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21 September 2009

Racecars, Race TVRs. What are they worth?

With a couple of Tuscans bouncing around the classifieds recently, I got to thinking…what are they actually worth and what sets the precedence? Firstly, here are some generalities.

The most important thing when assessing the value of a race car, is  “Do you want to race it?” Sounds silly, but if you aren’t in love with the car or the racing it brings…forget it. It’s a very expensive garage filler.
“Where can you race the car?” You may love the car but if there’s nowhere to run, it’s useless. It’s by far the most important factor when considering a purchase. Next I guess is “Is the car competitive?” or can it be made to be competitive within a reasonable budget. If the car is priced suitably you may even enjoy the preparation.
Finally “heritage/pedigree.” If Lewis Hamilton drove the car and won a couple of races it helps. Even if it’s Fred Bloggs; if it’s a winner or if it has some Class/Lap records it all helps the value. It shows a history of good preparation and competitiveness; and who’s to say Mr Bloggs won’t get his break into Touring cars or F2 next week?

            So, now we have looked at the general rules, what’s a race TVR worth?

            Well believe it or not, a competitive Class A Tuscan (less engine) could be picked up for around £10k when the factory series finished. Still hugely powerful and beautifully prepared they broke rule number 2. “Where can you race the car?” As a low number, purpose built racer they weren’t allowed to run in production classes, and were too fast for the sports series around at the time. Now some years later and with a pretty successful BRSCC Championship to race in, the values are back up around £20-25k for a sorted GpA car with a strong engine and spares package. But what of Gps B and C? What else is out there to set the precedence?

A Tuscan

            The Rover V8 (RV8) Tuscans are king here fairly obviously in a TVR series. With around 62 Race Tuscans built the first 45 or so were RV8s running TVRs own tweaked 4.5 RV8 motors with around 330bhp and a wall of torque. A load of these have been converted to GpA cars with TVRs own AJP V8, several converted to road use (sacrilege but there you go – at least they are being used!) but at the moment, there aren’t enough of them around to race properly in the Challenge. However, a couple have surfaced over recent weeks, both of which have been turned around quickly and relisted with the owners looking for a quick profit. This is good as it means the cars are more sought after. There was a view that as the cars hit 20 years old (2009) that values would improve quickly as they were snapped up by classic racers. So far this hasn’t happened. Again, rule 2…where to run applies. Too fast for the production based classic sports series they haven’t yet found a home so prices stay steady behind the GpAs at £15-18k.

            Next GpC Tazmins. Great value motor racing, you could be out there in GpC for around £3k! The Championship has been won by a GpC winner (Sam Head had a 100% record in 2007 which brought him the overall title too) before and may be done so again. With around 200bhp/tonne and with aero and slicks, you’d be amazed at how much you can learn and how much fun you can have. They are usually worth more in parts alone!

            A quick note here about the conversions. All Tazmins are essentially road conversions, but here I mean the Griffs, the Cerbs and the Ms currently running. Mike Saunders and the other AJP8 cars (Cerbs, Tuscans etc) have had to move to GpA, as they are essentially GpA Tuscans if a little heavy. As there are few restrictions in A, a Cerb can be competitive for not too much moola and TVR owners are a breed that love THEIR TVRs. I wanted to race a Griff, Mike and Jonny their Cerbs, CJ a T350 and so on. But do they make sense?
            Well Mike Saunders has definitely shown they have the pace, but why a Cerb over a Tuscan? Firstly, a Cerb has a longer wheelbase and so is more stable. It also has a roof, so it’s more slippery and gets better effect from an aero pack but it also has another big advantage (and this goes for the T350 and the Ms too…rule number 2 again) they can be raced in other series like GT Cup, GT90s, Britcar etc. With high numbers of Cerbs built Homologation is no problem and Ms are OK in historics to being production based. So don’t rule out the conversions! Prices are from £15-25k+

            Finally, the TVR Super cars! By these I mean the Sagaris conversions, the GTFs, the T400rs and even the one and only Speed 12. Here the sky’s the limit and so are the prices!
From the top, the Speed 12 is a road going version but is still one of the fastest TVRs ever built being developed directly from a race chassis by the factory. At around £140k I doubt you want to race it, but it needs a mention as it is currently up for sale again and needs to be out and about. I guess it’s still the Daddy, with a full C/F body, an engine developing over 800bhp via a sequential box. Truly an awesome car for the road or track, and a bargain at that money in pace terms.
In here we could also slot Rich Stanton and Dennis Leech’s Sagaris GT3. 500bhp Chevy engined, seq box flat floored and with a successful history in Britcar against the Moslers; it’s a belter and valued at around £130k due to its replacement cost. That’s what it costs to build one!

Holden GT3

I guess the T400r Tuscans would be next. At around £80k, they too are C/F bodied with sequential boxes, but utilising a trick Speed 6 engine they are up in the 500bhp range and a couple are available from PeninsulaTVR and LNT. Some Le Mans history here so possibly a bargain in the current line up, but there’d be loads of work to get them competitive. Can run in LMES and British GTs though.
Finally in the Super car bracket come the Sagaris GT3’ of Tim Hood, Andy Holden and the GTFs of Fred Tonge and Steve Glynn. These are essentially the same as the GT3 Stanton car, but have been built with a budget in mind. Difficult to value these cars as some are Chevy’d up with 500bhp+, others have 400bhp AJPs in them, but all have been built to an extremely high standard with flat floors, aero, air jacks and dry break bag tanks etc so they would have to be around £60-£80k due to build cost and the fact that they are competitive with cars of around £130K+ like Porkers, Lambos and Astons.

            These are the general values and the reasons why they have stayed pretty stock for the last 10 years. Many cars now have individual values due to the deregulation of the TVR series. Cars can have many extra thousands spent on developing aero/engines/wheels and hubs etc as well as general finish. Fresh rose joints on the suspension come in at over £2.5k. The guys that own these cars won’t let them go for less and to build they have a flat value. You can’t build a TVR Tuscan for £25K…fact. Even if you can get all the main bits, chassis, tub, bonnet, corners etc you would still be way over £35k by the time you’d nailed them together. The same goes for refurbing a car. £35k if it’s done right, so you can see where the benchmark is fixed. Tuscans, Tazmins, GTFs and T400s maintain the pricing structure for the foreseeable future.

            Would I advise you to buy one of the above? Not if I liked you. Racing is a game for the wealthy…the curious…the over confident…the clinically insane and the slightly dim. £000s disappearing for scant reward for around 7 hours of actual racing per year… you’d have to be nuts. But what a thing to have done! The Tuscan Challenge has gone; it’s now the Dunlop TVR European Challenge. But I have some Trophy’s that say…
Andy Race Class B Winner Dunlop TVR Tuscan Challenge. Oh yes!

Do I regret going racing? No
Did I enjoy myself? Absolutely
Did I spend too much money? Certainly.
Would I do it again? Definitely
Am I nuts?  Positively - by my own definition.

TVRMonster Dated 09/2009

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