Mike Penny (Production manager) - "hated the sight of building them"
Body and Chassis
The body was different in many ways to the 390SE with a shorter, narrower transmission tunnel, rounded and softened nose cone being the most noticeable difference,
the rear bumper was also deeper and the side skirts and wheel arches were also exaggerated to accommodate the wide wheels.
SEACs are two inches wider and seven inches shorter than a 3905E
Not all SEAC's were Aramid Composite as the name suggests: the first 8-10 cars were full Kevlar, they probably all still exist, it's just that some were
involved in accidents and may have had GRP repairs.
We switched away from Kevlar because of the finish and the panels not being stiff enough. Peter Wheeler insisted on some Kevlar content. There was a discussion that if we completely go
away from Kevlar the (SEAC) name would no longer apply.
The early cars were 200lbs lighter than the GRP equivalent, for example a 390 body is twice as thick.
Kevlar proved to be very difficult to cut and work (the bodyshop thought you could just use a normal wet layup) with and TVR were struggling to make any profit even at the initial price of £28,500 as it was.
The labour involved in laying up was much higher and the finish tended to be ripplely which resulted in cars being re bodied.
Cars built after had a mix of kevlar & glass (Aramat is the trade name) there were also 4 or 5 carbon fibre & glass 420SEAC's.
Thanks to Tim Lamont of ACT for contributing to the information here:
The first 3 had 350 style dashes (and 2 part rear bodywork) changing to a new style with four gauges in top centre with no bulky box of switches arid radio etc. Later
450's had the dash with five gauges in top centre and turned slightly towards the driver. I believe that there are 1 maybe 2 stainless chassis cars about, one probably
was Peter Wheeler's own SEAC.
Chris Schirle confirmed the latter saying that of the Stainless chassis built for the racer 1 or 2 disappeared into road cars.
He also added that on several chassis CDS (Cold drawn seamless) tubing rather than Electric resistance welding tube was used.
An early car showing the 2 part bodywork
The body one piece body from the new mould
All SEAC's except 1 or 2 have a large rose joint at the lower suspension arm (rubber suspension mounts), reckon 4 or 5 were fully
rose jointed (I have seen 3). They all had adjustable shocks, a few had coil overs, with adjustable ride height. Some have adjustable spring seats all round but most
were only on the front.
The SEAC's with the fully adjustable suspension have quite a few changes at the front as the suspension has coil over shocks and thus the bottom arms are different
and the top mount is completely different. Also the Track Control Arms are rose jointed thus where they join the chassis at the front is quite different.
Peter Wheeler always wanted to build an engine shop within the factory but it was too complex - we didn't have the room or the budget for all the machinery.
So he then set the task to find an engine builder - John Eales initially (3.9's) then Graham Nash at NCK who built the SEAC engines after an inital batch
of 6 in the factory. Both fell by the wayside
The 4.2 evolved from the purchase of cranks from Rover destined for the failed alloy diesel engine by Perkins. TVR bought the lot, about 300 for a 4.2 stroke.
The SEAC specification included:
Bore: 93.5mm and stroke 77mm (420) or 80mm (450)
Cosworth forged pistons No.PM0209
Tufrided crank, I think with standard bearings
Heads were fully ported (in fact over-ported for road use)
TVR grind or H234 Kent cam with hydraulic lifters and standard rocker gear. A few had solid lifters
Lightened and balanced
Jaguar AFM and injectors
Weber adjustable FPR set to 45psi
Standard trumpets on a partially ported manifold
Throttle was normally 70mm
420 SEAC porting (bottom) compared to 500 Griffith (top)
Engines varied in their state of tune from car to car, the 420 was rated at 300bhp and this was quite a realistic figure for some of the hottest cars. One has 355
bhp, one 327 bhp and the racer 360 bhp. 450's have 325 bhp
Wheels are OZ racing five spoke split rims or Lattice style. Tyre size is 225/50VR15 Bridgestone RE71 front and rear with an option of 245/45/R16 on the rear.
SEAC's set at 20 mins total toe in at front, 1.2 degrees neg camber all round, sorry can't remember caster angle.
A new 420 SEAC cost £29,995
Optional extras were:
Power assisted steering (£365)
Air conditioning (£735)
Metallic paint (£135)
English leather upholstery (£805)
Half hide seats (£373)