|This buyers guide is for the TVR
Vixen models but some parts may also apply to the 1800S
& Tuscan V6 models. This is only intended as a guide
of what to look for. The best bit of advice I can give is
buy the best you can afford. There aren't that many cars
out there to choose from so buy the best of whats
Main points are as follows:
Check for cracks and crazing or flaking paint. A complete
professional re-spray will about £2,000 to £3,000 and
if you are going to tackle it yourself it will take a
very long time to do it properly. Check the body for any
irregularities like door gaps but remember most were
probably sold in kit form so they may have been bad from
the start. Recent re-sprays can cover a multitude of sins
so beware. Try and get one with a glass heated rear
screen if you intend using it in the winter months as the
mist up virtually immediately you drive the car. Make
sure the alloy wheels arent damaged around the
edges and that the steel inserts for the wheel nuts to
bite on arent cracked or missing. If it has wire
wheels make sure the spokes are all tight and the wheels
dont slip on the splines.
Check for water leaks as any window can leak but this can
be fixed with new rubbers and or window sealant. Another
source of leaks is from the doors and the under bonnet
area around the battery and the pedal box mounting..
Because of wet interiors carpets sometimes rot away but
can be replaced. Check the fuel tank which is under the
rear "parcel shelf" to make sure it isnt
rusty especially at the bottom if the rear windows has
been leaking. Make sure all the instruments are there and
of the correct type as they are very difficult to find.
The chassis is reasonably strong, but due to their age
they can rust. The front chassis outriggers can rust away
so check under the car and at the rear of the wheel
arches. Then check the sill tubes which can rust at the
top. Check the rear outriggers as like the front
outriggers they also collect mud. Check both under the
car and in the wheel arches with the wheel removed. The
chassis rear end rust is hard to detect with the body on
but get underneath with an inspection lamp and have a
good look around.
The rear suspension is usually pretty good and not likely
to cause problems apart from sagging springs and leaking
shock absorbers. You will either find 4 shock absorbers
92 with springs) or on later models just 2 shock
absorbers with springs. Check the grease nipple for the
hubs has been recently greased and try and check for
cracks in the aluminium uprights as these are expensive
to replace. The front is based on the Triumph TR6. There
are double wishbones mounted in rubber bushes. These
bushes wear and may need to be replaced. There are 3
grease points on both sides that need regular greasing so
make sure they show signs of regular greasing. If there
are no signs of grease visible budget for a complete
overhaul. Check the tyres, there should be equal wear and
any other could mean worn bushes or worse. A complete
overhaul of the suspension is not difficult and
reasonably cheap if you do it yourself.
The engine used is the Ford Kent 1.6 or the Truimph 2500.
If either of these are well maintained they have been
known to do over 100,000 miles without problems. Look for
oil and water leaks and blue smoke from the exhausts
which suggest that the engine could do with an overhaul.
Check the level of oil and water, which should be a 50/50
anti-freeze and water mix. Check for signs of coolant
leaks. If the engine warms up very slow, check that a
thermostat is fitted. If there is no thermostat be
suspicious. Parts for both engines are readily
available and they are both quite straight forward to
If it is manual and an overdrive is fitted be sure the
overdrive works properly. It should engage and disengage
without trouble. Check for signs of clutch slip. The rear
gearbox seal is also prone to leaking badly.
The propshafts and rear diff. only need regular
maintenance and if not neglected are trouble free. The
rear diff. has a small air hole on the top with a split
pin inserted in it. This must be clear as it is the only
way to stop pressure building up and forcing the oil out
which can lead to premature wear.
Check the wiring looms and wires to see if they are still
the original black wires with coloured ends that have a
habit of falling off. If they arent and it has
therefore been rewired make sure it has been done well
and also hopefully included some extra fuses. The earths
can be a problem as there are lots of them due to the
fibreglass body. Check that everything works properly.
Also check for corroded contacts as they can cause thing
to suddenly stop working.
Hopefully this hasnt
put you off. If you find a good one buy it and enjoy it.
Youll love the road holding and it will bring a
smile to your face every time you drive it.