Perhaps the best British sports car that never came to the USA.
TVRs weren't always banned from coming to America – up until the mid-1980s, the wares of Blackpool's finest sports car manufacturer were readily being shipped to awaiting buyers in the good ole' US of A. All of a sudden, though, exports suddenly stopped. Rumors abounded over what might have triggered it, but we do know one thing: it meant that no brand new TVR model was sold to buyers in the United States between then and TVR's bankruptcy in 2006.
With two decades worth of TVRs being denied to aficionados in North America, then, it's been pretty hard to select one model to feature in this piece. However, after much deliberation, we've settled on what is perhaps TVR's greatest pre-insolvency model: the utterly mad Sagaris. There are many reasons why the TVR Sagaris managed to beat the likes of the Tuscan, Cerbera and Griffth. Having mad styling certainly helps (we doff our hats to the person who gave the sideways exhausts the green light), as do the 400-hp 4.0-liter straight-six engine and the still-impressive claimed top speed of 185 mph. What really sealed the deal for us, though, was the way in which the Sagaris drives.
Many of the lucky journos who drove it back in the day waxed lyrically on how thrilling and intuitive the Sagaris was to hustle along at speed. See Clarkson & Co. get behind the wheel below. Some even went on to say the Sagaris was the best handling car TVR had ever made up to that point. It would still bite your head off if you weren't careful, though: there's no ABS, for instance, so you really need to be mindful of how much braking pressure you're using. But, as a drivers' car, the TVR Sagaris is an ace piece of kit, and it's a shame that TVR never got the chance to reap many of the rewards for a cracking job before going bust.
Fingers crossed the consortium that's setting about re-launching TVR builds upon what the Sagaris did so well with its new sports car that's due out in 2017. Oh, and please bring it to the United States this time?