The TVR Griffith 200 is a two-seater coupe produced from 1963 to 1964.
The Griffith 200 was the inspiration of the Long Island Ford dealer Andrew ‘Jack’ Griffith who wanted a potent coupe to offer his clients. TVR supplied the Grantura Mk. IIIs GRP 2-door body and tubular chassis with the rack-and-pinion steering, disc/drum brakes and all-independent double wishbones and coil springs transmission in situ but without engines or transmissions. At an engine shop in Syosset, New York, the TVR was fitted with a Ford power plant and gearbox - and the result could be fairly described as a sports car with startling performance.
As the story goes, Jack Griffith was inspired by the sight of the works cars racing on the Sebring circuit in 1962 and vowed to create a TVR fit to compete with the AC Cobra - although fitting a 4.7-litre Ford engine into a bay designed for a far smaller plant was always going to be a challenge. TVR supplied a chassis with main tubes that were nine inches further apart, an altered lower tube cross member and strengthened front suspension pick-up points. Even this was not enough to accommodate the new unit and so workers at the Syosset factory would apply 16lb sledgehammers to the frame. Rather surprisingly the brake system was not upgraded although the Griffith did have slightly larger tyres.
Production of the Griffith 200 started in late 1963 and by March 1964 its price was $3,995 with the Ford ‘200’ power plant or, for an extra $495, the 271bhp 289 engine. Top speed from the former was 140mph with 0-60 in six seconds, and in the words of the advertisements, the latter had ‘0-60 in 3.8 seconds...145 mph!’.
US market Griffiths were never badged as TVRs but 20 UK market versions were sold as the ‘TVR Griffith 200’. The 200 was replaced by the 400 in November 1964.
Power for the Griffith 200 is from the 4,727cc OHV Ford V-8 engine married to the four-speed manual Borg Warner T10 transmission.
The original drivers of the Griffith 200 were true automotive pioneers, enduring interesting weight distribution and such issues as the GRP roof separating from the body at high speeds. But dull it never was – ‘You dreamed it....we built it’ as Griffith publicity put it.
Griffith 200s were known for their leaking fuel tanks, overheating engines, rear axle issues – the MGB unit could not cope with the extra power - and problems with the somewhat inadequate electrical system. Later models are believed to be more reliable.
The TVR Griffith 200 may have had its flaws but it does represent the potential of the early Grantura formula. And it is certainly a far cry from an MG engine coupe!
The TVR Griffith 200 competed against the AC Cobra and the Jaguar E-Type.
|Year||Make||Model||Submodel||Body Type||Average value|
|1963||TVR||Griffith||200||Coupe||£ 39,600 55,200 75,700 91,100|
|1963||TVR||Griffith||400||Coupe||£ 46,100 64,000 81,800 108,000|