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TVR Griffith

TVR Griffith Published: 4th Apr 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

TVR Griffith
TVR Griffith
TVR Griffith
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Cheer up if you can’t afford an AC Cobra, TVR’s Griffith serves up the same thrills and for a lot less cash. Buy any TVR and you will discover just how fabulous they are but in our minds the greatest is the Griffith. Indeed, we reckon it’s a cut price AC Cobra and also more in tune with modern roads.


You need only the briefest of stints behind the wheel of a 4-litre Griffith to appreciate that the smallest engine offered is all you need; 240bhp, but with a 1045kg kerb weight there’s no shortage of fun or thrust. The 4.3 that came later offers a useful (if not especially necessary) increase in go, while the 5-litre unit that appeared in 1993 could be seen as nothing less than overkill.

When Autocar tested the Griffith 4.3 in 1992, it would be one of the fastest cars driven by the magazine that year. Capable of 0-60 in 4.7 seconds and 30-70 in just 3.9 seconds. However, while the car was astonishingly fast, the chassis was criticised for being too crude to cope with the surfeit of power. So when the 500 appeared with its 340bhp it was no wonder that it felt this was a car with almost too much power – TVR had gone too far! In stop/start traffic the Griffith can be a nightmare too but it wasn’t designed for trips to Tesco…


Condition counts above all else. The problem is that TVRs are too often bought by people who are used to the reliability of a modern mass-market car. They think they can simply get in and thrash it mercilessly without it breaking. In reality, a good Griff will take hard use so long as you care for them. We’d go for a 4.0 or 4.3.


Prices are difficult to judge but they’re on the up. An early decent (4-litre) Griffith is valued at over £15,000, but for £3000 more you can have a 4.3-litre example which is one of the greatest Griffs thanks its lack of catalytic converters making one, very free revving, and about as quick as a cat-constrained standard 500. You may be asked the thick end of £40,000 for a really good low-mileage Griffith; James Agger recently sold one of the last 100SE limited editions for £75,000 indicating how values are heading north pretty sharpish.


Due to their searing speed and no nonsense handling, your biggest worry is buying a Griffith that’s been track-tested to death, pranged and perhaps badly repaired. Outriggers rust badly and like the Chimaera. their condition is hard to gauge without lifting the body off first. The suspension is also prone to wishbone rusting. The bodyshell should be okay if it hasn’t been crashed but the nose is pretty susceptible to stone chips. The GKN limited-slip diff, fitted until 1994, whines when it wants attention but tough all the same. Clutches are durable but hydraulics leak, especially the master cylinder, while engines are Rover V8 so there’s some comfort; first thing to wear are camshaft, especially if oil changes have been neglected. Another common weakness is the lube leaking. Exhaust blows is not only the gaskets, but perhaps the manifolds as they are prone to cracking.

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