or more powerful than an original V8 engine.

    • David Brandt

      If you want a rare car leave it bone stock

  7. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    The frame, where it can be seen, most likely is rock solid. Having been intimately involved with the frame repairs of two, the problems usually manifest themselves where the body has been bonded, in more than a few cases, to the frame, these areas are not visible. This type of mounting also precluded easy repair of accident damage when these were in production.

    Good cars, tall tranny tunnel hides a nice box section that provides stiffness.

    The Griffiths were great cars along with the Granturas?, if I remember correctly. The Griffiths did suffer from a too short wheelbase and the rear axles while fine with period rubber, suffered when wider tires caught traction as their diameter was a little small.

  8. Abarthbill

    Years ago I had a Griffith 200 for sale, Small block Ford 400 cu in,Gurney-Westlake heads, roller cam, beautiful restoration. Leather interior, Wilton carpets, excellent red paint.
    A Doctor came in to my dealership and was interested in it. After spending over an hour looking in every inch of the car, he said can I drive it?
    I drove it out of the city to a nice back road. He got in to drive and accelerating with the tail wagging and burning rubber in each gear, he quickly pulled to the side of the road. What’s the trouble? This is scary he said.
    I drove back to my shop, pulled inside, shut it off thinking this was a wasted afternoon.
    He walked around the Griffith twice and said, “Ill Take It”! And wrote out a check for the full asking price.

    • Tirefriar

      I believe the Doctor carried cash…

  9. Jwaltb

    Knew a guy who had a Griffith back in the day. Fast for sure. A great car until it caught fire and burned to the ground. I don’t think his was the only one…

  10. Bruce Best

    About the frame, you need to understand that much of the manufacturers technology was just above that of a home garage mechanic. If the frame is rusty in parts cut them out an remove them, weld in new metal, do the work properly and nobody will know the difference. There is a good chance that a tube or two has been kinked, rusted or otherwise bent and needs replacement. Just do it and go on.

    One proviso is MAKE CERTAIN YOU FIT. Not everybody does and if you do not fit you will HATE THIS CAR unless you have serious tendencies to suffer and feel pain. Strangely these are much better looking in real life than in photos and from behind the wheel more like a go kart with a good suspension. The engine and transmission heat is wonderful in the winter as is the fiberglass body. This is one you can play with in the winter time and not fear too much about rust. Only the frame as as I said that you can fix.

  11. GRAY WOLF

    I can supply a number of different wheel chocks as well as custom colors! LOL!

  12. Alan (Michigan)

    Daggone it.
    I was just in E.Lansing yesterday afternoon to work on my son’s scooter (inter-campus transport @ MSU) and could have probably arranged a look at this car.

    I travel frequently to the Western end of the state, not sure yet about this week though.

  13. wyatt

    HELP, how to stop the email notices…..

  14. marc c

    FYI The seats and door panels are not original. They are from a later M series.

    • wyatt

      actually I do not think so,no chrome adjustment lever at the base no tip forward lever in the side bolster. The seats you mention were standard Jensen Healey seats, had three JHs one a GT. The interior in the TVR matches everything else.No hit or mis stuff.

  15. Martin Horrocks

    Definitely respect this car and put in a V8 at your peril. If you want to find out what a swb and massive torque can do, go ahead. In the wet, even better……

    It´s true, the Griffith was a monster. Literally that. In UK in period they were famous for breaking halfshafts and 3 wheeling to a halt. Now, a rich and talented owner can get a Griffith to the head of a vintage race.

    The TVR chassis can handle more power, but 200bhp would be plenty, better from a light 4 cylinder unit. 150bhp from the Ford unit this car has isn´t difficult and would be plenty.

    Trim and spares issues are not a problem on these cars, they were built by hand.

  16. brakeservo

    Just for laughs and giggles – here’s a photo of my recently “found” 1965 Griffith that I will restore completely!

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