TVR Vixen S3

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Keywords: tvr, vixen, s2, s3, tvr vixen, tvr vixen s2, tvr vixen s3, tvr vixen s1, tvr tuscan, restoration, rebuild, technical, workshop, fix, mend, s1, purchase, buying, value

Description: I decided to look for a Vixen S2 or S3 - the S1 and earlier cars have the body bonded to the chassis making some repairs very difficult - not to mention the tiny doors on the earlier cars. I would

I decided to look for a Vixen S2 or S3 - the S1 and earlier cars have the body bonded to the chassis making some repairs very difficult - not to mention the tiny doors on the earlier cars. I would have preferred an S2 as in some ways they are superior to the S3. I didn't want a Tuscan as they were out of my price range and the 2500 has nothing to recommend it except economy. It's performance is the same as the Vixen 1600 but apparently doesn't handle as well because of the extra weight of the engine.

The first car I looked at was a total basket case. I only looked at it because it was in a drive half a mile away. It was a 2500. The sunroof had collapsed, there was moss growing on the seats - the chassis was rotten - it sold for £1000.

I looked at an S2 at the other end of the country (advertised at £1800) which was better - it ran and would probably have got an MOT. However there was no paint on the chassis - the instruments had been vandalised and it had had a respray where some parts of the body had been flat spotted. I decided this one was too much work.

I looked at a third car which was advertised as just needing rear light fittings for an MOT (£3500). I pointed out to the owner that there was a large hole in the chassis outrigger (the outriggers and tubes in front and behind the rear wheels are favourites for rust) and one of the main chassis tubes was broken (they fatigue next to the engine mountings) where it had been repaired before. Three out of four main chassis tubes had been broken and repaired. The brake discs were thick with rust and I couldn't try the engine as one of the core plugs was lying on the floor under the car. The bonnet was extremely badly crazed.

After looking at these I decided to change my strategy and I decided to put a wanted ad in TVR Sprint. This worked quite well - I had a few calls from sellers as well as other people looking for a Vixen - one of them put me on to a car not far away. I went to look at this one and had a test drive - progress - a car that was drivable but externally tatty. I offered him £3600 but he didn't accept. He told me the car above had gone for £3000.

Most of the calls from sellers were offering cars that were out of my price range - one sounded particularly attractive - an S3 with new chassis, fully rebuilt 6000 miles and six years ago, retrimmed in leather. I said no but 10 minutes later I dialled 1471 and called him back. The car was in Essex and I got a friend who lived nearby to go and check it out. He said "not perfect but not expensive to put right".



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