The TVR Vixen Series 1 Sports Car

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      Vixen Series 1 sports car. Following the sale of TVR to Martin Lilley in 1965, the company focused its production facilities on the Vixen range of sports cars that were fitted with a variety of engines, including those from Ford, MG, and Triumph.

     One of the most important assets that TVR inherited was the excellent chassis that was used in the Grantura Mark 3 of 1962.

     The original chassis incorporated a tubular construction which used VW components to produce independent suspension all round.

     The downside was that this format produced a firm ride that was not to everyone's taste.

     John Thurner's 1962 design made use of coil springs, which produced a slightly softer, but more compliant ride, and was the basis for chassis through to the 1970's.

     Around this time, the majority of TVR's sold in the UK were in the form of a kit, which meant that the customer had only to fit the engine and gearbox in order to produce a fully assembled car.

    The first Vixen, designated the Series 1, was very similar to the Grantura Mark 4 1800S, which had been in production since 1958, and which it was to succeed.

     Following its launch at the London Motor Show in the Autumn of 1967, it was well received, and gained many provisional orders. 

Technical Data                          Vixen Series 1         Grantura 1800S
Production                                   1967-1968               1966-1967
Engine, cc                                         1599                          1798
Cylinders, bhp                                  4, 88                          4, 98
Top Speed mph                                 109                            114
0-60 mph, secs                                11.0                            9.9
Standing 1/4 Mile                             18.1                           15.8
Torque ft/lbs                                             96                                110

     One of its features was that the rear section was in a Manx style, in which the glassfibre body ended sharply, just beyond the rear window.

     The car's rear was fitted with the round tail lights from the Ford Cortina Mark 1 saloon.

     Compared with the Tuscan V8, whose body was based on that of the Vixen, the Vixen's steering was lighter, its handling keener and, without the Tuscan's overheating problem, the cabin was far cooler.

     The first 12 units were fitted with the 1.8 litre engine, as used in the MGB, in order to reduce costs.

     However, this unit was then replaced by the 4-cylinder, 1600 GT, cross flow unit, together with a four speed, all synchromesh gearbox, as used in the Ford Cortina Mark 2 saloon, since Ford had offered a more attractive pricing structure.

     Furthermore, the Ford gearbox did not offer overdrive as did the BMC unit.

     This engine was lighter than the BMC 1.8 litre unit from the MGB, as used in the Grantura Mark 4 1800S, which resulted in improved handling.

     It was fitted with disc brakes at the front, and drums at the rear.

     Since the car was lighter than most of its competitors, especially the MGB GT, this improved not only its relative performance, but also its fuel economy.

     It developed 88 bhp at 5400 rpm, down from 98 bhp with the MGB unit, and 96 ft/lbs of torque at 3600 rpm.

     However, neither the reduction in power nor the lack of an overdrive unit seemed to affect sales of the Vixen Series 1 which totaled 117 units, when production ended in late 1968, compared with 78 units of the Grantura Mark 4 1800S.

     Most TVR's were exported to the US and Canada, which accounted for around 65% of the 200 Vixen Series 1 and 2 built throughout 1968.

     Although the success of the Vixen turned the company's fianancial fortunes round, two years later, in 1969, the situation was reversed, with exports down and the majority of Vixens being sold in the UK.




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