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This Amphibious TVR is About to Resurface

by Nik Berg
2 May 2024 2 min read
This Amphibious TVR is About to Resurface

Enigmatic TVR boss Peter Wheeler was nothing if not ambitious. Under his helmsmanship the small British sports car firm designed and built its own straight-six, V8 and, V12 engines, and even had its sights set on Le Mans’ GT1 class at one point.

However, a dominant performance on the road and on the track wasn’t enough for Wheeler who wanted to conquer the water as well. Enter the Scamander with a name that would suit a Bond villain and a suite of abilities that even Q might have struggled to come up with.

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Wheeler’s blueprint required the Scamander to be lightweight and entertaining to drive on the road, have room for three in comfort and be able to cruise at eight knots.

“I created it for me, to be honest,” Wheeler told EVO’s Harry Metcalfe in 2008. “I enjoy shooting, sailing and driving on track, so I wanted something that could cover all these elements. I call it an RRV, for rapid response vehicle.”

Graham Browne, who styled the TVR Tuscan, T350 and Sagaris was given design duties and came up with the brutal bodywork, which combined a jet-fighter-like sliding canopy, a boat-like hull and a pickup bed. Quite the mash-up.

Initially the Scamander was powered by a two-litre motor and later fitted with a more gutsy 275 bhp Ford V6, driving the rear wheels via an automatic transmission. Mounted amidships, there was even the potential to fit TVR’s mighty 450 bhp, 4.5-litre AJP V8.

When Metcalfe drove the Scamander off road he noted: “There’s no real need to slow down—the supple, long-travel suspension softens the ride beautifully, as does the long wheelbase. It all feels so unconventional; a Defender would have you hanging on for dear life along here, but not the Scamander; the ground clearance must be twice as good as the Land Rover’s too. With a potent V8 installed mid-ships, this thing could give a Bowler Wildcat a run for its money.

“A few minutes later there are gasps of amazement as the RRV starts up and drives into the water, splashing its way to the middle of the lake. I’ve seen everything now.”

Sadly Wheeler passed away in 2009 at the age of 65, before the Scamander was truly finished, but now, thanks in part to Metcalfe, it has been re-comissioned and is set to make its public debut at the London Concours from 4-6 June. Metcalfe has also documented the car’s resurrection and a video will appear on his Harry’s Garage YouTube channel on 5 May.

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