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V8 Swap Project: 1972 TVR 2500M

Vintage TVR cars remain one of the hidden gems of the 1960s sports car scene, somehow remaining surprisingly affordable despite the impressive pedigree of this unique British marque.  With a history of high-performance models that were serious competitors on almost any road course they found themselves on, the TVR brand seemingly has all the trappings of a classic – so why do so many cars like this 2500M end up as forlorn cast-offs in need of rescuing? This 1972 2500M is listed here on eBay for $14,500 with a variety of spare parts included, such as a 4L Rover V8 to potentially replace the standard Triumph inline-six.

I feel like we often see TVRs appear for sale as projects versus running, driving examples, and very rarely do we see just a nicely sorted driver. There will be some that appear each year as completely restored cars pulling big money, but nothing in between. The seller is asking a fairly heady number for a car that needs everything, though I will give it a bit of a bump for that awesome color. The TVR has been completely disassembled for restoration, which is half the fun; putting it back together is where time and money collide to test the mettle of the individual who has chosen to take on its restoration.

Even with the humble Triumph six-cylinder engine, the 2500M was a thrill machine thanks to its light-weight and tidy proportions. Even with just over 100 horsepower and 117 lb.-ft. of torque, the TVR could reach 60 miles per hour in under 10 seconds. That’s thanks to a curb weight of right around 2,000 pounds, which was due in large part to its fiberglass construction. The seller doesn’t disclose whether the original engine has any life left in it, but the option to convert V8 power is certainly tempting and is a classic recipe for building a mini Cobra killer in your own garage. The seller is including the aforementioned Rover V8 and a new Borg Warner T5 5-speed gearbox in the sale.

The interior is more complete than I expected, with a complete dash and gauges still presents. The three-spoke steering wheel will hopefully be carried over following any restoration attempt, and the seller notes that an original sunroof panel, seats, and trim are all included, and that the TVR is rolling on four new tires. Other goodies he’s throwing in include a Dallow aluminum bell housing, a lightweight flywheel, and a clean California title. Overall, this is a big project, but far too many of these TVRs end up as basket cases despite their enormous potential. Here’s hoping this one comes back to life soon.

Comments

  1. Avatar photo Ken Nesbit

    Yeah….love the cars but $14.5k is a bit ambitious….

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo James Stone

      I’m interested but can’t seem to find any contact information. Any help would be appreciated.

      Like 0
  2. Avatar photo bobhess Member

    Nice under shots and parts pictures. Wonder what the car really looks like? Price too high for condition of the car.

    Like 10
  3. Avatar photo Danno

    I’m pretty sure these were offered with a 289, for a few years. They look fantastic with the wire wheels, must move like stink. A Coyote swap would make the most sense to me, although I am not familiar enough with them to know whether the frame would require bolstering/replacing.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Charlie

      It wouldn’t fit without frame modification.

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo schooner

        Ecoboost? 300 hp, all aluminum, lighter and mount further back than the Triumph?

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo Stan

        3.7 Cyclone 🌀 Ford.
        All aluminum, liteweight powerhouse.

        Like 0
  4. Avatar photo Chinga-Trailer

    nearly 60 years ago Jack Griffith, a Ford dealer and Cobra racer built 192 Griffith 200 sports cars, using a TVR Grantura with the 289 V8. Because the Griffith was 500 lbs. lighter it was the only production car faster than a Cobra. I owned the 36th Griffith built for several years.

    Like 6
  5. Avatar photo Paul B

    The asking price is insane for a disassembled car on which absolutely everything must be addressed. That’s money the buyer needs to actually do the work to make the car actually worth something. I see a lot of these crazy asks lately.
    Everyone I’ve ever spoken with who’s driven a Griffith 200 with the Ford V8 says it is terrifying to drive. I would bet the Triumph 6 as used in the TR5/250/6 is plenty adequate for this chassis and short wheelbase.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Michael Hullevad

      The small chassis was not meant to be equipped with a heavy
      V8. A Buick Alu would be interesting together with a manual 5-speed. But it is a hell of a long and expensive restoration.
      How will it handle on the winding roads?

      Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Keith K

    I’ve never owned one but came close. And it’s still on my wish list but not this one! I’d rather spend just a bit more and have a decent driver.

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Joe Haska

    What a great buy, spend 14 K and then get to spend another 30 k to have a very unique fast car. Only a deal a true car guy would like.

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Charlie

    The car is not a 2500M. It is the earlier model, a 2500. The M has a different hood and tail end. May have the earlier chassis as well. No info on the condition of the chassis but if it’s been in CA it may be nice.
    I’d offer the seller less money and have him keep the V8 stuff. Not good for the value.

    Like 2
  9. Avatar photo chrlsful

    “M” or not these were pretty close “lookers” in the day (long hood, 2 seat, vert, power to weight, FB, light, sporty). These were once 15 sec cars that handled well. The Griffin (Jack Griffin) was the one (albeit much later) that could handle a bent8. For looks onea da Sonnets might fit the same bill, datsun, all getting phased out @ this time. I liked the wolwo ES, MGBGT, etc. Almost all to be hoped up. Jag/AM out of my price range along w/2 upper Italians. This is priced w/the latters & should not B due to condition (Chassy’n what the heck’s goin on widat paint?). I’d buy it simply for the spares (alu ‘buick’ motor).

    Danger signs: sits apart.
    One- is it all there? What is in the car is easily ticked off on the list. The rest? who nos.
    Two- is storage and reassembly. Boxes all over and what goes where on the car ~ No fun wrkin on some1 else’s junk. Points off: 3 – 5K$ in my world (kinda isolated out here in NM’s Land).
    Thnx Jeff, good memories…

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo jwaltb

      Could you repeat that in English?

      Like 3
  10. Avatar photo Jim Liberty Member

    I’m just finishing a 1974 – 2500M. The paint restoration on the crazed fiberglass cost almost as much as the car. …….Jim.

    Like 3
  11. Avatar photo scottymac

    Check for chassis rust. I believe TVR had to widen the frame to get the V-8 to fit.

    Like 2
  12. Avatar photo jwaltb

    Visible frame rot, bitsa, “my loss is your much bigger loss”. Hard pass on this one. Also knew a guy who had a new Griffith, very fast until it caught on fire and burned to the ground.

    Like 2
  13. Avatar photo JT

    minivan taillights-?

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Jt

      excuse me — way prior to “mini-vans” — probably a Buick

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo JT

      excuse me – way prior to mini-vans– probably from a buick

      Like 1
  14. Avatar photo Joseph Meccia Member

    Always loved the TVR’s. There is a slight left sided cramp when you drive them. This car has potential but not in the $14K range. To me, more like a $5-6K starter project!! Everyone today thinks they have gold! Some are silver and most are bronze or tin but still thinking they have gold!!!

    Like 1

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