Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
At the heart of the TVR 3000M was the mighty Ford V6 engine, a willing and eager unit as any Capri V6 owner will attest. It was a remarkably tractable engine, pulling from under 1000 revs in top gear, and its relative lightness, coupled with the TVR's tubular steel space frame chassis and unstressed fibreglass body, was one of the keys to the quick acceleration of the TVR 3000M.
Overdrive in the TVR3000M was engaged through an "in-out" switch on the top of the gear lever
knob. Minor modifidcations were made during the construction time of the car, such as the stumpy handbrake lever being, strangely, shifted even closer to the driver's knee. It seems far too dose to the driver's leg and even constricting at first. The cross-member that crossed the floor of the car about mid-calf height was also strangely placed - but minor niggles aside, the driving position was snug and the seats superbly comfortable.
Behind the Wheel
The gear lever
was positioned high up on the centre console - and to move it through its gate you had to reach high, lifting your left hand to about chest-height and over the already-tall handbrake lever. It was a different way of changing gears at first and you would find you were aware of the offset position of the gear lever
much more than in a car where you let your hand fall from the steering
wheel to a low lever. Because it was physically a new action, you are constantly reminded of your gear-changing technique. The heavy clutch also contributes to reminding you to make careful changes.
was responsive on the move and, sitting low and looking over the long bonnet, the car had the feeling almost like that of an open-wheeler. It was precise, sensitive and accurate on the road, but without power assistance it was heavy at city and parking speeds. Similarly, the small, leather-bound steering
wheel was great out on the road but not so good in traffic.
The TVR3000M leant towards understeer, though this characteristic of the front-engined car was easily corrected. The 3000M could even be pushed into mild oversteer by increased throttle. The Ford V6 was quick to respond and tractable enough to forgive most errors. The front disc/rear drum brake arrangement was capable of bringing the car down from high speed when applied decisively. It helped build the confidence to place the car closer to the limit through corners. The driver sat low, settled inside the space frame (with independent wishbone suspension
all round) giving a reassuring sense of stability. Performance wise, the factory claimed a 16-second flat standing 400 metres which most road testers were able to get close to.
On the Road
The TVR looked precariously low from behind, the ride being firm but not uncomfortable andthis improved at speed. In the handling department the TVR 3000M could tackle bumps well, being completely free of pitching, and there was bugger all body roll - thanks to a heavy front anti-roll bar
which kept the body level under hard cornering. Given the TVR 3000M was designed as a sports car, it was also equally at home being driven as a fine high-speed touring cars with plenty of power in reserve and the handling
, firm ride, sharp steering
of the "good old days" Brit sports car. The 3000 M was an individualist's car which had the advantages of a reliable, mass-produced engine in standard tune and Ford gearbox as well as parts which were readily available because they were from other volume-produced cars.
The styling appears almost hybrid at first but it grew on you and the large rear window gave good rearward vision. Two hatchback versions of the car were released at the 1976
Earls Court show - one with the V6 in standard tune and the second with a turbocharger. TVR claimed the turbo would top 230 km/h (145mph) and get from 0 to 100 km/h in under six seconds - a very quick time back then, putting it into Torana SLR 5000
The first major alteration to the M Series body was the hatchback Taimar
, introduced at the October 1976
London Motor Show and using the same mechanicals as the 3000M. The name was supposedly created from "Tailgate Martin". The opening hatchback alleviated the previous difficulty of maneuvering luggage over the seats to stow it in the cargo area, and the hatch itself was opened electrically via a solenoid-actuated latch triggered by a button on the driver's door jamb. Over its three-year production, a total of 395 normally aspirated Taimars were built.
The final body style for the M Series, an open roadster, arrived in 1978 as the TVR 3000S
(marketed in some places as the "Convertible", and referred to at least once as the "Taimar Roadster".) Like the Taimar, the 3000S was mechanically identical to the 3000M; the body, however, had undergone significant changes. Only the nose of the car was the same as the previous coupes, as the windscreen, doors, and rear end had all been reworked. The windscreen and convertible top had been adapted from those used on the Jensen-Healey roadster, and the doors were cut down to better replicate a classic open-motoring experience.
The redesign of the doors precluded the possibility of using wind-up windows, so sliding sidecurtains were instead fitted. These could be removed entirely and stowed in the trunk, which, for the first time on a TVR, was a separate compartment with its own lid. The trunk lid was operated electrically in a manner similar to the Taimar's hatch. The styling of the 3000S was revived in a somewhat modernized form later, with the 1987
introduction of the TVR S Series (although the S Series shared almost no components with the M Series cars.)