Sold for £71,417
(including buyers premium)
Registration No: V11 LCN
Chassis No: SDLTC16A65B001286
MOT: April 2024
The name Vulcan? Vulcan was the Roman equivalent of Hephaestus, the Greek God of the Forge and Fire - including volcanoes. Need I say more?
For all TVR aficionados, Nikolai Smolenski's role in the demise of the TVR factory in December 2006 elicits mixed feelings, impacting one's passion for the marque. To be fair to Nikolai, his intentions were correct and commendable; he aimed to enhance Quality Control and instill Reliability across the entire range. However, the "issues" plaguing the Speed Six engine, while eventually rectified, had dealt such a blow to TVR's reputation that the inevitable happened, and TVR Blackpool shuttered its doors in December 2006.
Nikolai labored to rekindle the smoldering remains of TVR. He established a capable R&D operation at "The Barn," albeit with a limited staff. Their initial creation was the coveted Sagaris Mk 3, but it never saw the light of day - potentially due to its utilization of the Speed Six engine. Development then took a different course. Recognizing the short-lived viability of the Speed Six engine due to its inability to meet European Euro 5 emission regulations, Smolenski turned to a tried-and-true solution, one pioneered by Carroll Shelby in the 60s with the AC Ace. Shelby had ingeniously transplanted a potent American V8 into a classic British 6-cylinder sports car - the Cobra was born, becoming an instant legend.
Nikolai saw wisdom in this approach even half a century later. The blueprint for the "reborn" TVR lineup centered around the future classic Tuscan Mk 3, now propelled by the Corvette's 6.2-liter LS3 engine. Don't dismiss this notion, purists! This is no unwieldy mass, but rather an aluminum marvel, decades in the making. It holds the same dimensions and weight as the Speed Six engine, yet boasts an extra 100 bhp and matching torque. It upholds fuel efficiency figures and complies with nearly all global emission standards. Not to mention its impeccable reliability and a resounding soundtrack that stirs the soul.
Now, let's delve into the "Reborn" Tuscan itself. The Mk 3 Tuscan convertible under consideration was originally registered by Peninsula TVR on March 1, 2006. After a year in the dealership's care, it changed hands to a private owner. Eventually, Nikolai's Austrian-based TVR GmbH acquired it, setting the wheels in motion for its transformation. The process involved fitting a fresh LS3 engine matched with a 5-speed gearbox by a Coventry-based company. Austria's specialists tuned the engine, coupled with Ohlins 3-way adjustable dampers and springs fine-tuned for UK roads. The result was a car that outpaced a Porsche 997 GT3 RS on the Autobahn, ascending to 180 mph, all while adorned with prototype DTA Electronic dashboard and Sparco seats. Yet, it retained its 18" Spiders.
Recollections may resurface of the 2012 plan to offer "Reborn" TVRs at a £100,000 price point. Alas, those aspirations were stillborn. Eventually, Nikolai shelved the "Reborn" TVR concept. In June 2012, he extended an offer for a T350 (contemplating electric sportscar development) and the Tuscan V8 prototype to Str8six. On July 4, 2012 - fittingly, American Independence Day - the 'Vette-engined Tuscan, now christened Vulcan, was liberated. The two cars found their way to Str8six in Oxfordshire, demanding substantial effort and investment to make them market-ready.
Discussions at Str8six pondered whether to sell the Tuscan as is or chart a different course. Str8six's CEO, Jason Clegg, a TVR factory alumnus, understood Nikolai's intentions. Thus, the Tuscan was rebranded as Vulcan, poised for "Motorshow Launch" standard - as Nikolai had envisioned. This aligned with Dietrich Probst's vision, and Str8six gained approval to market the car as a TVR, embracing the classic TVR badges.
Thus began the metamorphosis. Str8six stripped the car for a full respray, entrusting Surface & Design (S&D) in Blackpool with a custom Forged Graphite paint. The interior was entrusted to Lee Whitehead of St Anne's, while Str8six and Lee collaborated on styling, harking back to Lee's work on Motorshow Tuscans for Peter Wheeler 13 years prior. With Trim Unique's expertise, Str8six's design concepts were brought to life, including seats inspired by Ferrari. The dashboard binnacle solution, a joint venture of Str8six, S&D, and Trim Unique, morphed into a production-ready component. The foot pedal area was reimagined, and the cockpit switchgear revitalized. While still Tuscan at its core, the Vulcan pushed boundaries.
Yet, the heart of this beast was its concealed V8 engine. Initially acquired in less-than-stellar condition, S&D introduced a hood solution, allowing the engine to shine. Simultaneously, Str8six honed the engine bay aesthetics, encompassing the iconic Vulcan 485 engine plaques. The engine's sound evolved from "nice" to "gorgeous" thanks to a 70 mm big bore system developed by a UK company renowned for exhausts, even gracing the Sultan of Brunei's AMG. A glimpse inside the cockpit via the "Str8six TVR Vulcan V8 - McLaren F1 roadcars" video on YouTube will offer a taste of the Vulcan's auditory glory.
Str8six also revamped the clutch mechanism, enabling mere mortals, not just Hercules, to pilot the car. The Vulcan's wheels too underwent transformation. Spider alloys, a mainstay since 2000, gave way to a new breed of 19", forged monobloc alloys, mimicking the styling of contemporary high-end Supercars like those from Aston Martin, Ferrari, and McLaren. These alloys, crafted to accommodate AP Racing 6-pot (front) and twin-pot (rear) brake calipers, ensured impressive stopping power.
When the final touches were applied, Autocar's Matt Prior took the wheel, penning a favorable review in the April 24, 2013 issue. Not a hint of negativity surfaced. He lauded the Vulcan's sharp turn-in, substantial grip, and wealth of mechanical feedback. Fit and finish surpassed previous TVRs. The acceleration was blistering, the speed exhilarating, and the sound extraordinary. A triumphant testament to the top-tier performance.
Thus, a remarkable opportunity reemerges - the chance to own the ultimate TVR supercar from the Peter Wheeler/Nikolai Smolenski era. Please form an orderly queue.
Purchased by the vendor from Str8six themselves on 06 October 2017 with handover on 17 January 2018, this Vulcan has been part of a rather special collection over the last five years. Adorned with paint-protection film, it cloaks the stunning Forged Graphite paintwork, complemented by the contrasting Butterscotch leather interior. Approximately 21 months after its delivery in October 2019, the car was dispatched to Kudu & Neil Garner to address a non-starting issue. Subsequent investigation unveiled multiple wiring loom problems, prompting the recommendation to develop a complete wiring loom by Lloyd Specialist Development. Being one to ensure his cars are without fault, the work commenced immediately. This job would become a 4-year, 1,573-hour re-wire at a cost totaling £16,522. Having been returned in July 2023, the vendor isn't really sure why he is offering the car for sale. I think I just pulled his arm to be honest! He says perhaps to reduce the collection and it hasn’t been used.
With an MOT valid until 19 April 2024, included with the vehicle is a comprehensive history file. Included within is an organized, labeled folder containing a printed handbook document by Str8six. This folder, interestingly, contains substantial internal documentation relating to the build, including notes on potential color choices, interior options, features, hand-drawn diagrams, the badge design, etc. Invoices for various parts and works manufactured during the build such as interior re-upholstery, etc., are present within, as well as various correspondence from both the previous owner and Str8six with the DVLA regarding correctly registering the name of the car. Very importantly, a letter from TVR confirming the details on the vehicle and stating they are happy for Str8six to sell this as the first car of the 'Reborn' series is included, as well as previous correspondence with journalists, various previous V5C documents, invoices for servicing, previous MOTs, two copies of magazines the car has featured in, and of course the invoice in current ownership for the re-wire. Finally, the current V5C document is included which displays 3 former keepers.
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Auction: 30th Anniversary Sale at The Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 20th Sep, 2023
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Tuesday 19th September 2023 from 1pm to 8pm
Wednesday 20th September 2023 from 9am
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