autoclassic.com :: the history of classic cars : 1991 TVR Griffith

15 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on autoclassic.com :: the history of classic cars : 1991 TVR Griffith

Throughout its life, the TVR sports car has always lined up behind the same marketing formula #150; all models were two-seater sports cars, all had sturdy multi-tube chassis frames, all had fibreglass bodywork, and all had outrageously extrovert characters. Each and every car has been made in dilapidated premises in Blackpool.

The second-generation Griffith (which was no relation to an earlier TVR built in the 1960s) was faithful to every facet of the original TVR character, with one additional feature: it was outstandingly beautiful. Previous TVRs had been handsome, rugged in some cases, but none had ever achieved such sinuous styling.

This was a car which had been shaped lovingly by hand in a small workshop in Blackpool (no over-hyped consultant was ever involved, for this was the work of chairman Peter Wheeler, and his chief designer John Ravenscroft), where mundane things like bumpers were omitted from the equation, and where every straight line had been banished. Cockpit equipment was lavish, though in typical (and traditional) TVR style, the standard of fixtures and fittings were sometimes rather casually achieved.

As ever with TVR, the Griffith which went on sale in 1992 was very different from the prototype of 1990, for it used a modified version of the racing Tuscan#x2019;s frame.

Power came from a much-modified light-alloy Rover V8, backed by the same company#x2019;s sturdy five-speed transmission #150; and the car#x2019;s specification could be boosted by larger and more powerful versions. Like all other TVRs, the Griffith had independent suspension, there was unassisted rack-and-pinion steering, four-wheel disc brakes, and large dollops of that indefinable piece of specification #150; character.

The TVR Griffith had no bumpers front or back and the interior trimmings were lavish. Shaped lovingly by hand, the car bodywork was made from glassfibre and was full of character.

Early Griffiths had 280 bhp and 4.3-litres, but it wasn#x2019;t long before TVR also offered a slightly milder version (with 240 bhp/4.0-litres), then from 1993 a brawny 325 bhp/5.0-litre derivative was added. Even the 4.0-litre car could top 150 mph, and the top speed of a full 5.0-litre type was best investigated on wide open spaces!

Performance was tyre-stripping, for these were cars which could rush up to 100 mph in little more than 11 seconds, the performance being accompanied by squeals from the overworked rear tyres, and aggressive bellows from the exhaust system. It was no wonder that more than 600 cars were made in the car#x2019;s first full year (which made this one of the fastest-selling TVRs so far), and it was only the advent of new and even more extrovert TVRs which thrust the Griffiths back into the mainstream.

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