There are a lot of things to look out for on TVRs, most importantly perhaps is to make sure that the chassis is in good condition so insist on getting it up on a ramp and having a good look underneath. Look especially for any corrosion near to where the chassis tubes go into the sills as that would almost certainly mean more corrosion inside the sills. Look as well at the condition of the interior, especialy look for signs of water ingress such as a smell of mustiness from the carpets. They all leak to a degree if caught in heavy rain but you don’t want one with rotten carpets and a pool of stagnant water under the seat. The seats surprisingly wear quite quickly (maybe we’re all lardies that drive TVRs) so make sure that they are in sound condition with no cuts/tears etc. If they are it’s not difficut to get them retrimmed but it’s a bargaining point. Check especially the condition of the rear screen (if a soft top). It will inevitably have a few slight scratches but avoid anything with major crazing again, unless you budget to replace it.
Check that the doors close without needing to be lifted to engage the latching mechanisim – this is a sure fire sign of dropped hinges and although not expensive to put right is a swine of a job to do.
Check that all of the electrics work as advertised, especially the alarm/immobiliser and central locking.
Don’t worry about mileage – high mileage TVRs are often amongst the best – but do ensure that it has been regularly serviced by either a dealer or an independent TVR specialist. Service intervals are 6k miles for minor services and 12k for major. On the test drive be very critical. Do all of the usual checks when buying a car but in addition, when the engine is well and truly warm, stop and switch it off. Check that it restarts when hot and if you can, repeat this 2 or 3 times. There is a well documented issue that some members have had with starter motors cooking due to their proximity to the hot exhaust on the V8s. There are 2 cures for it, depending upon how quickly you identify it, one of which is simply a “Modwise” cable and the other is a new starter.Have a trawl through the threads in the Club’s Discussion Forums as there is a lot of buyers’ advice and, preferably before you make an offer, buy the appropriate Steve Heath handbook. They’re available from the Club online shop.
Posted in: TVR Algemeen