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Monday, 31 August 2015

Sagaris - Where TVR Left Off


It's been said about the 2017/18 TVR comeback cars that the new two-car range will "pick up where the old range left off." Perhaps, then, we should look at the last model they made before their slow demise. They had the little Tamora, the big Tuscan and the middle-sized T350 (the latter either as a 'C' coupé or a 'T' targa). The ultimate model was the Typhon/T440R, a souped up, supercharged Tuscan variant to homologate the racing car that won the Spa 1000km in 2004 with a 1-2 finish. Only three such road cars exist as far as I can tell. But the one that really springs to mind was the hardcore version of the T350, given a proper name and some proper development: the 2005 Sagaris.

Pictured in its natural pose
Named after an ancient battleaxe wielded by people on horseback, it used TVR's traditional steel tube frame chassis and fibreglass body combo, but with an extra dose of aggression. A BIG one. It had two huge movable cooling vents in the bonnet, a gigantic see-through Gurney flap at the back to complement the Gurney bubble in the roof and gouges over the front wheels which were originally vents, but had to be filled in because they let the tyres throw stones at the windscreen. Oh, and the exhausts? It would seem they couldn't decide whether to have side-exit pipes or rear-exit pipes, so they compromised by putting side-exit pipes... at the back! Obviously. The result is totally badass by anybody's standards and couldn't be much more threatening if it had knives sticking out of it.

Making an obscenely loud, angry and frankly glorious noise was a 4.0-litre naturally aspirated straight-six of their own design, used in all their cars of the 2000s and in this instance chucking 406 horsepower and 350lb/ft of torque at the six-speed manual gearbox. Given that the car weighs 1078kg ready to go, that's rather a lot of power. In fact, to add context, its power/weight ratio of 383bhp/tonne is comfortably higher than that of a GT-R NISMO, and a whole 101bhp/t higher than the new Lotus Evora 400. Even a Porsche 997 GT3 RS 4.0 isn't quite on the Sagaris's level in this regard. It hit 60mph from rest in 3.8 seconds, equal to a 2011 Lexus LFA, and allegedly topped 180mph flat out. Maybe this is the point at which to mention that it doesn't have traction control, ABS or even an airbag, not even as an option? Delicate flowers need not apply...

When it landed a decade ago, it cost a smidgen under £50,000. For the performance that was great value - a GT3 RS was twice as much - although you weren't exactly getting world class build quality, despite Nikolai Smolensky's promises when he bought the company. Their customers knew what they were in for on that front, though. As the TopGear test above proclaims, this car was set up by the man who set up the brilliant Noble M400, and as such it provided all the lunacy those looks promised, minus a lot of the rough edges other models had in the corners.


The new cars will be light, powerful, manual and roughly the same size as this car. They will have to have traction control, ABS and airbags this time because otherwise they wouldn't be road legal, but hopefully the unhinged character that made TVR so special will carry through. If they really are picking up where the Sagaris and Tuscan II left off, then we ought to be in for something pretty special.

Oh! There's one more thing.

If you want to buy a Sagaris, there are two things to tell you: 1) Surprisingly they're still about £50,000, and 2) if you're quick you can buy a brand new one! Sort of.


This is the very last Sagaris ever made, although "made" is a slight overstatement. Currently in the possession of highly regarded specialists Racing Green TVR, it comprises a registered rolling chassis and an engine made using their own power/reliability modifications, giving around 430bhp and improved durability thanks to their "Finger Follower-Free" cylinder head upgrade among other things. The interior isn't done, so you can have them upholster it however you like, although as you can see the body has already been painted in rather striking colour-shift "Cascade Violet" hue(s). Just give them 4-6 months and a mystery amount of money and you can have the one and only 2014 Sagaris! There's no price given because it'll depend on a few things, but I'd imagine it would be around £60-70k at most.

See the ad here. Might buy a lottery ticket...


If you read this writing anywhere other than Small Blog V8, it's been stolen. Let me know here so I can attack the culprit with a battleaxe. And hammers. And maybe a shoe.

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