Break out your low-rise jeans, crank some Nelly, and boot up your clamshell iBook, because a TVR Tuscan sports car inspired by the big budget action thriller/John Travolta facial hair experiment “Swordfish” is on sale right now and people need to know. Seriously, it’s like a Sony Vaio threw up on a car. I love it.
It’s hard to describe the early 2000s (generally referred to as the Y2K era) to people who were not there. We’d all somehow survived the much-feared and ultimately benign electronic apocalypse, only to have this brief sense of relief and the general post-Cold War high America was operating on destroyed by a terrorist attack and our reaction to it. The whole idea that the machines we’d relied on could destroy us was a touch Butlerian, though I’d argue our burgeoning electronic apocalypse is probably still happening, albeit in a slower, more Gibsonian way.
Anyway, do you want to hear my theories on post-9/11 America or do you want to read about this killer TVR you can buy? That’s what I thought.
The TVR Tuscan
TVR was (is?) a longtime British manufacturer of small batch sports cars of phallic design and testicular power, especially in the late ’90s and early aughts. They were the kind of cars you’d buy if you lived in the UK and thought a Dodge Viper was too tame.
The Tuscan was, by TVR standards, only slightly insane. Powered by a TVR-made inline-six, the Tuscan first showed up with about 340 horsepower, before kicking it up to 360 horsepower when paired with the bored out 4.0-liter version. While these numbers aren’t huge by today’s standards, this is a rear-wheel drive car that weighs less than 2,600 pounds and looks like what a teenage Joker would drive in a short-lived “Young Batman” cartoon that the WB unceremoniously cancelled midway through its second season. It’s also a car with no ABS or tractional control, because TVR didn’t believe in them.
What Makes It A ‘Swordfish’ Car
Through the magic of product placement, the new Tuscan sports car got to make its big screen debut in “Swordfish,” an action flick described by the NYT as “a James Bond movie stripped of humor.” Below is the scene involving the Tuscan, which Roger Ebert described as an “absolutely gratuitous car chase.”
I’m not even going to explain the plot because it just makes it less fun. Also, imagine learning how to drive stick on a TVR! Hugh Jackman does a remarkable job here.
The particular car for sale over at British classified site Pistonheads is a 2004 model with the 3.6-liter inline-six. It’s a ‘Swordfish’ car because it has the flip paint color (aka Mystichrome) like the car in the movie, which shifts from a greenish color to a bluer shade depending on the angle you view it.
It’s a lot and feels very T-Mobile Sidekick. Like, to be a passenger in this car you need to be dressed up full Boho-Chic. Seriously, will.i.am probably took one look at this Tuscan and said “That’s a bit much.”
But look at the freaking interior! It’s like the cross between a Sony Sports Walkman CD Diskman and Val Kilmer’s codpiece from Batman Forever.
The colors are a match for what’s on the outside of the car, but with more of the pastel periwinkle that industrial designers in the early 2000s could not get enough of for some reason.
[Editor’s Note: Just for reference, check out this Sony VAIO laptop from 1998:
Same damn purple! – JT]
And those buttons! Clearly, the best thing to do with a car that has no real protective safety systems other than your right foot is give it some glossy smooth, completely inscrutable gold buttons.
I’m not even being facetious here. I straight up love this car. It’s so perfectly of its place and time. I’m not even sure I could drive this Y2K Dick Tracy villain lookin’ ass car, but I’d like to try. It’s currently for sale for the fairly reasonable price of £36,995 or $46,000.
The seller also describes how well it’s been taken care of in its short history:
This particular Tuscan has been maintained by the Hilton & Moss team for over 14 years which included our extensive period as a main dealer, Castle TVR. The car was first registered in July 2004 and has had just two owners since. The first kept the car for 5 years up until May 2009, the second and final keeper took ownership at this time purchasing the car from us.The car retains a very healthy history file and service/maintenance record. Shortly after purchase in 2009 the car was laid up in dry storage for a huge 8-year period between 2009-2017, this is all supported by the cars history file, previous owner and MOT history. The team at Hilton & Moss completed a thorough recommission in 2017 and have maintained the car regularly since.
If you’re in the UK or another country that can import this car, I think you at least need to try, right? It is the literal best car you could drive to laser tag.
Also, some of the Y2K jokes were contributed by my friend Dan. Please make your best Y2K joke below.
- Scary Indy 500 Crash Sends Tire Past Fans And Into Parked Car (UPDATED)
- Someone Imported A 2005 Toyota Camry From Japan And I Just Don’t Get It
- Only One Industry Can Tell You What To Stick In Your Hole: COTD
- Studebaker K10 Tow Truck, Lancia Hyena Zagato, Harley-Davidson XR1200: Mercedes’ Marketplace Madness
Photos: Pistonheads, Sony, Rio, RCA, Vintage Mac Museum
Matt this was so well written, I don’t even know where to start. Thank you for this.. and tbh, this car still looks badass to my eye. The rear is a little ungainly, and the interior is downright atrocious.. but the front is wondrous and it is ever so much of its time.
The bit about teenage Joker in Young Batman which the WB cancelled in its 2nd season was perfect and had me laughing. Thanks for this!
The whole thing gives me a very Sega Dreamcast vibe. I dig it.
It’s good I don’t have the money to buy one. Because I would.
Wow. Looking at the photo of the seat, I was hit with some intense nostalgia, and I just couldn’t quite place it. Something seemed so very familiar about that color combination and the plush swoopy leather seats.
Sure, lots of things came in that teal/purple color combination in the late-’90s/early-’00s, but this was something specific. I eventually realized that the seat is VERY reminiscent of the seating in the limo that my friends and I took to prom (yes, in the year 2001).
The interior reminds me of a trapper keeper or something.. or maybe a laser tag establishment (which at the time were new and all the rage)
I love it. While I’d probably leave the interior as-is, I would like to see one with a more modern-inspired interior.
Nevermind the Vaio, check out the memory card it uses.
That was one of those Sony DRM obligated (Magic Stick?) that Sony insisted on because they were terrified that MP3s would undermine their music publishing.
I sold those at the camera store I worked at. Every single Sony customer had sticker shock, especially once SD cards were 1/6th the price. Less even.
Just keep in mind that it has that godawful and massively unreliable Speed 6 engine up front. That price is just the entry in to a world of pain, suffering, and huge engine rebuild bills that pop up nice and regular.