The TVR Trident story is probably the most intriguing and dramatic chapter in TVR history. Between 1964 and 1966 TVR produced only four Tridents before losing the manufacturing rights to a local TVR dealer who started making his own (non TVR) Tridents. The TVR Tridents are unique in many ways: designed by an Italian/English designer, handmade by Carrozzeria Fissore in Turin and powered by an American Ford Cobra V8. They are also the only TVRs to date to feature a steel/aluminium body work. The ‘wedge’ body work was made of steel with a one-piece aluminium bonnet. Power came from a 4.7 litre Ford Cobra V8, developing 270 bhp, linked to a four speed gearbox. Wheels were Dunlop 72 spokes. The Italian roots were reflected in the Alfa Romeo rear lights, Fiat front lights and many Alfa Romeo switches inside.
The new TVRs got a warm welcome from the motoring press and according to the Daily Mail, the Trident simply was the most beautiful car in the world. When the Geneva show closed its doors, TVR had received orders in excess of £150,000.
Disappointing sales results of the Grantura and Griffith left TVR with a new financial nightmare however. By August 1965 – even before Fissore could deliver the two Tridents – TVR went bankrupt for the second time. As TVR enthusiasts will know, Martin Lilley, a TVR dealer from Barnet took the company over together with his father Arthur. He gave priority to production of the regular TVRs and by Christmas 1965, TVR was back on the road again to establish its firm reputation as an uncompromising sports car manufacturer.
A local TVR dealer from Suffolk, Bill Last, approached Fissore with a view to obtain the manufacturing rights of the forgotten TVR. How exactly Last acquired the rights has never been clear, but acquire them he did. This enabled Last to commission a brand new Trident from Fissore and to market it as a Trident.
The car’s design differed significantly from the original TVR Trident as it was based on an Austin Healey 3000 chassis. Moreover the body work was made of glass-fibre rather than steel. Between 1966 and 1976 Tridents Cars and its successor Trident Motor Company, built some 130 cars.