If you’re accustomed only to ‘sanitised’ modern sports cars, I think it’s impossible not to be blown away by the Griffith. Compared with something like a Porsche Boxster, so intense are the initial sensations that there’s almost a slight malevolence about the whole thing. As there should be. You rattle the key down the barrel, depress a reassuringly weighty clutch and then the cabin — which is a bit claustrophobic owing to TVR’S quirky topography — simply resonates with sound. After that, the mere act of nursing the car into motion is accompanied with an anticipation you don’t get in the new stuff. Certainly not unless you’re talking about a Caterham Seven (which is essentially ancient anyway) or the very top end of the performance car market.
Two things stand out on the move and those are the unassisted steering, which is totally lank off-centre but quickly finds heft and with it unusual feel, and the atmospheric engine, which in terms of its bellowing ferocity seems to discover another gear shortly before such a thing is actually required. Both are wonderful and, sadly, anathema to new-timers with comparable performance, though so is the languid body control. I didn’t spend long enough with the TVR to start probing its limit-handling, but the undercurrent was that this spectacularly over-powered car would prove a challenge to gather up should it let go at the rear. To an extent, I like that, but I also appreciate the liberties a well-calibrated contemporary stability control system permits us to take in a range of road conditions. One should be comfortable exploiting a performance car and yet the privilege of doing so is earned with experience and practice. There’s a sweet spot somewhere but the debate certainly isn’t as simple as old-school and hairychested equals best.
I can’t deny the 1994 boys their misty-eyed supposition, though. The variety in handling dynamics and powertrains way back then seems extraordinary compared with the cars of today, and there’s so much exploring to be done at practical speeds. I’d do terrible things to get my hands on that Porsche (overleaf).