Olympia Used Cars – A review of The TVR Griffith 200 Sports Car, which includes development, important features, and technical data from the fourth model in the TVR range. In this article, I offer a look of nostalgia for TVR Griffith 200, one of the elite groups of classic cars, which were produced during the period 1963 to 1964.
In 1963, the idea was to replace the 1.8-liter TVR Grntura engine with a Ford V8 unit centered on Jack Griffiths, who runs a car repair workshop in New York, to differentiate clients. He is a Ford dealer, and is involved with the Sports Car Club of America racing (SCCA).
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The plan was to install Ford 289 engines and four-speed gearboxes to TVR Grantura, and then sell finished cars through the dealer network.
After some discussion, TVR agreed to supply it with a modified multi-tubular Grantura Mark 3 chassis, with independent suspension, but without the engine or gearbox.
After working with a sledgehammer, the chassis was refined enough to accommodate the large Ford V8 engine and the associated drivetrain.
The finished car, with a fiberglass Grantura body, is designated as a Griffith Series 200 sports car in the US, and a TVR 200 sports car in the UK.
The name difference was caused by the fact that the car was exported to the US in the form of a kit, and was assembled by Jack Griffith.
It was then marketed independently of Granturas sold by Dick Monnich who, in 1961, had been appointed, by Jack Griffith, as an agent of his company in the US.
The car was launched in the US at the 1964 Boston Motor Show.
It will be supported by a standard 4.74 liter (289 cubic inches), Ford V8 engine, develop 195 bhp, or special equipment version 4.74 liters, with three carburetors, which developed 271 bhp.
The 271 bhp version produces a top speed of more than 150 mph, with a time of 0-60 mph 4.6 seconds.
Regarded as a serious rival to AC Cobra, TVR was flooded with orders from the US, so most of the production was diverted to Griffith 200.
Until 1965, all Griffith production in England was exported to the United States.
However, they were then launched into the UK market when displayed at the Olympia Racing Car Show in London, in the 195 bhp version and 271 bhp.
Not surprisingly, it has been suggested that, with its large strength, short wheelbase, and lightweight fiberglass body, Griffith 200 is not the easiest car to handle.
A total of 192 units were built in the US before their successor, Griffith 400, was introduced.
In fact, this line continues to Griffith 600, in the hands of other companies, where the production point stops.
With a reputation, Griffith 200 sports cars are scary cars to drive, and are known to suffer:
The engine is too hot, because the air intakes are the same as those used in Grantura
An electrical system that does not adequately charge, which means that if all electrically operated components are turned on at the same time, the electrical system will not be able to overcome
The ax failed again, due to the fact that it used the same BMC axis as used in Grantura
The gas tank is leaking
The Griffith 200 chassis is slightly different from the one used at Grantura so that the Ford 289 engine and the four flagship Top Loader gearbox can be accommodated. This involves:
Move the front cross tube to clean the sump
Tubing the passenger side was hammered enough to clean the starter motorbike
The front suspension seat is reinforced
This repair was carried out by TVR before the chassis was sent to the US.
Even though the car was famous because the engine was too hot, such excessive cabin heat was considered a Griffith trademark.
Additional changes needed for Grantura include:
Springs and dampers increase
An electric bulge was added to the hood
Interestingly, Griffith’s GRP body was initially mounted to the chassis through a fiberglass strip.
Griffith 200, built between 1963 and 1964, maintained the round tail section of the initial Granturas, while the Griffith 400, produced between 1964 and 1966, featured the rear of the Manx style from the later Grantura model.
Unfortunately, the cars were notorious for being unreliable, and gained a reputation because of the poor quality of the buildings, which played a major role in the main collapse of Grantura Engineering.
About 250 of the Griffith 200 and 400 cars were built before being replaced by the Tuscan V8 in 1967.
As early as 1965, the US East coast was in the grip of a prolonged dock strike, which meant that exports of Grantura bodies and chassis from England suffered.
Furthermore, this had a major impact on the Griffith assembly business.
As a result, in 1965, TVR was back in financial trouble, which resulted in Trevor Wilkinson leaving the company he founded in disgust. Next, the company collapses.
As a result, Griffith’s production stopped.
What remained of the TVR business was acquired by the Lilley Family and, in April 1966, another 10 Griffith 400 were built, before production ended later that year.
This marks the end of TVR Griffith 200.
Maybe this memory path might have answered, or at least explained, a possible question:
Which sports car is your favorite TVR?
However, if this question is still unanswered, I will review, in detail, in a future article on this website, the entire range of TVR sports cars displayed in an unforgettable era covering 1946 to 1967.
I hope you join me on a nostalgic journey “down the memory lane of a sports car”.
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