It isn’t often that you come across a car for sale that is as rare as this wild machine right here. Built in the late 1980s as a TVR-backed one-make racer, the Tuscan Challenge was at the time the biggest one-make racing series in the UK, and allegedly only 43 of these cars were ever built. Obviously this is a 1989 Tuscan body with a race-built 4.4-liter version of the venerable Rover V8 engine. The original plan was to make this car a low-volume road car, but demand for the race cars was so high, and TVR was already busy building S-series cars and older wedge cars, while developing the new Griffith and Chimaera models, that it never came to pass. So if you want a Tuscan, this is your way to get one.
While the Tuscan’s chassis was originally intended to be S-series-based, it was ultimately given so many modifications to handle the power output of the larger Rover V8 that it was eventually mooted and a new tubular chassis was built for the project which included a longer wheelbase and wider track. While there’s no solid information on how much power the race engine made, it was strong enough for a 0-60 time in the middle threes. That’s incredible for the late 1980s. Heck, that’s pretty incredible today. But I guess that’s what you get when you shove a big V8 into a sub-2000 pound car. The seller claims the engine in this car has “more than 400hp” for what that’s worth.
TVR has a really weird history as a sports car manufacturer. It’s technically still around, I guess, but the company has been saying a new Griffith has been coming for who knows how long. I’d love to believe that the weirdness of TVR will continue, but really something like this Tuscan here is too rare to live. Maybe it’s just weird enough to die.
But anyway, if you want to own a piece of TVR history, this could be your chance.
The full eBay listing is as follows:
This 1989 TVR Tuscan Challenge is a very rare find. TVR built only 43 of these dedicated race cars for their factory sponsored series. This example has competed in various events throughout Europe as well as North America, with its most recent outing at Road America in 2021. It is a complete car with a thorough history and comes with a hard top and extra parts. And with more than 400hp moving just 2,000 pounds it is a real thrill ride as well.
This particular car was originally sponsored by Shell and competed in yellow and black livery. In 1991 it went to the owner of TVR – Belgium where it was repainted green and sponsored by Roland. It was raced extensively and even appeared on the TVR calendar for 1993 (February). Also shown is a photo of the car running at Spa in 1992. In 1997 the car was sold and received a color change to red prior to competing in the European GT series. In 2000 it went to England for a short time and was then imported to Canada. It subsequently arrived in the United States in 2005.
The Tuscan Challenge is a true race car; it is not meant for the street and does not have a title. It uses a full tubular chassis with fiberglass body panels. It features a clamshell hood, mesh grille, rear spoiler and diffuser, and a single side exhaust. Note the removable hardtop has allowed this car to run at more than 200mph on the Jabbeke Highway.
The engine is the correct 4.5-liter Rover all-aluminum V8 which was further developed by TVR into a true racing motor. Features include a dry sump oiling system and four Dellorto 2-barrel carburetors. There is also a unique side exhaust with equal length headers. Power flows through a Tremec 5-speed transmission with hydraulic clutch. The differential was originally a GKN unit; this was replaced with a new Ford 8.8” IRS assembly from Grannas Racing with 3.73 gears. There are external coolers for both the engine oil and differential fluid.
The fully independent suspension uses Koni shocks with adjustable coilovers front and rear. The brakes have AP Racing calipers and use a mechanical bias adjuster for the two master cylinders. The car also has a Fuel Safe fuel cell along with 17” Borbet 6-spoke wheels wearing Hoosier 245/40 R7 competition tires. The most recent track prep included replacing the tie rod ends, fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator, and accelerator pumps.
The interior is that of a race car and features a Sparco bucket seat, Sabelt racing harness, and MOMO steering wheel. Instrumentation consists of a 10k-rpm tachometer and gauges for oil pressure and coolant temperature. A bank of control switches is mounted in the center area. There is a battery charging port on the left fender aside a disconnect switch with a cable operated remote for the driver. A Stack digital instrument cluster and wiring harness are also included, as is a racing log book.
There are likely fewer than 30 Tuscan Challenge race cars left in the world, making them quite a rare breed. However they are not difficult to maintain and still have a good support network. This car will be a huge draw at any vintage event; just be prepared for many questions and lots of pictures.
If you’re interested in checking it out, more photos can be seen on eBay. The car is currently located in Manitowoc, Wisconsin with a Buy It Now price of $36,500. Is it worth that? Who knows, man. Maybe?