TVR Griffith 500
I spent over 18 months trying to find the best TVR Griffith 500 and tried more than 14 cars before I finally found and bought this car two years ago. I have now fulfilled my ambition to own a Griffith and with a renewed interest in riding motorcycles I can see that my Griffith is not going to get much use on sunny days and so it's time for it to find a new home.
In summary my Griffith is in fine condition, with the perfect specification, full service history, low miles, an unmolested car with newly fitted Ohlins suspension and has been perfectly setup on a rolling road by the acknowledged TVR engine guru Mark Adams.
My TVR Griffith has been pampered and very well looked after. The factory listed a service every 6,000 miles and my one has been serviced 15 times in its 36k miles - so it has been serviced every c2,500 miles. All of the services have been carried out by the same very well known TVR main dealer.
I have only used it on sunny days.
It is probably the most sorted (perfected!) and most pampered TVR Griffith on the market.
If you are thinking of buying a TVR then you need to buy the book below, it is known in TVR circles as the TVR Bible.
The only changes made to the car I consider to be great improvements and updates that the factory either did or should have done.
Full Ohlins suspension. When TVR created the Griffith they worked with a UK company to develop its suspension and all of the press and road test cars were fitted with properly setup Ohlins suspension. The road test reviews were all very positive. When TVR came to sell cars they sadly switched to a cheaper make of suspension (Ohlins are the best in the world and a tad pricey!) and the TVR Griffiths handling suffered. If you have ever driven a TVR Griffith fast down a bumpy road you will know what I mean as it can quickly get out of shape! I tracked down the company that had done all of the original TVR Griffiths development work and they are still one of the largest suppliers of bespoke Ohlins suspension - mostly for race cars and exotic road cars. They very kindly built me a set of custom Ohlins for my TVR Griffiths and then spent a day setting up the suspension and car perfectly. The transformation over a standard TVR Griffiths is quiet amazing, it really does transform the car. The normal non Ohlins suspension seems to suffer from far too much rebound damping (amongst other less than ideal spec.) which means the first bump compresses the springs and the excessive rebound slows the rebound too much so that when you hit the next bump the spring has not fully returned to normal and is still slightly compressed. The next bump compresses it further and a few bumps later the spring is quite compressed and unable to absorb the next bump and the car tends to jump about. All of this is beautifully cured by the Ohlins. The Ohlins fitted are all completely adjustable so you can change the setup if you ever want to change it for a track day. I have never used it on track - only on the road. If you want to convert a TVR Griffith to this specification of Ohlins then you should budget almost £3k.
The next change was to perfect the engine setup. I have always setup my motorcycles on a rolling road as it is the only way to get it 100% spot on. You can never get it perfect from a static setup and when it is on a rolling road and plugged into a full diagnostic system you can check and adjust every setting to perfection. The acknowledged master of setting up a TVR engine is Mark Adams and so the car spent five hours with him on a rolling road to tweak everything to its ideal. As part of this all eight injectors were replaced with uprated Bosch Brown top 250cc injectors to allow more fuel to flow. It also has new competition plugs fitted a new Lucas air flow meter and new distributor cap and leads. Anything that was not perfect was replaced. A new map for the ECU was then created to perfectly suit this car and uploaded into the ECU. The transformation was very noticeable and I greatly enjoyed the drive home! As it was setup properly on a rolling road it still easily passes the MoT emissions test. The engine was now running better than it had probably ran when it left the factory. A 340bhp engine perfectly setup in a in a 1,000kg car is a wonderful thing!
The other updates were done with the same idea - to perfect the standard car. My car does not have power steering and this gives you great feedback whilst driving and is the ideal for a TVR Griffith. The driving position means that you tend to drive the car with your arms fully stretched forward to hold the steering wheel and this I think is an area for improvement. With your arms at full stretch they cannot apply as much force to the wheel as they could if they were slightly bent - just basic physics. After much research I found and bought a beautifully made aircraft alloy spec black anodised steering boss that moves the steering wheel closer to you to really improve the driving position and control. Again this is another really good upgrade that greatly improves the car.
The TVR Griffiths battery is hidden away under the passenger foot well and is not that easy to get at. To overcome this I had fitted a remote battery connector that is easily accessible in the engine bay. It make it very easy to connect up a battery charger and can also be used for jump starting the car if the battery is ever flat. The car comes with a new (unused!) heavy duty cable to allow you to plug into the remote connector and jump start from another car.
The only other changes from factory original factory specification are that I have changed the petrol cap and oil filler for nice shiny alloy ones. Just makes it all look nicer. The car has been regularly sprayed with ACF50 which is a magic liquid developed for the military to use on aircraft at sea to stop any corrosion. I have been using it for years on other vehicles and it really is excellent. The car also had fresh underseal applied underneath.
The car still has its factory fitted Pioneer radio/CD player which I have turned on only once as I prefer to listen to the soundtrack the TVR makes. The car comes with the Pioneer manual and even the remote control unit. My car still has its original factory exhausts and they have not been mucked about with. Some people remove the baffles and fit louder exhausts but then usually revert back to quieter ones and the excessive noise soon becomes a pain on long runs, attracts the unwelcome attention of Mr Plod and tends to annoy the neighbours. My car still makes a lovely fine burble turning to a growl and I think is the ideal volume.
The car is fitted with the ideal tyres for a TVR Griffith - Toyo Proxes and they are almost new. The roof has been regularly treated with Fabsil and comes with half a large tin of it so you can continue to look after it.
As you can see from the pictures the car is in the perfect colour for a British sports car - British Racing Green with a slight metallic hint which TVR called this Starmist Green and with surely the best colour combination of magnolia hide, which is in superb condition.
My car has all of its MoT's from new. It has the leather bound (or maybe fake leather?) factory handbook with all service stamps and a complete set of spare keys. Extensive history file and all receipts. It also has its original roof bag, spare wheel and tool kit in its original bag and includes the special tool for removing the wheel centres. The V5 is in my name.
Hopefully it will go to a new owner that will continue to look after it.
I was not certain what to ask for it as they are appreciating and a dealer would ask over £27k for a standard car without the Ohlins and proper setup. I think £22,950 is a fair price. It seems to be the only car on the market at the moment that someone has gone to the trouble of fitting Ohlins and getting it all properly setup and have a full (pampered) service history.
I live in Midhurst in West Sussex and you can contact me on 07776 140245 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I learned a great deal about them when researching and trying out various cars and the following may be of interest to anyone looking to buy a TVR Griffith. I was helped and advised in my search by a friend who had been buying and selling TVR's for over 15 years.
After researching the subject and talking with many dealers, TVR mechanics and owners I came to the following conclusions for buying an excellent 500 Griffith.
Whilst very low mileage cars should be good as they have hardly been used, the opposite can be true as any car with under 10,000 miles has spent almost its entire life just sitting in a garage and not being used. This can cause all sorts of issues with seals and gaskets drying out and when you start to use the car a whole host of horrors emerge. What was a much better bet was a slightly higher mileage car that has been used for a few thousand miles each year and hence always kept in running condition, so a car with 35,000 seemed ideal.
Many cars seem to have either no service history or years missing or had supposedly been serviced by the owners. Some owners seemed to think that as the Griffith is powered by a big V8 you can skimp on maintenance, but from all I discovered this would usually lead to problems. If a car has had a full and complete service history then it will have been properly looked after and it probably indicates that it has had a good caring owner. Talking of owners, the lower the number the better as problem cars tend to have had many owners who quickly pass them on.
TVR's were created in some very lurid colours and whilst beauty is in the eye of the beholder, at some point you may want to sell it and the market for TVR's louder colour combinations is small. As the TVR Griffith is the classic British sport cars I have always thought it should ideally be in British Racing Green. The interior colour was a more difficult decision. When I started out looking I really liked the look of dark leather interiors as they look good. However I learned that dark/black interiors have a few drawback. The first one is that black absorbs heat and the seats will get very hot in the sun and maybe too hot for your scantily clad girlfriend to sit on without moaning or worse still she may wear more clothing to avoid getting singed. The other issue is that a black interior when the roof is on it will make the interior much warmer and TVR Griffith interior ventilation is not the best so the inside of the car on a warm damp day can quickly get a little sauna like. And finally when the roof is on a dark interior will not surprisingly make the interior of the car a rather dark and gloomy place. With all of this considered I decided on a lighter colour interior which makes the interior a lighter, brighter cooler place.
My car still has its original factory exhausts and they have not been mucked about with. Some people remove the baffles and fit louder exhausts but then usually revert back to quieter ones and the excessive noise soon becomes a pain on long runs, attracts the unwelcome attention of Mr Plod and tends to annoy the neighbours.
A full service history with one well known main TVR dealer is the perfect scenario as it will have been well looked after.
Dealer warranty. I looked at all of these from the main suppliers and they are not really worth having. The warranty company is in business to make money and accordingly creates a warranty that it will make money from won't do that if it pays out to owners. The warranty seems to be promoted by the dealers as they are paid a healthy commission for each one they sell. They tend to exclude normal areas of TVR misbehaviour and only cover some items and then only when they fail - so an intermittent fault will not be covered. They all also have caps on each fault and a total cap on the payout. So all things considered not really worth it.
I live in Midhurst in West Sussex and you can contact me on 07776 140245 or email@example.com
If you like old bikes, then you may be interested to read about my exploits on my 1914 4hp Triumph. I bought it in November 2011 and being a novice to such ancient machines have started to record my experiences of owning and riding it. It is quite an experience riding a bike with no gears, no clutch and almost no brakes!