Revived name for reborn sports car
TVR has finally revealed its long-awaited sports car at the Goodwood Revival, where it also confirmed that the upcoming Porsche 911 rival will be called Griffith.
It’s the first model to be launched since TVR’S resurrection by its current owners, led by Les Edgar. The Griffith is built on an all-new platform that uses Gordon Murray’s innovative istream architecture. Its design takes inspiration from the original TVR Griffith but adopts more advanced aerodynamics to boost performance.
The car’s istream structure features inner panels of carbonfibre bonded into a steel frame. The bodywork is also made from carbonfibre, helping to keep the Griffith’s weight down to 1250kg. The car has a 50/50 weight distribution.
Under the bonnet is a highly strung version of Ford’s 5.0-litre V8 engine, fettled by Cosworth to produce 500bhp. This has ensured that TVR’S target for a 400bhp-per-tonne output has been met. It also enables a sub-4sec 0-62mph time and a top speed of more than 200mph. Drive is sent to the rear wheels through a sixspeed manual gearbox.
The car is 4314mm long, 1850mm wide and 1239mm tall, making it the most compact car in its class. The 911, for example, is 185mm longer, 42mm wider and 55mm taller, emphasising the smaller scale of the Griffith.
The interior was also revealed for the first time at Goodwood. It’s a deliberately simple, analogue interior, TVR said. Plainly visible were a TFT screen ahead of the driver and a separate, prominent, central screen for functions like audio and navigation. There are also competition-inspired seats. The idea, TVR people said, had been to revisit some of the extravagant curves of the Cerbera – perhaps the most radical TVR of the Peter Wheeler era – while making sure the new car can efficiently be manufactured in both left-hand and right-hand drive configurations.
It is four years, Edgar said at the unveiling, since a dozen well-heeled and like-minded spirits assembled in Surrey and set out to buy back the rights to what people still think of as the Blackpool marque, even though the last car built in the resort town is now a decade old.
Talking at the launch, TVR chairman Edgar said: “We’re not out to steal anyone else’s market. We’re here to reclaim what’s ours.”
Using a popular buzz term, Edgar said the new TVR was very much “a connected car” but, in this case, that word would apply to the partnership between car and driver.
“Our connection will not be via Wi-fi” he declared, “but via a clutch, a gearstick, an engine, a great set of tyres and good old-fashioned physics.” He described the new Griffith as a car that “relies purely on God’s grace.” One vital feature, he said, was
the car’s reliance on full, ground-effect aerodynamics, a quality that always works and never wears out. The Griffith has a front splitter, a completely flat floor and a very prominent rear diffuser.
Describing the beginning of the project, Edgar explained how he and his shareholders sat in a big room, fronted by master engineer Murray with a white board. Murray proceeded to lay out how the car should be. The plan for a 400bhp-pertonne power-to-weight ratio was born back then, too.
Edgar said: “Gordon laid out the dimensions and proportions the car would need, placed the mechanical parts in a way that would give us a 50/50 weight distribution and told us we’d have a good car as long as we didn’t change anything. So we didn’t.”
New car takes the name first used on a TVR (above) in the 1960s
Griffith was unveiled at the Goodwood Revival by Les Edgar
Griffith is smaller than a Porsche 911 and weighs 1250kg
Ground-effect aerodynamics and carbonfibre bodywork feature
Cosworth-tuned 5.0-litre V8 enables sub-4.0sec for 0-60mph
Interior is deliberately straightforward and analogue in its feel