Leaflet 'Sparkling new twins from TVR': TVR Tina Spyder
    TVR Tina Coup&eaute;

The Imp Site

TVR Tina

In 1966 at the show in Turin, TVR showed their TVR Tina Spyder. Fall 1967 at Paris they first showed the coupé.

Cars & Car Conversions 1967 (vol. 10), January (no. 8), in their editorial called 'It's all happening...' on p.377:

On the desk the other day - a press release in three languages from TVR Engineering Ltd. to tell us that production of the TVR Tina will start in January. This is 2x2 GT car with the body by Fizzore-Fiore and engine by the Sunbeam Imp, producing 55 b.h.p. and giving the car a top speed, they say, of 100 m.p.h. plus 40 m.p.g. No pictures, unfortunately.

TVR is a sportscar manufacturer in Blackpool who made DIY fibreglass Specials. The typical TVR has a sleek nose, a small cockpit, and a rear which is cut off directly behind the rear wheels.
TVR Engineering was founded in 1947 by Trevor Wilkinson (1923). He used tubular frames and during the '60s they mainly worked with engines of Ford, BMC and MG. In 1965 the Lilley family took over the company.
After the Trident, the TVR Tina was the firm's next attempt to widen its range to include a more graceful design. It was thought up at a time when TVR was in a bit of a pickle. Martin Lilley and Trevor Fiore felt that a small engined car might be the thing to make a more secure TVR future. Looking around A.D. 1965 at small cars that might serve as a basis, obviously the Imp Sport was chosen. Two Sunbeam Imp Sports were whisked off to Italy.

Imp based

The speed at which the concept took shape was remarkable. In November 1965 the car was a vague idea, in November 1966 TVR unveiled the Tina at the Turin Motor Show. It was a small 2+2 convertible sportscar, designed by Trevor Fiore. Its bodyshell, built by Fissore in Italy, was made of steel. (This was only for the prototype; it was supposed to be produced in fibreglass as all TVRs are). Engine, floorpan and transmission were of an Imp Sport. So were the wheel trims and most of the mechanical bits. It bore great family resemblance to the Trident: graceful simplicity in its lines and front-end. The hood gently sloping down to the bumper. Square headlamps behind perspex fairings, so as to keep the nose-line intact.

Between the headlights was the tiny Tina badge: a 'Cortina' nameplate minus the 'Cor' (hastily concocted for the Turin show).
It was named after the first daughter of Gerry Marshall, who at the time was TVR's most flamboyant racer and fan.

Text from the TVR leaflet

The Tina Spyder
2 + 2 seater drophead, designed by Fiore, is based on the Sunbeam Imp Sport chasis, suspension, engine and transmission, no modifications being necessary to the well proven Rootes components. Maximum speed is over 100 m.p.h., petrol consumption 37-42 m.p.g.

The Tina coupé
2 + 2 seater, designed by Fiore, combines the latest ideas and techniques of Italian styling with the proven reliability and ease of servicing of the Sunbeam Imp Sport. The aerodynamic body gives a top speed of over 100 m.p.h., petrol consumption 37-42 m.p.g.

Nose job


The front-end of the Tina had come under criticism from almost all corners. It would not have gotten past American regulations, had the car ever gone on sale there. (But other TVRs before this one had been 'cleaned up' and de-tuned for the US market). And so it went back to Fissore for modification, joining its stil uncompleted fixed-head coupé sister.

Martin Lilley thought the Tina needed to appear on the October London Motor show, because of the two cars' psychological appeal to the public. Just having them there would indicate TVR's health: a company on the move. A typical last-minute panic saw both the convertible and the fastback coupé rushed into Earls Court on the show's Press Day.
The nose had been re-styled: now it featured a blunt front-end, with the coupé having a single pair of rectangular headlamps, and the convertible having two smaller pairs of round lamps. They joined the TVR display of a bare running chassis, a Tuscan V8 and the first Vixen S1.

The Tinas were the stars of the show. Customers were offering to leave open checks for the prototypes. After the show the telephone rang constantly at Hoo Hill (TVR's factory at the time). Just like the Trident before it, Fiore's latest beautiful design received worldwide acclaim and publicity.

Farming out production

Hoo Hill obviously couldn't cope with the sort of mass production that could deliver to a market this enthusiastic. And if it was to be sold for £998.- as planned, than it would have to be produced in quantity ! Therefore production needed to be farmed out. Rootes, Jensen and Aston-Martin were approached.

The coupé reappeared at the Turin show of 1967. A really attractive little fastback with a 100mph+ top speed and fuel consumption of 40mpg. TVR said they expected to commence production early 1968, selling each factory-built car for 998, all taxes included.


For various reasons, costs being the main one, production capacity another, the Tina never reached production. Maybe it did not need to go into production, it had served its purpose on the shows. All the same: had the British car producing giants not been so staid and unimaginative, the coupé might have been just as successful as Fiat's 850. If Rootes would have been willing to provide some of the funding in addition to the drivetrain, chances are that Jensen would have put the car into production on a contract basis. Of course Chrysler had entered the picture, having bought Rootes-shares and they weren't favourable.
Martin Lilley could only abandon the project that had consumed over £15,000.- and concentrate on his other TVR designs.

Wheelbase: 2083mm; 82"
Length: 3658mm; 144"
Width: 1524mm; 60"
Track (both front and rear): 1283mm; 50.5"

Weight: 711 kg; 1567 lb

Top speed: 161 km/h
Power to weight ratio: 71.73 bhp/ton
Max. output: 51.0 bhp (38 kW) @6100 rpm
Specific output: 58.3 bhp/litre ; 0.96 bhp/cu in
0-50mph (80 km/h): 12.00s

Engine: Hillman 875cc
Fuel system: 1 So carb.

Top gear ratio: 4.85

Prototypes - now

The single example left now is owned by Mr. Marshall.

Mr. Jason Beard (Modesto California) appears to be busy restoring a Tina.
" It goes from 4 to 2 and into the muffle and comes out 1. It has 2 carbs. It has an oil cooler and a brake servo. The block # on the side of the engine is 7010166. The head # is 7010180. My customer bought it like 20 years ago or so."

From: Spadge Hopkins; Cottage Classics Ltd.
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004

[...] today I collected the TVR Tina Coupe from a barn near Kings Lyn where it has resided for some 20 years. You are indeed correct to state that it is owned by my good friend, the hugely talented racing Driver, Gerry Marshall. With huge TVR connections over the years Gerry tells me that the Tina was named after his daughter.

We are looking at the practicalities of restoring the car for him. It has an early sport engine with a 107 head casting and twin strombergs as one would expect. [...]

   TVR Tina september 2004; Spadge Hopkins
photo supplied in the same message

Gerry Marshall died Thursday 21 April 2005.

On the forum PistonHeads Norman on Wednesday 12th December 2007 writes:

Gregor - as I've mentioned before the ORIGINAL colour of the Tina Coupe was Rootes Group Beige (as seen on Hillman Hunters etc of the period). The convertible was similarly a Rootes Group colour, bright blue.

I don't know if the Coupe was changed to an Austin colour at some time of its life or not (or indeed to gold), but I'm a bit hard pushed to think of a period Austin gold.. There WAS an Austin beige that some 1800s and Marinas were in, which was in fact very similar indeed to the Rootes Group beige, so maybe someone is getting confused between the two...? Norman


   TVR Tina coupé, Paris 1967
Car show at Paris, September (?) 1967
   Pretty little TVR Tina
another sixties car show

Autocar 1967, October
They wrote a report on the Paris car show which featured a photo of the TVR Tina coupé

TVR : succes against the odds / Peter Filby. - Wilton House Gentry Ltd.
ISBN 0 905064089

Rare & Exotic Automobile Library : custom photos of rarely seen private collections / Photos were taken by Robert Brekke and John Binford for Autophyle Magazine
Library of stock photography available for lease. It contains photos of the TVR Tina

TVR Mk. IV + history. - Motor 1966, December 10
3 pages, b&w + nice advertisement with Tina

Original TVR Press Kits

. - Car 1967, January
an article on the Turin show with small pictures and details of Fiores TVR Tina

66 TVR Tina. - AutoWeek 1994, December 12

Autophile vol. 2 (1994), No. 3 (Fall)
TVR Tina

TVR Tina?. - Sprint 2007, February
Sprint is the official magazine of the TVR Car Club

Tina meets Tina (The TVR Tina story). - Sprint 2007, March

Restoration Show shapes up. - Practical Classics 2015, April. - p.8-9
Shows a photo of the TVR Tina Coupé, newly painted in greenish gold, with nothing fitted yet, flanked by two gentlemen, subtitled: "Watch the Tina being brought back to live"
In the article it reads:

Plus there's another 70 clubs making their PC Resto Show debut. That includes the TVR Club and the Imp Club, who will be on hand to give us help and advice with our TVR Tina Live Stage rebuild.

Well done those guys : Brand new glazing for the TVR one-off. - Practical Classics 2015, Spring. - p.112 (the table of contents, which says 114, has it wrong). - [Staff Car Sagas]
Shows 5 photos of the TVR Tina Coupé work in progress

The Imp Site
   Imp specials

Gregor Marshall: TVR Tina

TVR links:


Both photos (taken at Fissore in Italy)
supplied by Peter van den Hoogen

Leaflet 'Sparkling new twins from TVR' as well as magazine photos supplied by Richard Sozanski, Januari 2008