SINCE 1947, TVR has been known as an independent British car-maker which builds crazy-looking, high-performing sportscars that are low in weight but high in power.
Models such as the Sagaris, Tuscan and Cerbera resonated so well with buyers because of the emotional connection to the vehicles that just screamed ‘I want that car!’ and often elicited more of a response than its mainstream rivals of the time.
However, with more than 10 years since its last model was released, does TVR’s new Griffith (not to be confused with the old Griffith that came out in 1991) have what it takes to stack up against the modern-day competition including the likes of the lustful Jaguar F-Type and Aston Martin V8 Vantage?
The Griffith is, in fact, so new that TVR is yet to even finalise engine outputs, but the brand has confirmed the two-seat sportscar will be powered by a 5.0-litre Coyote V8 sourced from the Ford Motor Company and tuned by Cosworth.
Changes including a lightened flywheel and clutch, dry sump system, and recalibrated engine control unit are expected to yield around 373kW – 50kW more than what the bent-eight unit can muster under the bonnet of the Mustang.
While it is still unclear if the Griffith will be paired to a manual gearbox or automatic transmission, TVR is claiming the rear-drive sportscar will be able to accelerate from zero to 60mph (97km/h) in less than four seconds.
The Griffiths performance then, stacks up perfectly against its compatriot rivals with the 321kW/490Nm Aston Martin V8 Vantage managing a 0-100km/h time of 4.8s, while the supercharged 5.0-litre V8 Jaguar F-Type R musters 405kW/680Nm for a sprint time of 4.1s.
Those worried that a Ford powerplant will dull the British flavour of the TVR can rest easy, with the company promising that it has used its vast accumulated knowledge throughout the years to deliver a vehicle “true to the brand’s rich heritage”.
While staying true to the brand’s history, TVR has also moved the Griffith well into the modern day with a vehicle built from the ground-up to take advantage of all of today’s aerodynamic technologies.
Looking something like a cross between a Toyota FT-1 Concept, a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and a prototype Hot Wheels car, the Griffith’s aesthetics are characterised by a large air intake up front, long bonnet, sculpted fenders with an active air outlet, a short rear overhand and a steeply-raked windscreen.
The bulging wheelarches house double staggered split-spoke wheels, with 19-inch up front wrapped in 235/35 rubber and 20 inch in the rear sporting 275/30 rubber.
However, the Griffith’s most noticeable design cue – and a staple of muscle cars of the past – is its side-exit exhaust which expels carbon dioxide waste from the front fender.
Bringing the 1250kg coupe to a standstill are two-piece 370mm ventilated front discs with massive six-piston callipers , with the rear brakes taken care of by 350mm discs.
A perfect 50:50 weight distribution ensures optimum balance, while the double wishbone suspension with damper-adjustable coilovers feature at both front and rear to customise the Griffith for any road or track situation.
Inside, the all-new Griffith sports a leather and Alcantara-wrapped cabin with all controls centred around the driver to minimise distractions, while behind the flat-bottomed wheel and instrumentation taken care of by a large digital display.
If you are salivating at the thought of getting the Griffith into your garage, we might have some bad news for you as it remains unclear if TVR will make its latest model available outside of its home UK market, despite right-hand-drive production.
British customers though, can order a special limited-run Launch Edition starting from £90,000 ($A152,132) which adds a number of changes to the regular model including unique wheels, full leather interior and a special exterior paint colour.
Continuing the British brand’s affinity for lustful sportscars, the Griffith picks up exactly where the Sagaris left off in 2006 – discontinued after only two quick years in production.
Powered by a 303kW/473Nm 4.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine, the British-built Sagaris fed power to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox for a 0-97km/h time of 3.7s thanks to a weight of only 1078kg.
Vents are the first noticeable feature of the Sagaris, with air outlets situated on the bonnet, front fenders, rear quarters and roof, while the horizontal exhaust pipes also caught the attention of passers-by.
In production alongside the Sagaris was the Tuscan – which started life in 1999 with a 261kW/390Nm 3.6-litre in-line six before being put out to pasture in 2006 with a 329kW/475Nm 4.2-litre straight six.
With other enhancements over the years including tweaks to chassis and suspension settings, the addition of a bootlid spoiler, and a flatter underbody, the Tuscan could hit 97km/h from a standstill in just 3.68s thanks to its featherweight 1110kg.
It seems then, that TVR has not deviated at all from its age-old formula of lightweight and big power in its latest model.
Although the Britishness of the Griffith may be diluted due to an American-sourced V8 engine, the remainder of the brand’s quirkiness and flair – the outrageous styling, simple interior and focussed purpose – carryover to delivery what is sure to be one of TVR’s best models to date.