Six years after the Lilleys rescued it, TVR introduced a completely new chassis, its first basic design change since 1962 and only the third distinct platform in TVR history. With it came a new generation that would continue all the way to 1980, and would include the 2500M, the 3000M, and the Taimar.
As with past TVR chassis, this new one was designed to accept a variety of proprietary engines to suit the legislative requirements and price classes of various markets. However, it would be the first to carry more than one body style, as a convertible and hatchback coupe would eventually complement the familiar TVR fastback, though this wasn’t planned when the chassis was designed.
It was superficially like the old Tuscan SE chassis in that both were 90-inch-wheelbase affairs made of small-diameter tubes, with a strong central backbone, coil-spring all-independent suspension, front-disc/rear-drum brakes, and rack-and-pinion steering. The difference is that the new one was a “space frame” rather than a simple platform design, strode wider tracks (53.75 inches front and rear), and employed a mixture of square and circular tubing.
Called M-Series, the new TVR was visually similar to the short-lived “wide-body” Tuscan V-8 SE, with a longer nose and tail than on the old Vixen/Griffith models but the same characteristic TVR look. Seating remained strictly for two, and there was still no external trunk access. As in the V-8 Tuscans, engines mounted behind the front-wheel centerline in “front mid-engine” position, which left sufficient room for stowing the spare ahead, just above the radiator.
This chassis would carry the following engines during its eight-year life, all with overhead valves: 1.3-liter Triumph Spitfire four, Ford Britain’s crossflow 1.6-liter “Kent” four-cylinder, the 2.5-liter Triumph straight six from the TR6, and Ford’s 3.0-liter “Essex” V-6 as used in the British Capri and TVR’s own Tuscan. The last was also turbocharged but rarely seen here.
The best-sellers in the new range were the 1.6-liter 1600M, 2.5-liter 2500M, and 3.0-liter 3000M. The last was treated to a simple hatchback conversion in late 1976 and renamed Taimar. A companion ragtop, prosaically called Convertible, was issued two years later and -- lo and behold -- it had a proper trunk with lid.
There was also a “pre-M” 1971 model simply called 2500. Devised especially for the U.S., it was basically the old V-6 Tuscan fitted with the American-spec TR6 engine. Exactly 289 were built in less than a year, along with 96 examples of another “cocktail” model, this one with the old-style bodywork atop the M-Series chassis.
But the definitive TR6-powered model was the 2500M, almost all of which were sold in the U.S. Production ended in 1977 because British Leyland had cancelled the TR6 the previous year and engine supplies soon dried up. As it weighed about the same as the Triumph, the 2500M naturally had similar performance, with a top speed of about 110 mph.
The 3000M, always available in Britain, then took over for the U.S. 2500M, with sales continuing through 1979. It was basically the same car, of course, except for its British Ford V-6, which had been improved since Tuscan days (and should not be confused with Ford’s 2.8-liter German-designed V-6 of this period). In U.S. trim, the 3000M could reach close to 115 mph. The Taimar and Convertible were a tad slower owing to the higher weight of their extra equipment.
The 3.0-liter Turbo was a rare but rapid bird. Top speed was 140 mph and 0-60 mph acceleration took just 5.8 seconds. Just 63 were built, though that encompassed all three body styles.