Something for the weekend – the TVR Griffith

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When TVR launched the Griffith in 1991, it offered a combination of grace and pace that was hard to match for the price.

Its glassfibre body, separate steel chassis and a lack of electronic aids meant that it was lighter than most of the competition and a lot faster.

It was also lots of fun (read potentially lethal) thanks to traction control that amounted to a long-travel throttle.

Sadly, the Griffith also had an (arguably justifiable) reputation for poor build quality, with cars suffering various gremlins in the hands of the press.

But, if open-top fun with a wonderful V8 bassline is your thing, then the Griffith is the car.

At £14,995, this early example (above) could be in your garage for less than the price of a new VW Golf. It comes as the ‘low-powered’ model (with a mere 240bhp) and the early generation wheels, but also the shape and big twin exhausts that confirm the car means business.

Spend just £1000 more and you could net yourself a 430 (below), with a 4280cc V8, an extra 40bhp and the reassurance of a 12-month warranty.

As with all TVRs, a comprehensive investigation is a must, especially on an earlier model, the biggest problem being chassis corrosion. A new frame will cost upwards of £6000 and, with powder coating being the only factory-fitted protection, it’s a very real danger.

Thankfully there’s a wealth of knowledge on the charismatic sports car not least on our sister site, where all TVRs are rightfully worshipped.

Ask any Grif fan which one they’d opt for (mag editor Al Clements included), however, and they’ll no doubt mention the number 500. Complete with the later model’s revised nosecone, the car below also has the 340bhp that makes it a serious bit of kit.

And with the slippery roads of winter fast approaching, what better time to snap up your very own new-age Cobra? Our free guide should safely shepherd you through the buying process. What happens after that is entirely down to you.

Comments

Pre 80s TVR

A pretty good appraisal.

I've not owned one but have been in a few, driven a couple and know a lot of owners. Do your homework, join the club, study the forums, and either buy from a specialist or get an inspection - preferably both. The prices have risen in the last 2 or 3 years but there are still some rough ones out there. The pre-cat cars are rawer and louder and so sought after (and a 4.5 big valve is vicous if you stumble across one) but the 500s are better sorted and the last 100 LE cars will become collectors items.

Don't worry about parts, there are plenty of specialists out there many of whom are ex factory or dealer guys. They have sourced parts and worked out cheaper ways of doing some of the jobs so in many respects it is easier to run a Griffith today than it was 10 years ago. Just remember it was a hand built British sports car with more in common with a 1960s Cobra or Healey than a Boxster or SLK and needs to be treated as such.

Oliver.

Oliver.

TVR Car Club Pre80s Editor

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