Tuscan - New Suspension Set-Up For Tuscan S Announced | Part Two

Alternatively, a myriad of further readouts is easily selectable via a rotary knob and so, while the binnacle is extremely sophisticated, its appearance and operation is simplicity itself. These readouts include road speed, engine speed, fuel level, oil level, water temperature, oil temperature, ambient air temperature, oil pressure, fuel pressure and battery voltage. Minimum and maximum readings are recorded. Furthermore, on the top of the instrument binnacle is a graduated shift light that again takes its inspiration from Formula One racing cars. This whole binnacle adjusts up and down with the steering wheel so all the gauges are always visible. The jewellers' quality of the exterior is matched by an extremely high tech interior with mapped stepper motors operating the water temperature and fuel gauges which learn as they go along and an aircraft grade stepper motor controlling the speedometer so that the instrument can keep up with the performance of the car.

All the rest of the switchgear is in the driver's line of sight and once again is simple and elegant. With the exception of the heater and window controls, all these extremely expensive switches, as well as the radio, are mounted high up on the dashboard. A lot of thinking has also gone into the design of the seats which have the seatbelts built into the backrest so that the buckle always falls easily to hand. Furthermore, it is impossible to build a seat height adjuster into such a low car so the squab is removable. This is primarily so that the many TVR owners who take their cars on track days can more easily get into the car with a crash helmet on while benefiting from increased lateral support.

The styling of the car has been very much influenced by the fact that it has a straight six mounted between the front wheels and it is this engine which is the heart of the car. Straight sixes have somewhat gone out of fashion because they cannot be mounted transversely, be it in the front, middle or back of the car. However, TVR's adherence to the true course of sportscar manufacture, i.e. mounting the engines in the front to drive the rear wheels, makes it possible to use this most classic of sportscar engines. However, while one eye has been on the past in terms of the tradition of the layout, the other has been resolutely forward as the engine is very much up to date. Gruelling tests over the last three and a half years have shown its performance and reliability in Tuscan prototypes as well as the Cerbera Speed Six. Furthermore, in its doubled up, twelve cylinder form, the engine has seen competition in the mighty Speed Twelve.

One of the inherent characteristics of a straight six is that it can be perfectly balanced and this particular one has a capacity of four litres and a power output of 360 bhp. The all aluminium engine breaks away from the TVR mould in that it has a number of new features. It is the first of TVR's own engines to feature a four valves per cylinder head which gives higher volumetric efficiency at high rpm which helps to give it its sporty nature. Furthermore it has finger followers which allow higher valve accelerations which improve the engine's torque. It also has chain driven twin overhead camshafts for a quiet reliable drive. However, it also features a grade of high quality components and a level of high technology design on a parallel with its eight and twelve cylinder sisters.

Like the Speed Twelve and racing variants of the Speed Eight engine, it has a dry sump which means it can sit very low in the chassis and that it doesn't suffer from oil surge which can be a problem with the long sump required for this configuration of engine. In addition, the engine is canted over 15 degrees to enable the bonnet line to be even lower. It also features forged steel conrods, slipper style lightweight pistons, thin wall cylinder liners and a fully counterweighted nodular iron crankshaft. The chassis is based on that of the Cerbera but in this case is 8" shorter. This means that it has improved interior room over the Griffith and Chimaera but as the overall thinking behind it, and indeed the dimensions, stem from the Tuscan Challenge racing car, the balance of the chassis between ride and handling is as well honed as ever. The other advantage of basing the chassis on that of TVR's one make race series car is that there is probably no chassis anywhere in the world that has been so often and so comprehensively crash tested. Safety has been uppermost in the designers thoughts throughout the process and the roll cage, door beams and transverse aluminium tube are evidence of that. The brakes are 294mm at the front with superb four pot aluminium callipers and are 273mm at the rear.

The Tuscan S is a development of the old red rose Tuscan but with a number of significant developments. At the forefront of these is a revision of the chassis geometry with different kingpin inclination and less bump steer to specifically set the car up for the 18” wheels which come as standard on this car. Spring and damper rates are also now stiffer than they were originally to complement the car’s new chassis and extra power. The brakes have also been enlarged to 322mm at the front and 298mm at the rear. They remain cross-drilled and ventilated all round and the callipers remain the same also.

The engine of the Tuscan S has been further developed to produce 390 bhp at 7000rpm and 310 ft.lbs of torque at 5250 rpm. The Tuscan S also features most of the Tuscan’s options list as standard. Among these are air conditioning, gas discharge main beam headlamps and a DAB stereo, which receives the latest digital radio broadcasts. It is the first production car to have one of these fitted as standard.

Published 7 November 2002 MAC

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