There are a few important and specific points to check when buying a SEAC but most are the same as other Wedges
The first thing you must do is establish the cars provenance - i.e. are you actually buying a SEAC ? There were many press articles
written on the SEAC - the car may have
been photographed at the time. Ask to see old service invoices - the dealer invariably lists the model.
Try contacting previous owners
The chassis lottery
Probably the most important bit - age is no indicator of condition (my 1986 chassis needed no welding during the resoration). Have a good look at the chassis
especially the outriggers behind the front wheels and side rails. The sills on the SEAC are integral to the body making inspection in this area
If the car has a Kevlar body it may ripple - some are worse than other and it may suffer from sag. The exhaust weakens the kevlar at the rear and the body tips
backwards. This is most noticeable if you look at the rear of the door shutlines.
Make sure the cooling system works good with no overheating issues. Check fan cuts in ok and brings temp down.
Test the clutch for slipping - hard acceleration in 4th and 5th uphill is a good way but you may have your own way of testing! It's an engine out job to replace
the clutch (main dealer method).
Check pop up headlamps work OK (including flash).
Exhaust manifolds - standard mild steel are prone to cracking when old and the gaskets can leak. There is not much clearance for working on these.
Inboard rear disk brakes, they are well out of sight check the discs are in good condition, a sign they are working well.
Front windscreen can go milky in the bottom corners caused by moisture in the lamination.
Also see if the carpet is showing signs of rot where the seat belts are bolted to the floor behind the seats.
Reproduced from Sprint - November 1990
Sorry, but I've decided not to print a part of the Register this month, which should
have been the Griffith & Tuscan V8 listings. I have been unsure about declaring
the information because of happenings with AC Cobras, and TVR V8s could be in a
similar position. My feelings were confirmed by some articles sent to me by a Griffith
owner, Karlheinz Will, from Germany.
Fakes, Frauds and Air Cars
The law of supply and demand is responsible for the value we place on things. The rarer an item, the more valuable it is and, the higher the price when it is bought and sold. TVR V8s
have always been perceived as both rare and valuable. At no time is this truer than today. High prices seem to have a way of attracting the unscrupulous and the result,
certainly in the case of AC Cobras, is playing fast and loose with paperwork as well as selective amnesia regarding individual cars' histories and previous owners.
All the parts needed to build a complete TVR V8 are available to day and theoretically a complete car could therefore be built. Sometimes such newly created cars might
have a legitimate purpose; the original car may have been wrecked or damaged beyond re-pair and its legitimate owner has little choice but to recreate his car instead of repairing it.
What disturbs me, and others, is the possible illegitimate car, the one for which no valid paperwork exists or the one in which the original car
was destroyed long ago and of which there is not a trace left today. These illegitimate cars need to be identified so that they cannot be misrepresented in the future.
A registration document is a piece of paper which represents a car, it is not interchangeable with the car. The paperwork is merely a legal convenience. However, some individuals
erroneously believe that the paperwork (ie.V5, import documents, bill of sale etc.) is just as good as the real car - and having one is as good as having the other.
Thus if an individual learns that a TVR V8 was totally destroyed and manages to ascertain that car's chassis number, he may be able to obtain a Title for it and build or have built a car to match.
The flipside of high prices is that everything relating to TVR V8s has a high value. The bent, twisted and rotting hulk will now be worth more than when it was brand new. Cars that have been sitting
behind bodyshops or left in barns are being found and sold at premium prices. A buyer of one of these may find that his "car" already exists in the form of a newly "restored" Tuscan
or Griffith. In fact a brand new car has already been built from scratch; created from thin air. An "Air Car" An Air Car is a car built from scratch by, or for, someone who has no legitimate claim to that
Vehicle Identification Number by ownership of major parts and title. This does not mean the owner ship of a door hinge or wheels etc. Having a door hinge or some wheels is not enough to justify the building of
an entire car and claiming ownership of it as an original!
Perhaps we should establish some working definitions for describing cars, because if the recent past is any indication of the future, things will get even more confusing as values rise. Might I suggest:
ORIGINAL - refers to the fact that the main chassis and body have not been replaced.
ORIGINAL/RESTORED - a car having more than 50% of its original structure/bodywork.
ORIGINAL/REBUILT - a car with more than 50% of its original structure/bodywork re-placed, but not the main chassis tubes and pieces carrying serial numbers.
REPLICA - a car that has been totally rebuilt, to original specifications, but where some part of the original car existed prior to the rebuild and also documentable paper-work exists.
SPECIAL - a car of any style built using an original chassis.
AIR CAR - a car built from scratch, starting without major original parts and with no legitimate paperwork.
KIT CAR - any car with a body which approximates to the original shape, using any kind of chassis, engine, body etc.
One good source of Air Cars could be cars which have been listed in Model Registers as "owner unknown". The chances are that the original car will never turn up. And a TVR V8 is a TVR V8, is a TVR V8, or is it?
However, once an air car is discovered and unmasked for what it is there may be no shortage of unknowledgeable buyers who are only too willing to line up to buy what it appears to be.
These potential buyers are almost always afraid to tell anyone about their find - to research its history or to attempt to authenticate its chassis number - because they think the longer they wait, the greater
the chance of someone else discovering the car and buying it out from under them. This of course plays right into the hands of the seller.
Once someone buys an air car and realises what he has acquired, his first thoughts are to sue, sue, sue! To go after the seller on the grounds of misrepresentation or even out and out fraud. Slap him with hefty
damages for emotional trauma, pain, suffering and legal expenses. He'll soon discover that winning the case will hinge on his being able to prove that the seller knowingly misrepresented the car. If
the car has changed hands a few times the seller may honestly not have known it was a fake. In which case, what does he do?
Even if the buyer were to win the case there is no guarantee that he would ever collect any money, winning the case is one thing collecting the money quite another. Such a car found, in law, not to be "original" would have its value greatly affected. The easy way out is to sell the car and conveniently forget its lack of legitimate history. This is known as "passing the hot potato". I would like to stress that I do not believe that the practice of recreating TVR V8s is a problem, but it could become so. A Model Registrar's role is to try to minimise any possible abuse, either now or in the future. MERVYN LARNER