Your classics

Your classics: Peter Reid is going to the end of the road with his TVR Tuscan

by James Mills
20 April 2022 3 min read
Your classics: Peter Reid is going to the end of the road with his TVR Tuscan
Photos: James Mills

Peter Reid’s fondness for TVRs began in the most unusual of ways. Reid, a 71-year old retired sales manager for a paper supplier, has owned five – so far – and rather ingeniously devised a corporate entertainment wheeze which saw him invite prospective and existing clients to a track day where they could drive his TVR. It proved popular, and allowed Reid to expense the cost of the event, accommodation and, of course, the wear and tear on the tyres and brakes.

“I could take my customers out and let them enjoy a track day, at my company’s expense! They knew what I was doing – I was totally straightforward about it,” laughs Reid. It helped him develop productive relationships.

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The first trip was way back in 1996, at the fast Castle Combe circuit, in Wiltshire. He was using a 1991 TVR S3C, with the 2.9-litre Ford V6, which he’d bought in 1995. But as good as it was at a race track it proved frustrating on the road.

“The exhaust system went underneath the chassis, and I just drove around with clenched buttocks because if there was a stone on the road or a raised crest it would catch the exhaust and that would send shockwaves up and break the manifold. Every time you went over a bump you’d say goodbye to another exhaust system!”

Your classics: Peter Reid is going to the end of the road with his TVR Tuscan
According to Reid, Peter Wheeler, the MD of TVR at the time of the Tuscan, insisted that the bonnet be bolted down to deter any inexperienced tampering with the company’s prized AJP-6/Speed Six engine.

The S3C had to go. “I sat in a Chimaera, at Harrogate Horseless Carriages, in Hexham, Northumberland. Nigel Kemp, the owner, said ‘Peter, don’t take it out for a drive, because if you do you’ll have to have it – it’s nothing like an S!’. He was absolutely right. I was bowled over by the Chimaera.”

So bowled over was Reid that he ended up owning three Chimeras: a 4-litre with no power steering was followed by two 4.5-litre models with power steering. Which brings us neatly on to 2008, and Reid taking a fancy to one of the very last Tuscans off the production line.

“It was the future of TVRs. It has a 4-litre straight-six made by TVR in S spec, with somewhere between 360 and 400 horsepower. It’s a convertible Tuscan with Sparco seat frames that are supremely comfortable – the only really comfortable TVR I’ve driven.

“It should have cost £58,000 at list price, but because it was used as a motor show display car, I got it for £39,995.” He laughs, and adds he’s had offers for more than £70,000. “I said to my friend, ‘The problem is, my dear boy, if I sell it, then I won’t have a TVR.’ And to be honest, my life wouldn’t be quite as full as it is without a TVR.”

TVR Tuscan

Reid says that for as long as he’s alive he’ll take good care of the Tuscan, and rebuild it if it needs it – they’re going to the end of the road together. The chassis was given Waxoyl treatment from the first day of ownership. There have been two resprays – the second after a council gritting lorry shot-blasted it with salt and there followed a protracted claim against the contractor.

He has now racked up a healthy 28,000 miles in it, mostly on ‘interesting roads’ and trackdays. The interior looks as good as new, the leather wearing well, the aluminium pedal set sparkling away and the alloy-carved switchgear all unmarked. Does he subscribe to the theory that the long-travel throttle pedal is in some crude way TVR’s own form of traction control? “I’ve never really driven cars with driver aids and all that. My theory is the best way is to not use the brakes too much – look ahead, plan your approach and be aware. Then you shouldn’t need driving aids.”

As for the reaction a TVR like the Tuscan gets, still to this day, Reid says it never ceases to amaze him that people take photos and comment on it being a ‘cool car’.

What, dare we ask, has gone wrong? Surprisingly little is the answer. A heater matrix and a radiator have failed, but what’s that for a sports car with 14 years of driving under its wheels? Have they got a bad rep? “I’ve had five and they’ve never failed to get home.”

Along the way, you can bet that Reid has enjoyed every single mile.

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