Another double feature is up from R&T’s 1981 March issue. This time it’s two high performance cars, very different in design.
First it’s the cover story of the TVR:
Now read this road test of the now-icon 308:
The roof line of the Tasmin reminds me of a Chevrolet Vega hatchback.. Also like a custom show car version of a future Vega
That Tasmin brings back memories. Back about 25 years ago, a gentleman in Johnstown, PA was the primary parts source for TVR’s, and had a small showroom in the back of his warehouse facility where he kept a couple of the Tasmin convertible models for sale. Price back then was somewhere around $10,000.00, and I was sorely tempted to own one for a couple of years. A magnificent automobile. Definitely my idea of a grand tourer.
The blacked out bottom half of the 308 looks sooooo cheap to me, always did. The Berlinetta Boxer pulled it off but it just looked posour on the 308, and really hid the otherwise very attractive lines of it.
British sports car makers sure were smitten by those SD1 tails weren’t they?
Agree on the black lower panels. It does look rather cheap–they look much better in solid colors!
The example shown actually has Capri Mk.III (1978 on) rear lights – three angled surfaces and square edges both sides. The Tasmin seems to have used at least three different types of rear light over the years
Hillman Hunter (I think): https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a0/TVR_Tasmin_Rear.jpg/1024px-TVR_Tasmin_Rear.jpg
Rover SD1 (three raised ridges, with recesses between, used upside down so the angled edge follows the body): http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_zp5hU5oekAI/S5RS3q__8BI/AAAAAAAAC5o/OnzPwN3RBKo/s320/tvr+280i+rear.bmp
Capri III: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:280i_3_4_Rear.JPG
and later, Renault Feugo (again, upside down): http://images.clickedit.co.uk/1223/11602964.JPG
The door handle comes from the Capri II/III too.
Ah right you are, the US market Capris never used those tails so I didn’t recognize them. Good info!
…and no UK-market Tasmin ever, to the best of my knowledge, used that horrendous mess with the ‘Hunter’ lights. Maybe it was a bodge to meet some US lighting requirement. Utterly hideous.
Hard to imagine that the “mighty” 308 boasted all of 208 horsepower and 11.5 mpg, both easily bested by any number of mundane cars today. (And it weighed 3250 pounds!)
But would I still want to have one if I could afford the upkeep? Probably. This was one of the dream cars of my generation. 🙂
I too was somewhat underwhelmed by the 308’s stats. That 7.9-second 0-60 mph isn’t too impressive either — especially while slurping a gallon of Premium every 11.5 miles. Although I do recall talk back then that this “entry-level” Ferrari was “not as fast as it looks.”
But mamma mia, those looks! As perfectly proportioned as Sophia Loren. The Tasmin looks sharp (literally); but the 308 looks right. To my eyes, it is esthetically unimprovable. That is has a targa-top is the glassa on the torta.
The attached ad I remember seeing in the NY Times Magazine, circa 1980. It stands out in my memory as the only time I’ve ever seen an Italian supercar get a full-page ad in a mainstream, non-auto publication. And with a slogan that’s inspirational without being maudlin: “What can be conceived can be created.”
The 308/328 is, to my eyes, “the” classic Ferrari design. I guess that’s what growing up in the 80’s will do to you…
The TVR is impressive-looking but I don’t know if I’d consider it attractive. It’s most definitely a product of its time.
That being the prevailing wisdom is definitely true, my Dad was my car mentor as a kid, he always reminded me how slow they were when I’d be awed by one in the wild.
BUT there is a distinction that must be made between then and now. Now V8 and V12 Ferraris are pretty much on the same level in terms of performance, so pick your flavor in other words. Back then there were powerful high speed V12 grand tourers and then there were sports cars, which were well balanced modestly powered handling machines. The 911 wasn’t that powerful for the era either(best was the mighty 930 turbo and it had only 245 horsepower), nor especially were all the classic British roadster holdovers. What you got with the 308 was mid engined handling, a wide high winding powerband(much more useable than a narrow but impressive ‘peak’ horsepower) and arguably the best “modern” Pininfarina styling had to offer.
What progress we have made – a new Miata will absolutely kill the Ferrari in absolutely every category, and it is considered a “girls” sports car. Great looks, but 7.9/11.5/147 and a new $3,000 cambelt change every 2 years – why would anyone want one now?
Well V8 > I4, Mid engine > Front engine/rear drive, Hardtop/targa > roadster, Wedge shape > Jellybean shape, Hand stitched leather wrapped everything interior > Plastic/Pleather.
Who cares about MPG with a Ferrari?
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