The 2018 TVR Griffith. Photos courtesy TVR.
In 2013, then-defunct boutique British sports car brand TVR was revived by Les Edgar, John Chasey and a group of investors under the TVR Automotive Limited name. In 2014, work began on an all-new model, the first such clean-sheet design bearing the legendary marque’s name in more than a decade. On Friday, September 8, the reborn automaker debuted the 2018 Griffith sport coupe at the 2017 Goodwood Revival.
TVR enlisted the help of Gordon Murray Design (GMD) in creating the new Griffith, and thanks in part to GMD’s iStream architecture, the new TVR will borrow heavily from Formula 1 race-car design standards. Carbon composite material is used to create everything from the chassis (where its bonded to steel and aluminum structures for added strength) to the body panels, resulting in a claimed weight of just 2,750 pounds. Underneath, the Griffith features a flat floor, aiding its ground effects bodywork in producing additional downforce by creating a low-pressure area beneath the car at speed. Even the 5.0-liter Ford V-8 has been modified to use a dry sump lubrication system, allowing placement of the engine lower in the chassis (to drop the center of gravity) and more rearward (to improve front-to-rear weight distribution).
The Coyote V-8 isn’t an off-the-shelf engine, either, coming to TVR via an intermediate stop at Cosworth Engineering. TVR isn’t detailing the exact changes made by Cosworth, but thanks in part to revised engine control unit software (and most likely, intake and exhaust modifications), the modified engine is producing a claimed 400 brake horsepower per ton. Doing the math, that translates to the new Griffith making in the neighborhood of 550 horsepower, all the more impressive since TVR is avoiding forced induction to ensure better engine longevity.
At a time when other automakers are abandoning the manual transmission in favor of flappy-paddle, dual-clutch, computer-controlled automatic transmissions, TVR will offer the Griffith with a six-speed manual transmission only. The Tremec Magnum XL gearbox is said to withstand up to 700 pound-feet of torque and 7,500 rpm, meaning that (in the hands of a skilled driver, anyway) the transmission isnt likely to be the weak link of the drivetrain.
Performance-wise, TVR is claiming a 0-60 mph time in under 4.0 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 200 mph. Four-wheel independent suspension, using double wishbones with coilover dampers in front and rear, should ensure precise handling, and the electric power-assisted steering was reportedly tuned specifically for the Griffith. Up front, six-piston aluminum calipers grab two-piece 14.5-inch rotors, while in the rear, four-piston aluminum calipers grab 13.8-inch two-piece rotors. Finally, the 19 x 8.5-inch front wheels wear 235/35ZR19 tires, and the 9.5 x 20-inch rear wheels carry 275/30ZR20 tires.
Though hardly conservative, the Griffith’s exterior styling appears to be more refined than TVR models of the recent past. Here, function defines form, with the front vents (including those atop the fenders) serving double duty in cooling brakes and enhancing the aerodynamics. The same is true with the rear vents and diffuser, and while a smoother rear bumper may have been more aesthetically pleasing, it would not have been as functional in keeping the car stuck to the road at speed. The Griffith may look best in profile, though the placement of the side-exit exhausts may limit the appeal of driving with the windows down in stop-and-go traffic.
Dimensionally, the Griffith measures roughly 170-inches long, 73-inches wide, and 49-inches tall, prompting TVR to declare it the most compact car in its class. Despite this, the company insists that headroom and cabin space are ample, while luggage space is more than adequate. To meet European Type Approval standards, the coupe will come equipped with ABS and configurable traction control, which will likely offer levels of intervention for road and track driving. The Launch Edition models, which TVR is still accepting reservations for, will come with a complete leather interior, special wheels, unique paint options and a bespoke infotainment system.
Of the car’s Goodwood Revival debut, Edgars said:
Today’s unveiling is the culmination of nearly three years of tireless work by the team, and we’re all proud to be able to show the new TVR Griffith to the world. This is unmistakably a TVR, a British muscle car that’s as awesome and brutal as it is charismatic and refined. Importantly, the new TVR offers levels of technical sophistication, comfort, reliability and practicality never seen by the brand before.
As for pricing, TVR says the Launch Edition Griffith, limited to 500 examples, will start at £90,000 (roughly $119,500, based upon current exchange rates), and production will begin in late 2018. There’s no word yet on whether left-hand drive models will be offered for export, and if so, at what price.