Friday, July 10, 2015

1988 TVR 'White Elephant" Prototype

Founded in 1947 by Trevor Wilkinson, TVR steadily sloughed off its modest ‘kit car’ mantle, changed hands a few times, and moved its products upmarket. Although often dogged by financial instability, TVR became the largest independent sports car manufacturer in Britain. Regrettably in 2006/2007, TVR's manufacturing arm went into receivership. Nothing came of the 2008 relaunch and, despite much conjecture, this great British marque remains on hiatus.

In the late 1980s, TVR decided to give their Tasmin model a makeover, to hopefully make it relevant for the 1990s. Cued F120 SCK, the White Elephant is a one-off prototype built by TVR in 1988. it was commissioned by managing director Peter Wheeler, and used by him for two years. Amongst only a handful of surviving prototypes, it holds the distinction of being the sole TVR powered by an Australian Holden 5-litre V8. However, although thrilled with the supercar-slaying performance and chassis dynamics, supply problems with the Holden V8 were anticipated and the project was shelved. F120 SCK, which had garnered the nickname ‘White Elephant’, was laid to rest in TVR’s ‘Graveyard’, a large gravel area home to discarded moulds, panels and other abandoned projects.

Mercifully, the White Elephant not only survived many years of open-air slumber but, thanks to Howard Bryan, it’s been given a whole new lease of life. In July 2004, Howard bought the car from VTR through Peter Wheeler. Fortunately, the chassis was quite sound. It went to RT Racing for examination, bead blasting, repairs and powder coating. It came back better than new. The suspension bushes, bearings and links have all been replaced and higher-rated front springs fitted. The dampers are Protech, and there are new discs, calipers, and hydraulic lines. The Rover SD1 power steering system was also renewed. The engine was stripped, cleaned and rebuilt. Dyno testing revealed 440bhp @ 5000rpm and 380ft/lbs of torque. The Perspex rear vision strip and headlamp covers were remoulded from the originals. The interior is its aesthetic equal with wheat-coloured carpets, and ocean spray and butterscotch leather seats. The end result is stunning. (

(Photos from, &

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