The arrival of a 280hp 4.3-litre derivative brought with it even better performance figures, yet still TVR charged much less than its competitors. A 4.3 cost £28,965, making it much more affordable than anything else of comparable pace or style.
In 1993, the 500 model was added to the range and the Griffith finally received the mammoth power its shape so deserved. This car came with a 340hp 5.0-litre version of the venerable V8 and a five-speed manual gearbox like the others in the line-up. From rest to 60mph took 4.1 seconds, but it was the in-gear acceleration that made this car so appealing. That, and the noise from the exhausts.
While most newcomers to the Griffith will gravitate towards to the 500 to begin with, it's worth noting there's not such a gap in on-road performance between this and 4.0- and 4.3-litre cars. Also, the 4.3 is the rarest of the engines, so has some collector value.
Prices for the Griffith are very dependant on condition and history. Don't be put off a high mileage car, either, as these cars thrive on regular use and careful maintenance.
Bodywork and interior
The glassfibre bodywork was made to a high standard, so it should be free of ripples.
The edges of the windscreen can go milky as the glass delaminates with age or because it's been damaged in a crash and badly replaced.
The fabric hood is in two parts, with the targa-style upper section stowing in the boot. The original cover for this is a sign of a caring owner.
Check the plastic rear screen is not scratched and all of the seals mate properly to keep the weather out of the cabin.
Inspect the carpets for water damage that points to leaky seals.
Inoperative dials are most likely due to a bad earth rather than a broken gauge. A circuit tester is your best friend to solve these issues.
Early cars have a speedo and rev counter that sweep from right to left, while later Griffiths adopted the more usual left-to-right style.
Engine and transmission
The Rover V8-derived power units are simple to service and rebuild, and there are plenty of tuning options from several recognised specialists.
A small number of Griffith 4.5s were made, but the 500 soon overtook this idea.
Lucas engine management should work fine, but aftermarket ECUs are a common upgrade and can make starting easier.
Make sure the thermostatically operated fan cuts in when the engine reaches 90C. If it doesn't, the motor may have overheated.
Oil pressure should be 10-15psi at idle and 30psi when driving.
Any signs of smoke from the exhaust are bad news and it's best to avoid any car with this problem.
Camshafts routinely need replacing at 50,000-mile intervals and this will cost around £1,000 at a specialist. It's also a chance to upgrade to a profile that delivers more power.
Starter motors fail because they get fried by under-bonnet temperatures.
Clutches should hold up to 50,000 miles of normal driving.
Radiators become blocked and cause overheating. An aluminium radiator upgrade is common and something to look for.
The limited slip differential is long-lived, but listen for any whines. The Griffith started life with a GKN diff and swapped to a Salisbury unit in 1994. A Quaife LSD was an option too and, from 1997, TVR also listed a Hydratrak unit.
4.0-litre cars have the Rover LT77 five-speed gearbox which should be trouble-free with regular fluid swaps. The 500 used the T5 unit from Borg Warner, which is identified by reverse being to the right and back.
Suspension and steering
Cars from 1995-on have power steering as standard, which makes the Griffith much easier to live with. Any car that's had PAS retro-fitted needs to have the system inspected for the quality of work.
Worn suspension bushes will show up through twitchy handling and vague steering feel. Front ball joints are usually the first to go. Early cars used Koni shock absorbers, while later models changed to Bilstein, both work well and are easy to replace. Also look for uneven tyre wear or feel for shudders through the steering wheel as indicators of worn suspension.
Rust affects the front wishbones, so check for this. New ones are simple to fit.
Brakes work well thanks to the Griffith's light weight.
Later 260mm front discs can be swapped onto earlier cars that came with the 240mm rotors.
7x15in front and 7.5x16in rear wheels were shod with Bridgestone tyres when new. Replacements are easy to find.
SPECIFICATION - TVR GRIFFITH
Transmission: 5 -speed manual
Power (hp): 240/280/340@5,300/5,500/5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 275/305/350@4,000/4,000/3,750rpm
Price new: £26,000/£28,295/£28,965
Price now: £17,500 upwards
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