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TVR Griffith buying guide (1991-2002)

TVR Griffith buying guide (1991-2002) TVR Griffith buying guide (1991-2002) TVR Griffith buying guide (1991-2002) As the 1980s drew to a close, TVR was in need of a new model, and fans of the marque had their patience rewarded when the gorgeous Griffith was finally revealed at the 1990 British Motor Show. With curvaceous new bodywork and stonking V8 engines, this was a sports car from the old school – but with up-to-the-minute styling. And it arrived at a time when convertible sports cars were few.

So if it’s performance and road presence you want without the nannying interference of electronic driver aids, then the chances are you’ll be smitten by the Griffith’s sledgehammer approach. Make no mistake, this is a seriously desirable sports car that provides a huge amount of performance per pound – and it’s one you really can’t afford to ignore.

Which one to go for?

There were various different engines, trim levels, as well as spec changes over the years, so you have a large choice. Which one you go for however is usually determined by how much money you have got to spend (see prices below). Although you might want to find one of the most potent models, every Griffith is a joy to drive, and as long as it’s in good condition you’ll have a great time.

Parts availability is generally good. Original power-assisted steering racks are unavailable, while some gearbox and heater parts can prove hard to find, but there is little else to concern buyers on this front. A thriving owners’ club scene for TVRs of all flavours means help and advice are never far away – and that’s always a plus with specialist cars such as the Griffith.

Performance and spec

1995 TVR Griffith 500
Engine 4988cc V8, OHV
Power 340bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 350lb ft @ 4000rpm
Transmission Five-speed manual
Weight 1075kg
Top speed 167mph
0-60mph 4.1sec

Common problems

• The Griffith used GRP panels attached to a powder-coated steel spaceframe, but care is needed if you’re to avoid landing yourself with a money pit.

• The single most important thing is the condition of the chassis. Cars from the mid-90s will likely have rot in the outriggers, which is difficult to spot. Removing the body is the only effective way to tackle this. Look at spending around £1700 for this. The best thing is to assume a car is rotten unless you are certain that it has been fixed properly.

• Wonky panel alignment could be a sign of accident damage, and watch out for stone chips around the bonnet and headlamps. It also pays to take a good look at the hood, the lift-out targa panel and the plastic rear screen, as refurbishment isn’t cheap. Worn seals will allow water ingress, so check the interior for damp and any damage to trim and carpets.

• Engines are the trusty Rover V8, in 4.0-, 4.3- and 5.0-litre forms (a very small number of 4.5s exist as well), with Lucas engine management. Smaller engines pushed out 240bhp and 280bhp respectively, the bigger unit managing a lustier 340bhp. A big-valve conversion (badged BV) was offered on the 4.3 giving 300bhp, but it’s worth making sure this is genuine whatever any badges might say.

• Regular oil changes are the key to longevity with these engines, but leaking radiators can lead to overheating with disastrous consequences for the head gaskets, so check that water temperature and oil pressure are healthy on the test drive.

• Fitting an aluminium radiator at around £480 is a good move, but you’ll need to allow around £850 to replace both head gaskets if the worst happens. A smoky exhaust should ring alarm bells, while manifold cracks aren’t unheard of either.

• Rocker cover gaskets and sump joints leak oil – the former is an easy fix, while the latter can be cured by fitting a gasket (it was just a silicone joint originally). Camshafts can fail at around 50,000 miles and replacement is a labour-intensive job – budget for around £1100 if original parts are used (best advice is to avoid cheap components).

• Early cars used the Rover-derived LT77 transmission, with the preferred BorgWarner T5 box used in the 5.0 and all models from 1994. All cars came with a limited-slip differential – GKN on early cars, Salisbury from 1994; despite a tendency to whine at high mileages, these are trouble-free.

• It’s worth opting for a post-1995 car with standard power steering (the unassisted set-up is arm-achingly heavy at parking speeds), and check on the test drive for suspension clunks that signal worn ball-joints or wishbone bushes. Koni dampers were used on early cars, but the later Bilsteins are the better arrangement.

• Any brake judder means the discs are ready for replacement.

• Inside you’ll find a stylish cabin, trimmed with leather and wood veneer. It is really just a case of ensuring all the gauges and switches work (particularly the optional air-con). Walk away from any car with bodged wiring and check for general wear, or damage caused by water leaks. A hood and seals in good order should prevent the latter, but bear in mind that a re-trim could run well into four figures for high-spec cars with leather and Wilton carpets.

Model history

1990: Griffith revealed at the British Motor Show, based on the chassis of the V8S model.
1991: First deliveries of 4.0- and 4.3-litre models. Production cars use a development of the Tuscan racer chassis.
1993: Griffith 500 introduced with 340bhp, brake/suspension upgrades and catalytic convertors.
1994: All models change from the Rover SD1 gearbox to the BorgWarner T5 unit.
1996: Speed Six models announced with TVR’s own straight-six engine, but it never enters production.
2001: TVR announces the end of Griffith production.

Clubs and websites

www.tvr-car-club.co.uk
www.tvrownersclub.com

Summary and prices

The noise and performance of a well-sorted Griffith are seriously addictive, but this is definitely a car that should be bought with the head and not the heart. While the reputation for iffy reliability isn’t completely unfounded, the Griff is more robust than you’d think. Condition is all.

Prices for the best cars are likely to rise in coming years, so find one that’s been looked after, experience everything it has to offer, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t buy one before. There’s a vast discrepancy in price between early cars in scruffy condition and excellent later examples. You can expect to pay around £25,000 for the best examples, and potentially more than £32,000 for a last-of-the-line LE.

Those below the £12,000 mark will likely require a fair bit of work, so a cheap car could well prove costly in the long run. Spend nearer £23,000 for one that’s been well looked after and you shouldn’t go far wrong. Dealers often hold the best examples, although privately sold cars are fine as long as you are absolutely sure of the provenance and condition.
TVR Griffith buying guide (1991-2002) TVR Griffith buying guide (1991-2002) TVR Griffith buying guide (1991-2002)
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TVR Griffith cars for sale

6 Search results
TVR Griffith
17995 88750 GBP
  • The TVR Griffith is a fiberglass-bodied sports car with a big V8 engine. It was introduced in 1991 and manufacturing did not stop until 2002. It’s a lightweight, high-power, and well-balanced car. This superb yellow LHD variant comes with full service history from new. Of the 1629 build, there are only around 100 LHD cars. It was originally sold to an Englishman living on Mallorca in September of 1996. In 2000 the car was sold and imported to The Netherlands. Then in 2001 it was bought by the current Dutch owner, who maintained it at TVR specialist Nimag B.V. until now. The car is in absolute top condition. It received a full engine rebuild in 2003 at TVR, new adjustable Koni shock absorbers were mounted in 2002. The camshaft was upgraded in 2007, the pistons were replaced and honed in 2008. Furthermore the engine received a race manifold, new motor management system and upgraded injectors. The original brakes were replaced with disks and calipers from Willwood. It also received other upgrades such as new Tuscan seats, carpet & clothing, Pioneer RS sound system with yellow matching speakers, original dark grey TVR rims, exhaust, and chassis mounted roll-bars. The complete list of u

    Last update: 12 Days Old
    For sale
  • VSOC
    +31 0252 218 980
    see details
  • We are very proud to offer this immaculate TVR Griffith 200 back on the market. This fantastic car was sold by us two years ago to the actual owner, and becomes now available again. In the meantime, this car has been improved further to full road specification. The interior has been completely retrimmed in black nappa leather, and equiped with two original Griffith seats. During this retrim, the interior was further sound insulated as well, to improve driving comfort. Also the rollcage and fire extinguisher system are removed, and the dashboard received some small changes more suitable to a road car. Technically, the suspension has been softened slightly, and a very effective Wizard Cooling radiator is fitted. While this car was already a stunner two years ago, it now became an even more perfect driving machine. TVR Griffiths are very impressive sportscars. The Ford 289ci small block - similar to an AC Cobra 289 - offers plenty of torque and power, and it is indeed a very intimidating machine to drive. Once you get used to the supercar performance of this lightweight TVR, it is a most effective driving device. The soundtrack makes it all even more dramatic, and after a short drive

    • Year: 1965

    Last update: 19 Days Old

    • Mileage: 848 mi

    For sale
  • Albion Motorcars
    0032 475 21 10 98
    see details
  • TVR Griffith

    £35,990 £35,990

    TVR Griffith

    Just Arrived - Awaiting evaluation and preparation TVR Griffith 400 V8 finished in Cureton Green Metallic with Black hood and Magnolia Half Hide with Green Wilton Carpets and door cards.This beautiful car is also presented with OZ Racing multi-spoke wheels,Limited slip differential, Gemini alarm system and period Pioneer CD player. One registered keeper from new! It has been maintained beautifully with a comprehensive service portfolio including supporting documents. She will go through a full preparation process including her next service and will be supplied with a fresh MOT and 12 months warranty. Detailed photographs to follow.

    • Year: 2015

    Last update: 19 Days Old

    • Mileage: 10326 mi

    For sale
  • Racing Green Cars
    01252 894840
    see details
  • TVR Griffith

    £17,995 £17,995

    TVR Griffith

    TVR Griffith 500 V8. This car was one of the first 500 to hit the road. Originally used as a factory demon straighter prior to the 1993 Motor show. The car has good history with detailed invoices showing the work carried out. On the 19/03/2011 the outriggers were replaced and the chassis Waxoyl. In the last 1000 miles the car has had a new alarm immobiliser fitted, new camshaft, followers, vernier gear and timing chain. Finished in Ocean Haze with Fern trim, carpets are in dark Gray with Green piping. The car benefits from Alarm, Roof Bag, Cd Player, Leven Pack, Alloy Wheels New Camshaft, Driving Lamps, New Carpet Set, Electric Windows, Carbon Dash Panel, Electric Wing Mirrors, Remote Opening Boot, Remote Central Locking, Adjustable Steering Rack, Accumate Trickle Charger, ACT Silicone Coolant Hoses, ACT Silicone Engine Breather Kit, ACT Induction Hose Kit inc K&N Filter ACT Stainless Water Pipes and Alloy Radiator. 12mths MOT, 12mths Warranty.

    • Year: 1993

    Last update: 19 Days Old

    • Mileage: 77000 mi

    For sale
  • Racing Green Cars
    01252 894840
    see details
  • TVR Griffith

    £21,990 £21,990

    TVR Griffith

    TVR Griffth 500 finished in Blackberry with Magnolia Hide and Blue Leather Trimmed Dashboard and Blue Hood. The history portfolio on this very special car is like no other we have ever seen, complete in every detail this car is stunning inside and out. It Will be supplied with its next service completed, a fresh MOT, a hard wired Ctek Trickle charger and a 12 month Racing Green Cars Warranty. More detailed photos of this stunning vehicle due shortly.

    • Year: 1995

    Last update: 19 Days Old

    • Mileage: 35900 mi

    For sale
  • Racing Green Cars
    01252 894840
    see details
  • TVR Griffith

    £34,995 £34,995

    TVR Griffith

    TVR Griffith 500 SE Number 32 OF 100. Registered May 2001, 21,200 miles, 7 Service stamps will leave with the next service completed, Finished in Reflex Purple, Portland full hide Purple stitching. Upgrades, Total mechanical rebuild inc H404 camshaft, Hi rev lifters uprated valve springs, Bottom end rework, ACT Carbon fibre twin throttle plenum, 45mm trumpets, Air box and uprated Bosch air flow meter, Silicon air intake, Full silicon coolent kit, Ceramic coated exhaust manifolds fitted with non reversal cones, Stainless sports exhaust system with quad exit tailpipes, Magneor Ht leads, New Bosch ignition coil, Distributor cap, Rotor arm. Driveline, Nitron rose jointed suspension fitted all round, Hi spec 4 pot brake calipers 300mm x drilled discs inc corner weights. Exterior, Speed six front light conversion, Rear light blended, TWS 17" wheels with Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres. Interior, Full Portland hide, Tuscan seats, Aluminum dash, Full alloy kit- stalks, vents, switchgear, filter, cap, kickplates, handbrake. The car will leave with a new MOT, Service, 12mth Warranty.

    • Year: 2001

    Last update: 19 Days Old

    • Mileage: 21200 mi

    For sale
  • Racing Green Cars
    01252 894840
    see details
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