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It’s back! New TVR Griffith revealed

Published: 08 September 2017

 TVR confirms Goodwood Revival reveal
Carbonfibre build for 400bhp-per-tonne 
Four new cars, naturally aspirated V8s

Reborn British sports car marque TVR has unveiled its all-new Griffith sports car at the 2017 Goodwood Revival – the first time a new car has been unveiled at the historic motorsport event in West Sussex.

The headlines:

  • Griffith name revives a celebrated TVR nameplate
  • Engineered in conjunction with Gordon Murray Design
  • Two-seater front-engined coupe, rear-wheel drive
  • Naturally aspirated 5.0-litre Ford V8 tuned by Cosworth
  • Manual gearbox
  • 200mph+ top speed
  • Less than four seconds 0-60mph
  • Ground-effect aerodynamics
  • Weighs 1250kg, 50:50 weight distribution
  • 400bhp-per-tonne power-to-weight ratio
  • Racing versions planned
  • Priced from £90,000
  • Production begins in Wales in late 2018

The car displayed at Goodwood is in Launch Edition spec, which includes leather upholstery, an upgraded infotainment system and different alloy wheels from subsequent versions. 500 Launch Edition Griffiths will be built; ahead of Goodwood a few build slots remained available.

Neatly, the unveil coincides with TVR’s 70th anniversary. The original TVR Griffith was in production from 1991 to 2002. It's understood that further upcoming TVR models will also recycle old nameplates.

The cars will be built at a new factory in Ebbw Vale, Wales; it is due to open near the proposed Circuit of Wales motorsport hub in early 2018.

TVR says it intends to take the new Griffith racing, and chairman Les Edgar has even hinted at a desire to take the brand back to Le Mans in future.

TVR Griffith

New TVR sports car: specs and details

Engine

A Cosworth-fettled version of the 5.0-litre Ford Coyote V8 you’ll find in the Mustang and F-150, positioned as low and as far back in the chassis as possible.

The Cosworth bits include a lightened flywheel, bespoke engine management system and a dry sump – better for performance on track, but also enabling a lower bonnet line for better sight lines and more attractive proportions.

The final power output is yet to be set, however TVR says the Griffith will have a power-to-weight ratio of 400bhp per tonne – which would suggest a 500bhp output, a sizeable increase over that of the 415bhp Mustang.

That ratio, according to TVR, is more than a 911 Turbo SAston Vantage GT8 and an F-Type SVR.

Aerodynamics

The deep air intakes generate downforce, as well as improving cooling. The Griffith also features a full flat floor.

The big bonnet vents draw high-pressure airstream down to the exhausts and out of the bodywork. At lower speeds, without the airflow at work, some of the exhausts’ heat exits through the same vents, aiding cooling. 

TVR Griffith interior

Seats

Entirely manually adjusted to save weight – no motors here. A racing-style four-point harness is standard, conventional seatbelts an option.

Dimensions

The new Griffith is taller, longer and wider than the Peter Wheeler-era TVR models, but still six inches shorter than a modern Porsche 911.

The Griffith measures 4314mm long, 1850mm wide and 1239mm tall.

Performance

Final acceleration figures are yet to be released, but 0-60mph is expected to dip below the four-second mark.

Chairman Les Edgar told CAR ‘the figure I’m interested in is 0-100-0mph. With our kerb weight that should be really strong.’

Top speed is expected to sit around the magic 200mph mark.

Brakes, tyres, suspension

Brakes by AP Racing; ventilated discs with four-piston calipers rear, six-piston at the front, with ABS as standard – unlike TVRs of old. Traction control also features.

Tyres are bespoke Avons on 20-inch rear wheels, 19-inch front.

Suspension is double-wishbone all-round, with Nitron springs and dampers.

There’s no rear anti-roll bar – a feature common to several previous Gordon Murray designs.

TVR Griffith

TVR: from glassfibre to carbonfibre

The first run of ‘Launch Edition’ cars will be built around a carbonfibre chassis, designed with help from famed design consultant Gordon Murray, put together using his innovative ‘iStream’ manufacturing system, and clothed in carbonfibre bodywork with great torsional stiffness.

While the first batch of cars will get the full carbonfibre treatment, it’s understood that the following production run will use an aluminium chassis and bodywork made from less exotic composites, such as fibreglass.

iStream takes TVR’s traditional tubular steel architecture and re-mixes it for a new era, with a combination of steel structure and bonded composite reinforcing panels creating a level of stiffness ‘comparable to a carbonfibre tub and far in excess of that of a bonded aluminium structure’ according to Gordon Murray Design’s technical director Frank Coppuck.

However, the launch edition cars’ carbon tub and carbon panels may still be available as an option at extra cost.

‘Historically, carbonfibre has been reserved for motorsport and high-end supercars, but now TVR will be offering customers a slice of that technology at a fraction of the price,’ says TVR’s chairman Les Edgar. ‘The carbon manufacturing process really is a game changer, and one I’m delighted to offer to all of our early adopter Launch Edition customers within the package cost.’

TVR Griffith

Gordon Murray added: ‘From early on it became apparent that there was no reason why we couldn’t develop a carbonfibre chassis structure for the new TVR at a lower cost than manufacturing processes previously allowed.’

The iStream process is claimed to be far more cost-effective than more traditional composite manufacturing methods. There’s potential for the Griffith’s platform to be adapted for a 2+2 model, and since the cant rails aren’t structural, they could be removed to create a convertible.

TVR Take Two: the facts

It's been nearly a decade since the Blackpool-based tearaways ceased building their outrageous coupes and roadsters, but a new ownership consortium has now confirmed that it will re-start production in late 2017. In a wide-ranging announcement Les Edgar, who bought the rump of the company from Russian Nikolai Smolenski in 2013, revealed:

  • TVRs will be built in Britain from 2017
  • 'At least four new models' under development
  • Engineering collaboration with Gordon Murray Design
  • Ford V8 engines tuned by Cosworth
  • Priced and designed like TVRs of old
  • Production starts 'in the hundreds' in 2018
  • £5000 deposits taken from 7 July 2015
  • New dealer network being built up

Operations director John Chasey said: 'We’ve been totally blown away by the reaction to the new car. Our phonelines and online inquiry system went into meltdown when the news was announced, and we decided that we must begin to bring a structure to the inquiries and build a delivery pipeline well in advance of production. Volumes in year one will be limited as we ramp up production, so this allows us to reward those individuals prepared to make a financial commitment at this early stage.'

Who is behind the TVR rebirth?

The new management team is led by Edgar, a life-long TVR fan who made his money in the computer gaming industry. He's close to the enthusiastic owners' community, who have believed for some time that there's a gap in the market for affordable, characterful sports cars to nip at the heels of Porsche and co. He is assisted by a management team including the likes of Chasey.

New TVR chairman Les Edgar

'We know that a new TVR has to be better than just good – it has to be outstanding,' admitted Edgar. 'We are a well-funded, well-supported organisation and boast a vastly experienced management team. We are here to stay and we have a fully evolved 10-year plan for product and business development, and are committed to deliver on all the targets we have set ourselves  - as we have done to date.

'We know that a new TVR has to be better than just good – it has to be outstanding,' admitted Edgar. 'We are a well-funded, well-supported organisation and boast a vastly experienced management team. We are here to stay and we have a fully evolved 10-year plan for product and business development, and are committed to deliver on all the targets we have set ourselves  - as we have done to date.

TVR Griffith

'Despite very deliberately maintaining a low profile since completing the acquisition of TVR two years ago, we have had an enormous amount of unsolicited interest from businesses, individuals and investors internationally. Such is the strength of the brand and the passion of its followers. It is a real privilege to be a part of the revival of a great British marque - one that will succeed through our single-minded desire to produce exceptional sports cars.'

Can they pull it off?

That's the $64 million question. Enthusiasts would suggest there is indeed a place in the market for something simpler, purer, more brutal than the polish of Porsches or the Germanic heft of modern-day M3s and AMGs. A step up from the purity of a Toyota GT86.

But the economic realities of realising this dream are harsh and the path to independent manufacturing is littered with failure, not least the last-generation TVR concern. However, the new business has appointed some of the brightest minds in the business, and the low-volume specialist build process that is Murray's iStream could make or break their chances.

It'll be fascinating to see what happens next.

Click here to browse secondhand TVRs on our sister site Classiccarsforsale

By CAR's road test team

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