the TVR SEAC pages

TVR SEAC model History

Article by Alan

SE AC is an acronym that will raise the pulse of many TVR fan. Designating "Special Edition Aramid Composite", this was the ultimate wedge. Supposedly indicating a composite body to reduce weight, only the first twenty or so were in fact Kevlar. The remainder were in fact GRP like all TVR's. This was due largely to customer complaints about body quality. By looking closely enough, you should be able to see the weave of the carbon fibre.

My own car cost £43,000 in 1989 - so it's easy to see why an owner might want perfection.

The rationale for using a composite was that it reduced the weight of the car by around 200 lbs, with obvious performance benefits, but without losing strength. Rigidity was also achieved by making the body a one piece item.

The styling was subtly different to the 390, the body being 7 inches shorter and 2 inches wider, with a more rounded nose. A huge rear spoiler is unique to the SEAC's. The body being based on the390 and not the 400SE that followed.

The first SEAC was produced in 1986, costing twice as much as the 'basic' 350, this model used a 4.2 litre version of the Rover V8. The engines were in a higher state of tune than the standard SE cars, with high lift camshafts and some fitted with solid lifters.

The 450 SEAC was introduced in 1988. Less than forty cars were produced in total with only about a dozen being the 450's.

The cars were originally produced as homogenation specials - that was so Peter Wheeler & co could race in the Production sport category - I believe that the car did not finish the first 3 races but then went on to win the championship by winning every other round. Race engineer Chris Shirle was credited with much of the development. The car was so successful - it was banned after just 1 season. Jeff Stratam - is now the lucky owner of the racing 420 SEAC.

Driving Impressions.

Well - it feels like many over Rover engined TVR's to drive, very smooth to drive, huge power and torque. You do feel very closed in and protected - with not much room to slide around. The wind protection with the roof off - is second to none. The noise is superb. Suspension feels as good as other TVR's - with impressive turn in and power oversteer on demand and of course - it does have that wow factor that gets many heads turning.

It is like driving with your own personal thunderstorm just behind you !

Performance figures (approx - as each car was built to a customer spec).


420 SEAC


Rover V8 4228cc

300 bhp

290 lbs/ft

1131 kg 1


165 mph


4.7 secs


14.8 secs

450 SEAC

Rover V8 4441 cc

324 bhp

320 lbs/ft

1131 kg 1

167 mph




Two seat, 2 door race developed convertible body manufactured in an Aramid composite. This consists of a mixture of Kevlar and other light weight fibres providing a weight saving of approx 200 lbs whilst increasing vehicle strength.

Aerodynamically developed body features extended wheel arches, front wrap around glass panel and large boot mounted spoiler to increase down force.


Front mounted driving the rear wheels. Vee slanted 8 cylinder with total capacity 4228cu. In. Bore 93.5 mm. Stroke77.0mm. High performance Cosworth pistons, high

Lift camshaft, overhead valves with uprated valve springs, hydraulic tappets and five bearing crankshaft. Gas flowed cylinder heads with 9.75 to 1 compression ratio and

Large diameter valves. Inlet 43mm and exhaust 36mm. Tubular exhaust manifolds with large bore free flow system. Balanced and blue printed assembly. Thermostatically controlled oil cooler with uprated higher capacity oil pump and large capacity oil sump.

Power output.

Dependant on customer option for maximum power or maximum torque. Range available :-

Maximum Power. 275 ~ 320 bhp at 5500 rpm

Maximum Torque. 250 ~ 290 ft/lbs at 4500 rpm.

Fuel System

Induction is by TVR designed and modified electronic fuel injection. A single pressure electronic fuel pump is utilised in conjunction with anti surge pos and filters.

Twin interconnected tanks are located forward of the rear axle with a total capacity of 13.5 gallons (61 litres).


0 - 60 - 5.0 secs. Max speed 165 mph.


Five speed manual gearbox with heavy duty hydraulically operated single dry plate diaphragm clutch is standard. Gear ratios : 1st 3.322:1, 2nd 2.09:1, 3rd 1.40:1, 4th 1.00:1, 5th 0.792:1, Reverse 3.43:1. final drive ration 3.06:1. Variable rate limited slip differential producing 30.86 mph per 1000 rpm.


An all steel multi tubular backbone chassis.

Suspension - front by upper wishbone, stabilised lower lever, coil springs telescopic shock absorbers and forward running anti roll bar. Rear suspension is by a four point mounted lower fabricated wishbone and hub carrier with torque reaction arm and fixed length drive shafts act as the upper link with 200 lbs rated coil springs and Bilstein gas filled telescopic shock absorbers. This all runs on 15" (380mm) x 8.5" J diameter five spoke aluminium alloy five stud wheels with the latest Bridgestone RE71 225/50 vr15 low profile tyres. The braking system is servo assisted all round with discs operated through separate front and rear circuits from a tandem master cylinder with a 'G' value for the rear system. Front discs are ventilated with a 10.6" (269mm) diameter uprated callipers with large pistons. The rear brakes are inboard with 10.9" (277 mm) diameter with a separate calliper for the cable operated handbrake. Asbestos free high performance brake pads are fitted all round.


Power assisted steering with rack and pinion (2.5 turn lock to lock).


mm inches

Length Overall 3886 153

Wheelbase 2387 94

Width Overall 1728 68

Height Overall 1193 47

Front Track 1450 57.8

Rear Track 1480 58.2

Ground Clearance 101 4.0

Luggage Capacity 0.225cu m 8 cu ft

Fuel Capacity 61 litres 13.5 Gallons