TVR Tour

It Started with a Miss

September 2022

I was glad it had turned out to be a bright and sunny September afternoon when J and son came to pick me up to take me to D’s house for the big off.

We threw the bags in the back and headed to M’s house to collect him en route.

D’s missus had had TVR T-shirts made for us, so we’d decided to travel in these. As we’d not had a packing rehearsal, we spent 15 minutes working out which bag was going where but it all soon took shape.

The Cerbera’s back seats proved to be perfect for the bags we’d chosen, and its boot was spacious enough for yet more luggage. I dumped my camera bag in the back of the T350 as it was easy to access and less likely to get crushed.

We pulled the cars out onto the drive to get a couple of pictures while we were still fresh and the cars clean.

TVR Cerbera Wirral

We said our goodbyes and headed off into the setting sun, straight to the nearest petrol station. There was going to be a theme throughout the holiday, essentially plotting routes from one fuel stop to another, but you don’t buy a V8 and then worry about fuel economy. Or more accurately, if you do, you’re going to be doing a lot of worrying.

After we’d settled up the bill at the station I jumped in the T350. It was my time to shine. To show everyone what a bit of practice could do. I got in, started her up, managed to get it in reverse and then promptly stalled. Never mind, there’d be plenty of time to get used to recovering from a mere stall.

TVR T350 at Petrol Station

We dropped on the M53, segued onto the M56 and slid onto the M6 without any hindrance. Whatever traffic I was expecting just didn’t materialise. The novelty of driving the car made what is essentially the world’s most boring road, interesting and we were soon at the M6 toll. The crowds evaporated and we opened up the cars.

Getting to the toll booth I encountered my first issue with travelling in a sports car. I could barely reach the payment station. Using every last bit of stretch I had, I managed to get the card within millimetres of the payment point, the gate lifted and I opened the throttle and we zoomed out the other side.

Based on our current progress we were unlikely to make the Premier Inn restaurant before closing. We’d decided to have some food in a service station in Milton Keynes. Getting out of the car the was a nip in the air, summer was definitely behind us and autumn was here.

Milton Keynes Service Station TVR Tour

We grabbed a Subway, and I headed to Costa for a much-needed coffee – which took about 20 minutes to make.

Once I’d finally got my caffeine fix we had a quick look at the first day’s itinerary and decided against heading too far south – which meant we’d be going to Bruges. Result – this had been top of my list for day one.

We ambled back to the cars, this time D was going to continue to drive and I’d navigate us to the hotel. It was dark now and the traffic was minimal when we skirted around London and headed to Dartford.

D and I were chatting about nothing much in particular as we approached our turn-off when the car in front decided to slam on its brakes.

Our world was filled with red, and time slowed down. I slammed on the brakes. This had little impact as I wasn’t driving.

As we closed in on the back of the SUV at pace, my first thought was, “I wonder if we’ve got antilock brakes”.

The brakes locked.


We skidded towards certain death and the annihilation of a classic sports car. D made the decision to deftly switch lanes. Which was a good idea given our trajectory would have embedded us into the car in front.

Hurtling past the black SUV, I expected to see a wheel in the road or at least a reason for the heavy braking. Nothing at all was in front of the car.

They’d obviously had a moment, woke up, or realised that their car is neither sports nor utility and wanted to get out there and then. Whatever the reason I was glad D was driving and not me.

TVR Dartmouth

We headed on, the Dartmouth bridge looming in the distance, spanning the inky black Thames below and made another stop at a petrol station as the T350 was running on fumes.

TVR T350 Kent

Once we’d filled up, it was a short trip to the Premier Inn circumnavigating the world’s most complex roundabout and then a road with no lights or decent signage to where we were staying.

We dumped our gear in the rooms and headed to the bar for refreshments. There were a few TVRs in the car park, but I’d expected to see a lot more TVR folk in the pub. In some ways, after a long journey, it was nice to reflect on the first leg of the voyage without making polite conversation.

J got down to telling the story about when he was trying to hit 30mph on his bike and a cat ran out in front of him, which he subsequently hit and ended belly up on the asphalt. The cat ran off, J didn’t, but he was okay in the end.

The staff politely came around and kicked everyone out and we headed to our rooms, agreeing a 7 am start at breakfast, so we’d be all ready for the off and the chunnel in the morning.

TVR Cerbera in Maidenhead

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