“Wedge Series” TVR: 1985 Tasmin 280i Convertible

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As Britain lurched through the inflationary, strike-ridden ’70s, auto buyers bid adieu to Jensen Motors, Wolseley, and Hillman, among others. Somehow, TVR managed to survive, selling its hand-built, fiberglass M-series cars (US readers might be most familiar with the 2500M) in tiny quantities. But the series was aging and as the 1980s brought a better economic environment, TVR recognized a facelift was required. It hired Oliver Winterbottom, responsible for designing the Lotus Elite S2 (not the pretty one!), and Ian Jones, also involved with Lotus as a chassis designer. The new model was the Tasmin. Its wedge shape was fashionable, it rode on a plastic-protected tube chassis with geometry similar to the Lotus, and it was powered by Ford’s V6 “Cologne” engine. Quick like its predecessors, but better furnished inside, only 1167 copies – both coupes and convertibles – were made from 1980 through 1987. Here on craigslist is a 1985 TVR Tasmin 280i, imported from Germany but now located in Mattituck, New York. This is round two for this car on craigslist; it was for sale in November 2022 priced at $17,500. Now the ask is $15,500.

Ford’s fuel-injected V6 2.8 liter “Cologne” motor was produced in Germany; with output topping 160 hp (though it was detuned to 145 hp for the US – making this import a bit more desirable), the mill is plenty potent for the lightweight Tasmin. A five-speed manual was standard, though an automatic was optional – almost none of these were sold. Four-wheel disc brakes bring the car down from its 130 mph top speed. This car has clocked just 20,400 miles, and it has a fresh clutch.

Customers could design their own interiors – TVR was happy to oblige. Seat coverings could be nearly any color, and were available in leather or velour like this example. The dash is trimmed in walnut. Electric motors run the windows – well, “run” is an overstatement as these often work at a snail’s pace. The car is equipped with air conditioning, but I’m willing to bet it’s anemic at best. A Boston Acoustics aftermarket stereo is in the dash. The top has three positions: a targa in the center can be removed while the rear folding section remains up, or it can be fully up or down.

This car has trim European bumpers although, by 1985, TVR was already adopting these for the American market. External trunk hinges harken back to the ’50s and ’60s. The trunk lid fit can probably be improved, though fiberglass cars often wear their panels haphazardly. The discount off the November price lines up with Hagerty’s estimate that a top-condition Tasmin is worth about $15k. Still, if you need a wedge series TVR, you can pay less; here’s a decent example that sold for just $6k early this year. What do you think it will take to get this one into a new garage?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Claudio

    I think a 4 cyl turbocharged ford engine and a steering mounted multispeed transmission would make this baby more enjoyable …overpriced as it sits

    Like 1
  2. TVRMK3

    All of the 280i series cars both in the US and Europe came standard with 4 speed transmissions and an optional automatic. If it had a 5 speed it was changed.

    Like 0
  3. Greg Gustafson

    All of the other convertibles on this site today were referred to as “drop tops”; this one didn’t deserve the hip name?

    Like 0
  4. Matt strus

    $15500? Hagerty will insure my 86 280i, very good/excellent condition for only $10000 unless I get an appraisal for them above that. I paid slightly more than $10000 for it.

    Like 1
    • PRA4SNW

      Can’t you get a declared value policy? That’s what I got on my 70 Corvette classic policy from Hagerty. I would increase the value every couple of years and it had a minor affect on the premiums.

      Like 1

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