Showing posts with label TVR. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TVR. Show all posts

TVR Griffith

TVR Griffith 1990s British sports car

The seaside town of Blackpool, England, is famous for its Illuminations. Similarly, TVR - the sports car manufacturer, based in the resort - lit up the motoring world. It did so, not with a dazzling display of neon lights - but with the gorgeous Griffith. The new TVR heralded a return to raw V8 power. The TVR brand itself did not need rejuvenating - but the Nineties sports car market did. The Griffith played a pivotal part in that. In five-litre form, the Griffith 500 produced 345bhp. That gave a top speed of 163mph. 0-60 arrived in a tad over 4s. Such fierce acceleration reflected plenty of mid-range poke - as well as gargantuan low-down grunt. The Griffith was inspired by the TVR Tuscan - a pure-bred, blood-and-guts racer. The latter had first appeared in the late Eighties. The iconic TVR Tuscans tore strips out of each other, in a one-make race series. Even TVR chairman Peter Wheeler dived headlong into the high-speed fray. He battled it out with the best of them, in his own racing Tuscan. A fresh take on the company car, as it were!

Design-wise, the Griffith came with a full complement of curves and subtle touches. Most notably, the air ducts - on the bonnet and doors - were cutting edge cute. The interior, too, was impeccably styled. Copious amounts of leather and wood were inlaid with aluminium. Not surprisingly - with all its technical and aesthetic assets - the Griffith sold well.

With its RWD system maxed-out, the Griffith's exhaust note was ear-splitting. With hood down - and revs up - British sports car drivers had never had it so good. The Griffith prototype debuted at 1990's Birmingham NEC Show. To say it wowed onlookers would be understatement. Automotive folklore has it that 350 deposits were stumped up that same day. Which translated to an order every eight minutes! The first production cars swanned into showrooms in '92. The Griffith was designed, developed and built almost exclusively by TVR. Given its relatively small operating scale, that was an astonishing feat. TVR went one step further, though. At £24,802 new, it even managed to keep the Griffith competitively priced!

TVR Cerbera Speed 12

TVR Cerbera Speed 12 1990s British sports car

The TVR Cerbera Speed 12 further developed the Project 7/12 prototype. The latter was named for its 7.0-litre V12 engine. The 7/12 had wowed the crowd at the '96 British Motor Show. It did the same at racetracks. Hardly surprising really - since 0-60mph arrived in around 3s. In the debit column, the 7/12 was far from forgiving, handling-wise. That was all to the good, so far as motor racing fans were concerned. The combination of the 7/12's prodigious output - and hairy handling - made for some splendid spectating. In effect, the 48-valve V12 was two 6-cylinder motors combined. A 6-speed 'box did what it could to transition power smoothly to the rear wheels. All of that was wrapped up in a TVR Tuscan modified chassis. With 800bhp flowing through what was essentially a souped-up sports car, the 7/12 was the race-goer's gift that kept on giving.

But, there was more to come from the Project 7/12. In 2000, a new version was unveiled. Rebranded as the Speed 12, it was everything its predecessor had been - and more! TVR had used the McLaren F1 supercar as a benchmark. Which pretty much said it all. Flat-out, the F1 did 231mph. The Cerbera Speed 12 was about to top that. It was reputedly good for 240mph. That was in no small part down to the Speed 12's weight - or lack thereof. TVR engineers had pared it down to just 1,000kg. Not only was the Speed 12's bodywork breathtaking to behold - it was hyper-light, too. Optimal aerodynamics, then, were a gimme.

Sadly, just three Speed 12s were built. Without doubt, TVR - based in Blackpool, England - had built awesome performance into the car. But on the open road, that could be a double-edged sword. In the hands of the unwary, such poke might prove fatal. 'TVR' had been founded by TreVoR Wilkinson. Now, though, a new man was at the helm. CEO Peter Wheeler was a seasoned and skilled racer of the company's products. If anyone knew the capabilities - and potential perils of the car - it was him. Wheeler felt that the Speed 12 was simply too powerful to take to the roads. It was rumoured that the car might compete at Le Mans - which rather reinforced his point! After all, the TVR Cerbera Speed 12 served up some 960bhp. As for the roadster, a price tag of £188,000 had been mooted. Some prospective buyers might well have seen that as a steal!