Grantura had started out as a kit-car but evolved into serious machinery somewhere between 1959 and 1963. TVR (Engineering) were very skilled at tuning engines so it is true to say that the TVR variant of a `stock` engine would out-perform the `original specification` power unit. This was true of the 1798cc MGB motor. TVR worked their magic on it and then put it into a very light car. It went very well indeed…
Body & chassis;
The chassis was of steel tube which allowed the fitting of a full fibreglass Fixed-Head Coupe body-shell. The Grantura had a forward-tilting nose-section and was very attractively styled. The interior was Spartan to say the least and very short of space. Even a Spartan athlete would struggle to gain entry because the car not only had very short doors but also a 17 inch steering wheel. Any driver with a cuddly waistline would find it awkward to get into and cramped and uncomfortable once he had got there.
Most `masculine` drivers fitted a `Motolita` leather-rimmed wheel of a more sensible diameter, like 13 inch. The rear of the car was `Manxed` to use a phrase popular at the time. Like a Manx cat it had no tail to speak of! All small car makers use components from other manufacturers but TVR made a mistake with the tail-light units. They used the `gun-sight` tail-light units from the Ford Cortina MKI (also Lotus Cortina). They were very smart and distinctive on the Cortina but on the Grantura they were just `Cortina tail-lights`.
Another design problem was the boot-lid… it didn’t have one! Austin-Healey had got away with the boot-lid-less Sprite but somehow it did not work for the Grantura. Even the spare-wheel had to come out through the front doors. Worse still, a dirty and wet punctured wheel would have to go back in the same way!
The disc brakes on the front and drums on the rear were more than adequate. Wire-wheels were a popular option while steel wheels were standard. Early handling problems of the Grantura MKI and MKII (VW suspension) were now rectified by a modern coil & wishbone set-up front and rear, coupled with rack & pinion steering.
As stated earlier the MGB 1800 (1798cc) was the unit of choice. The B-series 4-cylinder inline was strong but very heavy being all cast-iron. TVR used the `C type` head with bigger valves and porting which gave the twin 1.5 SU carburettors something to work with. The big valves not only produced 95 bhp and 120 ft. lb. but also produced a nice `bark` from the tail-pipe. Grantura was a lot lighter than the MGB and so automatically performed much better, yet the 0-60 time was at 10 seconds. The engine was coupled with the lovely MGB 4-speed gear-box making it light and useful. Rumour had it that one could fit a Laycock de Normanville overdrive to it but there was not much room for it. TVR did not offer it as an option so perhaps that was the case.
There is not, and never was, a `standard spec` TVR Grantura of any vintage. Customers were invited to `spec-up` their purchase and TVR were very capable of making it go faster. TVR`s financial problems sadly killed the marque in the end. The company tried to give the market what it wanted and as time went by the better finished TVRs got more and more expensive. The market was growing away from sports-cars, evolving an interest in GT saloons and later, what would become know as the `hot-hatch`. Once the later, bigger TVRs got into the Aston-Martin and Jensen price bracket the writing was on the wall for the company. However, the TVR Grantura was a fine sports-car. A little expensive but vastly superior to any car of it`s class.
TVR Grantura MKIII 1800S 1964-1965
|Body Type||2 seater fixed-head coupe|
|Drive Type||Rear wheel drive|
|Cargo Volume||No boot, only a place for a spare wheel behind the rear window|
|Engine||1.8 OHV BMC B-Series from the MGB|
|Displacement||1798 cc||109.7 cui|
|Power||71 Kw||95 bhp||6500 RPM|
|Torque||163 Nm||120 ft. lb||5500 RPM|
|Top Speed||179 km/h||111 mph|
|Acceleration||0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph||10 s|
|Fuel consumption||l/100 km||Imperial mpg|
|Gearbox||4 speed manual|
|Weight||864 kg||1905 lb|
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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.
In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.
As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.
At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!
When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.
I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.
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