SKILLED designers hand-picked to visit the USA to celebrate TVR’s Blackpool legacy have returned from their trip of a lifetime.
Former workers David Hives, 82, and John Mleczek, 56, were invited to visit the racing state of Ohio and its NASCAR factories.
While the Blackpool factory closed in 2007, the brand has thrived across the Atlantic and its origins on the Fylde coast remains a huge point of interest.
The pair were flown to the USA free of charge and asked to speak about the time they spent working for the manufacturer.
Mr Hives, who worked in New York during the 1970s after leaving TVR, said: “It was the experience of a lifetime to go back to the USA, meet old friends and see all the cars I helped develop.
“The trip was out of this world and I’ve never been treated so well in my life.
“All of the cars I’ve ever made, right from the vintage Jomar to when I finished at TVR, they were all there.”
Mr Hives, from Blackpool Old Road, St Annes, began life at TVR in the early 1960s working on the production line before moving to the racing section.
He added: “We set off early each morning to look at racing cars and tracks everyday and got the chance to go in cars driving at 100mph.”
The pair were asked to address an audience of TVR enthusiasts and use their years of experience to judge a car show of American muscle and speed.
Mr Mleczek, of Empress Road, Blackpool, worked at TVR’s Blackpool site from 1974 until its closure 33 years later.
He says the visit opened his eyes to how far manufacturing has come since he left TVR.
The 56-year-old added: “They pulled out all the stops for us.
“We did two trips to NASCAR factories and the Hendricks base who has more than 600 employees and 12 race teams.
“There was a lot of computerised machinery and we could have had our lunch off the floor at one of the workshops.
“After that we saw Mr Hendrick’s personalised collection of 300 cars, including 125 Corvettes.”