Nikolai Smolenski's tenure as owner of TVR, the formerly revered maker of hairy-chested British sports cars, is nothing if not quizzical. He bought the company from late founder Peter Wheeler when it was in trouble, didn't do much with it, declared it bankrupt to clear its debts, then bought the company out of bankruptcy. Since then there's been little news save for a legal battle with a TVR remanufacturer and a couple of hints about using an American V8 to power the firm's next car.
The V8 issue has finally been decided: the Corvette's 638-horsepower LS9. The car it will go in is to be called the MD-1. A new question that has arisen, however, based on Smolenski's comment that he wants to "draw a line under the Wheeler era once and for all." Will the car be at all British? The MD-1 is being developed by a UK firm, but Smolenski says production could go to the Continent or South Africa just as easily.
Would a German-built, American-engined TVR still be a TVR like the Griffith and Chimera (or the Tasmin shown above)? Smolenski thinks TVR fans wouldn't think so, but he doesn't much care. He says, "What's important is to remain faithful to your brand values" no matter where you are. The MD-1 is expected to arrive in 2012, with just 250 made annually.