I really love handmade British sports cars. I like that individual people built these cars, that they are quite exclusive, and they often tend to be quite different from production cars.
The problem with most handmade British cars is that they tend to be very expensive. They cars are built by such companies as Lagonda, Aston Martin and Alvis, and they tend to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Then there’s the Pick of the Day, an affordable handmade British sports car: a 1968 TVR Vixen.
The TVR car company, originally called Trevcars, was founded in 1946 by Trevor Wilkinson to launch his own sports car company. Starting your own sports car company might sound crazy here in the US, but during this time in England, many people had a similar idea, including such bright minds as Frank Nichols with Elva, Jem Marsh and Frank Costin with Marcos and, most famously, Colin Chapman with Lotus.
The first TVR was named the Grantura and was launched in 1961. It ingeniously used a pair of fiberglass rear body panels taken from another low production car, the RGS Atalanta, for both its front and rear body. To that, TVR added a chassis designed in house utilizing parts from such companies as Austin and an independent rear suspension from the VW Beetle.
Fast forward a few years and TVR has a new owner, Martin Lilley, and a new series of cars, though still based on the idea of a tubular steel chassis and a fiberglass body. The new model, introduced in 1967 was called the Vixen.
The Vixen took the lessons learned on the Grantura and worked to improve all the weaknesses of that car. It was available with the choce of two different 4-cylinder engines or the 6-cylinder engine from the Triumph TR6.
By this time, the body was actually bolted to the chassis instead of bonded, making it easier to service and drastically reducing chassis rust problems that existed in the earlier bonded cars.
This is a Series 1 Vixen with a 1.6-liter Ford Kent engine, advertised on ClassicCars.com by a Stratford, Connecticut, dealer. Only 117 total Vixens were built and just 47 of those were had left-hand drive. Something even more rare is that this Vixen was built as a USA import and features a dual master cylinder and other DOT requirements.
The seller states that the Vixen has an excellent fiberglass body and has been comprehensively rebuilt and prepared by an expert in the marque.
Recent work includes brakes, new tires, Aeroquip brake lines, and a well- prepared 1,600cc Ford engine, the seller states. It features forged racing pistons, a Kent 234 race cam, twin 40 DCOE Webers and headers. This makes for potent performance as the engine builder claims it puts out 170 hp on the dyno to motivate a 1,600-pound car.
The Vixen is one of those sports cars you can take to a show and not see another example anywhere in sight. Combine that with the strong performance and you have a real winner, especially at the price of only $24,500, basically TR4 money.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.