You’ve not heard of Mulholland Automotive and to be honest, neither had we. Turns out it’s a division of Mulholland Group – in its words, an “advanced lightweight engineering technology company” based in Derby that has supplied various bits and pieces to top-tier motorsports and “the vast majority of the world’s supercar manufacturers” for over 20 years.
Now it’s decided to build its own car. Called the Legend 480, company founder and owner Graham Mulholland has been toying with the idea of doing a car since 2014. The TVR-nut, and good friend of the late TVR boss Peter Wheeler, says the new rear-wheel drive two-seater is “the true successor for TVR” – a “fast as hell, brutally pure… analogue experience” that aims to rekindle the spirit of the Tuscans and Cerberas of Wheeler-era TVR. Indeed, the styling is the work of former TVR design chief Damian McTagget.
Cars will be assembled (and most of the components manufactured) at the Group’s existing 60,000sq ft factory in Derby, and all being well should be ready to go in September for around £90,000 (approx. RM477,065) a pop.
So there’s a chance you’ll see one of these things on the road before the actual new TVR, which was revealed in 2017 and supposed to be in production by now. A report from Business News Wales in March this year said the company had only just submitted a planning application for the refurbishment of a factory in Ebbw Vale, Wales, so actual customer cars are still a way off.
Mulholland’s timeline is ambitious – but it’s not trying to do anything that hasn’t been done before. “The longest lead time item is really windscreens,” Mr Mulholland says, “that’s governing the timetable of the whole program”.
The first carbon chassis (which if all goes well, will also underpin a convertible, four-seater and track car) will be ready in five weeks, and all the body panels in no more than ten, while the engine – a 480bhp LS V8 with Mulholland’s own internals – manual gearbox and differential should all arrive at the factory within the next month or so. Then the team can construct the first three prototypes and get testing.
And it wants the first of its customers to be intimately involved in that process. “I want launch customers to be brave and come with us on this journey,” says Mr Mulholland, “people will get a full day with us [when testing begins], and they’ll understand how car companies get cars where they need to be for customers”.
He envisions a club, a “cult” almost, where like-minded owners are so intimately acquainted with the brand that they can pop into the factory for a pee if they’re caught short on the M1. “We’re going to be palms open, arms out – very approachable.”
Order books are open, and we’ll bring you more on the project as it progresses. In the meantime, though, what say ye, Internet?