TVR S2 Reviews from UK and Ireland

1989 TVR S2 2.9 V6

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 2.9 V6 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 2 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.3 / 10
Distance when acquired63000 miles
Most recent distance63000 miles
Previous carLancia Beta

Summary:

Get one as a weekend car, don't add up your garage bills and you'll love it

Faults:

Clocks never worked properly on this car, hence I have no idea if the mileage was correct.

Immobilizer failed.

Leaky roof (goes with the territory!) - replaced seals which fixed it temporarily.

Rear brake drums seized (didn't notice because they don't do anything anyway, most braking effort comes from the front discs)

Front ball joints collapsed, surprisingly expensive to fix!

Throttle cable snapped.

Rear differential and drive shafts had to be reconditioned and re-greased (quite common, but v expensive because drive train has to be dropped).

Clutch went after about 5000 miles.

General Comments:

These are great cars, but go in with your eyes wide open. It will be expensive to run, it will leak like a sieve and you should sign up to a breakdown recovery service!

Mine had a very complete service history, previous owners had spared no expense in its upkeep (new shocks, paint touch ups, regular servicing & waxoyling etc) but I still had a heap of receipts after a couple of years of ownership.

However, get the car on a quiet, winding country road and let loose that fantastic exhaust note and it all seems worth while.

More spacious and better equipped than equivalent Caterhams, longish journeys are tolerable. But motorway driving with the roof up becomes a chore because the noise drowns out the stereo and conversation is impossible.

I used the S2 as my every-day car and it performed admirably most of the time. Heavy in traffic and noisy on the motorway it is happiest burbling down country roads at around 50 where it really shines. Get one as a weekend car and look after it and you'll love it!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd January, 2003

1990 TVR S2 2.9 petrol

Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 2.9 petrol Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.3 / 10
Distance when acquired70000 miles
Most recent distance73000 miles
Previous carAlfa Romeo 164

Summary:

Top value soft top performance

Faults:

Distributor shaft sheared.

Electric windows very slow to wind up or down.

Interior trim very fragile.

Fuel gauge shorted out, but not fixed as I have been told they are so inaccurate it is not worth the bother.

Rev counter increases by 500 - 600 revs when I switch the cabin fan on!

General Comments:

Not as awesome as its more modern brothers, but the power to weight ratio is about 175BHP per ton. This is similar to a Porsche 968, so the car is no slouch.

I paid £4900 for mine. If you want a rocket-ship roadster, there really is not much else at this price.

Suspension is very hard and needs to be, the exhaust sits very close to the tarmac and is often damaged due to grounding. Avoid speed bumps at all costs!

Spirited driving (i.e. scare seven shades of sugar out of your passenger) can drive the fuel consumption down to the low 20's, but 25 - 28 MPG is about right for reasonable driving.

With todays modern, insulated cars it is easy to hit high speeds on country lanes and get no real fun out of the experience.

The TVR has "feel".

The steering doesn't talk to you about the road, it sings to you. You don't so much as steer around corners as think around them. The back end slips out very progressively and the flick of opposite lock needed to correct your line is easily executed.

If you are careful the car can flatter the driver, if you are not careful it can bite, hard.

Acceleration is instant in any gear, overtaking is a pleasure.

Having said that, it is not a commuters car or a long distance GT. The only car closer to a motorbike in terms of noise, wind and effort to drive must be a Caterham 7 (and clones).

If you cannot justify spending the family cash on a Chimera, one of these is the answer, and nearly as good.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th June, 2002

5th Jan 2005, 19:57

You nailed the car perfect. I have a 1990 S2 as well and everything you said lives here in mine. The only thing I might add is they are great fun to drive and your steering wheel is likely on the wrong side. Mine is in Canada and on the left. Cheers.

Average review marks: 5.3 / 10, based on 2 reviews