Peter Wheeler is a car designer & businessman who worked for TVR . He has a reputation for being a bit of a maverick, and for pushing the boundaries of what is possible with car design.
Wheeler is a self-taught designer, and he has never been afraid to experiment with new ideas. He is a strong believer in the power of technology to improve car design, and he has been at the forefront of using computer-aided design (CAD) in the automotive industry.
Peter Wheeler bought TVR in 1980, after repeatedly going to the TVR factory to get his TVR Taimar Turbo fixed. On discovering that the company was cash strapped, he intially helped fund the company and ended up buying the entire business from Martin Lilley.
His first major change was to replace the Ford engines they used with the more powerful Rover V8. This was partly inspired by American car enthusiast Jack Griffith who had put an AC Cobra 4.7L V8 into his TVR Grantura. The 1991 TVR Griffith was named in his honour.
In 1989 he started the Tuscan challenge race series. Each TVR dealership was required to compete. Peter himself also raced in the Tuscan challenge, although there was suspicion as to whether the car was slightly enhanced!
Peter Wheeler kept the company in Blackpool, in the Bristol road factory. The factory reached mythical status among fans of the brand when it closed and the sad looking bodyshells could be seen abandoned outside. Find information and a gallery of photos of the TVR Factory.
TVR Wedge Cars
The Oliver Winterbottom designed wedge series of cars combined lightweight bodywork with a powerful tuned Rover V8. This formula would maintain TVRs success over the next 30 years, although the wedge styling would be replaced with curves in the early 1990s.
TVR Speed 12
Project 7/12 was unveiled at the Birmingham motor show in 1996. This would be the first of several prototypes for the most extreme TVR ever built, later called “TVR Speed 12”. Project 7/12 was to be developed as a road car so TVR could enter a race version in the GT1 race series at Le Mans. Peter Wheeler thought the car could win races and sell as a road car, spreading the development costs.
“I knew within 300 yards that it was a silly idea. Over 900bhp in a car weighing just over a ton is plainly ridiculous on the road”
Peter Wheeler TVR
See more about the various incarnations of the TVR Speed 12.
Peter’s passion for racing continued after the Speed 12 project when a small team was assembled to attend Le Mans in 2004. The 400R was entered and subsequently won its class. Find out more about the TVR 400R.
The TVR Typhon was a road car that took various developments from the successful TVR 400R race car. The developments would make the Typhon the most advanced TVR yet, but sadly Peter Wheeler sold TVR before this could be finished.
Peter died in 2009, having overseen massive changes at TVR and the development of some of the best cars the company would ever produce.
Paul is an automotive aficionado with a passion for cars. His passion for automobiles has only grown over the years, and for the past 11 years, he has been blogging about British sports cars. Readers can expect irreverent content about classic models, interesting car stories and more!