Fabled TVR T440R for sale

Blackpool bruisers come no more special than this – time to grab a hunk of TVR history

By Matt Bird / Friday, 10 November 2023 / Loading comments

The history of the Ottoman Empire has nothing on the recent past of TVR. There’s sufficient scandal, mystery, mistaken identity and shady deals to fill the most comprehensive of multi-part docuseries. The chaos is part of the charm, of course – especially with a future that doesn’t look very bright at all – but it doesn’t half make writing about certain TVRs very difficult.

The T440R is a perfect example. Back in the late 1990s, Peter Wheeler wanted to take TVR into GT1 racing and back to Le Mans – this very car is the one presented to the FIA and homologated as the road-going example of what would be taken to the grid. There had been a Tuscan R concept that signaled the intent, the name under which the production car was going to be sold – see the brochure picture below, with this car, for proof. It was only later on (and thanks to additional FIA requirements) that T440R and T400R were introduced. 

Following this car in 2002 (reg PN02 ZNG, once badged a T400R) came another in 2003 (PL03 BXY, always T440R), and eventually three T440s were made. A Typhon promised even more craziness and power, which is when the ZNG car was rebadged to become the first T440, but issues during development meant just three were made and weren’t quite as exotic (i.e. as sequential and as supercharged) as first forecast. Even by TVR standards, it was a mad time. That probably covers enough of the history before getting buried by it; though old, this thread provides some interesting history and detail on all of them. 

That this car is PN02 ZNG is exciting enough, because the T440R recipe promised so much. All these models were far more than just slightly upgraded Tuscans. They were built using more carbon and new technology in the construction process (including an aluminium honeycomb flat floor), and were lighter and stiffer as well as more powerful. The Typhon was going to be supercharged and have nearly 600hp, although no forced induction cars made it to customers. As for the naturally aspirated ones, the Speed Six was upped to 4.4 litres and 440hp, hence the name. More than enough with a kerbweight of around 1,100kg. 

This one is doubly exciting, however, fresh from a recent (and exhaustive) restoration. Once upon a time ZNG was used as a promotional car for the motorsport effort, decked out in the Dewalt livery like one of the racers. Having been bought from the factory by Racing Green TVR, this T440 only went to its first private owner in 2008. Now it presents probably better than it ever has thanks to the efforts of specialists like TVR 101 and TVR Power. 

It would probably be easier to list what hasn’t been brought back to its best rather than the other way around. The straight six has been rebuilt, 4.4-litres now pumping out 420hp and 383lb ft; a new close-ratio manual gets that power to the ground. The diff, springs, dampers and exhaust are all freshly installed as well. It’s a reassembly as much as a recommission; the two-seat interior, complete with carbon construction on show, is fantastic, and the Candy Apple Ruby Pearl paint appears to be absolutely perfect. There’s not a blemish anywhere. 

The 20-odd year history of the T440R is enough to make your head spin, but there can surely be no doubting how well the potential has been realised here. What might have been, eh? Or what can still be, at least for this one. ZNG is essentially now a brand new TVR T440R, complete with extensive records of its restoration and a history file that includes homologation papers and original brochures from when it was new to the range. If that can’t excite the denizens of PH, then nothing ever will.  

If it goes even half as well as it looks, somebody is in for an incredible driving experience. Indeed even if it merely looks as good in reality as it does here, it’ll be an awesome thing just to keep and admire. Whatever the next owner does with the T440R, it’s wonderful to see a big part of TVR’s history in such fine fettle. The price is lotto win territory, yes, but as the ultimate representation of the Speed Six era – and of Peter Wheeler’s vision for the brand – the first T440R could never rank with the rest. And as the advert states, this is still rather less than the Speed 12 sold for…

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