Sam Philip15 June 2009

Ex-TVR boss dies

British sports car legend passes away after short battle with illness

Peter Wheeler

Clarkson has just emailed us with a tribute to his friend, ex-TVR boss, Peter Wheeler, who passed away last week following a short battle with illness:

'I used to shoot with Peter. He was a damn good host, and was so fit, striding up and down the hills as though they weren't there. I bet that wherever he is now, he's cross he didn't live to see the end of the Labour Government that he hated so much.'

Wheeler was chairman of the Blackpool sports car company from 1980 until 2004, turning TVR from a tiny operation into a well-recognised, oft-infamous marque with a generation of lightweight, powerful cars including the Chimaera, Griffith, Cerbera, Tuscan and Sagaris.

After selling TVR to Russian businessman Nikolai Smolensky in 2004, Wheeler continued to dabble in the world of gently daft cars, creating the giant, cockroach-like amphibious ‘Scamander' in 2008 (pictured). He was a passionate racer, too, competing in a classic Aston Martin DB4 until recently.

Wheeler worked closely with Top Gear for many years: the very first issue of Top Gear magazine featured a Griffith 500 on the cover, while Peter and Jeremy remained good friends despite occasional, er, disagreements about cars.

Wheeler was a true legend of the British car industry and will be greatly missed. Top Gear's condolences go out to his family.

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