Cost new: £35,000. Value now: £25,950.
Straight pipes and polished split rim alloys mean this Griff pops ears as well as eyes
If you want a sports car that scares the living bejesus out of you every time you jump on the throttle, then this Griffith is certainly for you. The performance of the 500 was neck-snapping when it was new, but it’s reassuring to discover – 25 years later – that it remains eye-wateringly fast.
Few people thought that the Griffith lacked impact in standard form, but the previous owner of this car was clearly one of the minority. To turn more heads, he decided to remove the already not-very restrictive exhaust silencers, fit a set of BBS-type split rims and repaint the car in Storm Trooper (Star Wars rather than fascist) White. Try and ignore it now…
This Griff is currently for sale at Cambridgeshire specialists Wallis and Son. Picking up the keys from the guys on the sales desk, they proceeded to dive for cover under said desk as I turned it in the ignition. The thunder that emitted from those unsilenced twin pipes shook the glass of their office door. This thing sounds superb.
Driving something that makes 320bhp and only weighs a smidge over a ton is bound to provide some smiles, but this thing really is a riot. Traction is elusive in the first three gears and we’re extremely thankful that conditions remained dry during our test. We imagine this thing is like trying to wrestle an angry anaconda once the tarmac gets damp.
That respray by the previous owner was carried out to a very high standard and the finish on this Griffith remains excellent. The colour change has been recorded on the V5 as well.
The interior has not aged quite as well, sadly. There are a few signs that things aren’t nearly as fresh as they once were (or perhaps that’s just how TVR decided to let them out of the factory). The carpet is peeling back by the driver’s right leg and the glovebox lid drops open over bumps. Not that you are particularly aware of that as you’re trying hard to keep this thing going in a straight line!
This TVR offers a massive dose of adrenaline for a relatively small amount of cash. What else can you buy for less than £25k that’ll get you to 60mph in just 4.1 seconds? Not a lot – and even fewer of them will sound as good while doing it. This car might have a few tiny niggles but believe us, they’re very minor and once you’ve planted the throttle for the first time, you won’t care.
TVR GRIFFITH 500
On sale at Wallis and Son
Engine 4997cc, 8-cyl, OHV
Transmission RWD, 5-speed manual
Top speed 167mph
Choose your TVR Griffith
The new Griffith of 1991 mixes cutting edge chassis design with tried-and-tested V8 grunt.
Displacement is hiked to 4.3 litres giving 280bhp in 1992.
Griffith 500 arrives in 1993 with 340bhp (despite a pair of cats).
Rover’s LT77 transmission is replaced with the more robust Borg-Warner T5 in 1994.
1996 – Speed Six version is announced but ends up morphing into the Tuscan.
500 is detuned to 320bhp in ’97 in an attempt to tame it… fail!
Production ends in 2002.