Rare Wedge: 1986 TVR 280i

The TVR 280i is a relatively attainable exotic that won’t break most project car budgets, and event decent drivers remain relatively attainable. This 1986 280i presents well with just 35,000 miles from new. These cars are all seemingly fairly low mileage, as I’m guessing most were used as weekend drivers. A pessimist might say like any British hobby car, only using it on weekends was essential to keeping it alive. This 280i is powered by the sonorous German-built Cologne V6 from Ford and paired to a four-speed manual transmission. It looks sharp on those BBS/Mahle wheels, a hallmark of the model. You can find the TVR listed here on eBay with bidding up to $7,800 and no reserve.

I’ve always loved TVRs personally, and almost bought possibly the world’s worst 280i last summer for $250. This phenomenon is not uncommon with the 280i, as it seems like many of the examples that pop up for sale have been left for dead for decades at a time. Why? I suppose like any vintage sports car, maintenance becomes an issue, especially with a non-existent dealer network, but it’s not hard to find decent spares given the robust enthusiast community that keeps these wedge-shaped classics on the road. And the sound! The Cologne V6 has excellent vocal cords when pumping through those distinctive twin mufflers.

In addition to the top being in good shape, the interior is holding up well, too. The hand-built construction of TVR cars was never hidden that deep beneath the surface, and I’m sure you can spot plenty of gaps and questionable switchgear up close. The wood trim, however, was top-notch and made the 280i appear every bit of the classic British roadster it was intended to be. All told, it’s surprising the 280i hasn’t become more of an “item” on the collector car marketplace, as the ingredients seem to be there for it to be worth more than they tend to trade for. This car looks particularly handsome with its silver exterior and navy blue interior combo. The interior also features electric windows and A/C, with the latter reportedly not blowing cool at this time.

The seller notes that the 280i comes with full documentation from new, including the original window sticker and manufacturer’s certificate of origin, factory service and parts manuals, and service history notebook. The fuel-injected V6 should be fairly easy to live with, and while you won’t necessarily find off-the-shelf parts at your local NAPA, enough cars used the Cologne mill through the years that it shouldn’t be impossible to keep it on the road. The seller doesn’t hide the fact that the 280i does have some flaws, including rust on the chassis, clearcoat fade, and a door key that doesn’t work. For the money, however, it’s tough to beat as a starter classic that’s surprisingly exotic.


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  1. Claudio

    A non op door key , well i ´m out !
    No, seriously these are nice cars and this one looks great
    If you cant fix minor stuff and you send it off to the shop any time something is wrong , you can’t have an old car
    I would love this but in order to get it into canada , i need to multiply by 2 and that breaks the deal as it would be underwater cost wise

    Like 4
  2. Howie Mueler

    This looks very nice with a nice interior, ends today.

  3. chrlsful

    essex went thru alot longer, more varied production, no? more durable. Came in superc & turbo…Was this 1 orig the bent4 (SAAB, tannus)?

    Lotsa them now. 60*, 90* some w/balance shafts (isn’t a v6 bound to tear its self apart?). Just got my 1st to own. Wanted the bent4 but gota 6 (fox wagon). We’ll see after a few years…

  4. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $7,800.

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