The TVR Griffith 400 Sports Car

                                                1966 TVR Griffith 400

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     The two seater TVR Griffith 400 sports car, launched in 1964, was the successor to the Griffith 200, which was phased out in 1963. It featured:

  • An enlarged radiator, with two electric fans, to improve cooling, which was very necessary in a car with a V8 engine in a fibreglass body, that already had a reputation for engine overheating
  • A redesigned rear suspension
  • A slightly modified rear section, including a new window to provide improved visibility, and offer a more modern appearance
  • Addition of a distinctive circular rear light assembly, as used in the Ford Cortina Mark 1 saloon

     It was powered by the special equipment HI-PO Ford 289 cubic inch (4722 cc) Windsor V8, overhead valve engine, fitted with three carburetors, and linked to a four speed gearbox.

     This engine developed 271 bhp at 6000 rpm, and 312 ft/lbs of torque at 3400 rpm, and produced a top speed of 155 mph, with a 0-60 mph time of 4.6 secs.

     It had a compression ratio of 10.5:1, and through-the-gears times of: 40-70 mph in 3.3 secs, and 50-90 mph in 6.5 secs.

     This HI-PO engine was available as an optional extra in the Griffith 200 variant, which tended to use the standard Ford 289 V8 unit that developed 195 bhp.

                                                         Griffith       Corvette       AC
Technical Data                             400 Special     Stingray     Cobra
Production                                          1965            1966        1966
Engine, cc                                           4727            5354        6997
Cylinders, bhp                                    8, 271         8, 300      8, 355
Top Speed mph                                    155             130          135
0-60 mph, secs                                    4.6              6.5           4.0
Standing 1/4 mile secs                        13.4            14.9         12.7
Torque ft/lbs                                        312            360          459 

                                                    1965 TVR Griffith                                                                            This not-so-common racer was taking part in                                                                 the 2013 Shere Hill Climb in Surrey

                                                         Full Screen                                                                                                                                 Full Screen

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Full Screen

     Unbelievably, despite the huge increase in power produced with the 200 variant, it was still fitted with the same BMC back axle as used in the Grantura Mark 3, with the 1.8 litre engine.

     Due to the addition of an alternative Salisbury differential, with a higher gear ratio, the 400 variant was slightly heavier than the 200 version.

     However, the upside was that this addition helped to produce a higher top speed for the 400.

     As a result of its redesigned rear suspension, the 400 was significantly lighter than its greatest adversary, the AC Cobra, which increased its relative performance.

     However, the 400 suffered from the same build quality problems as had beset the 200 although, ironically, the cars destined for the UK market were built to a higher standard.

     In early 1965, the east coast of the USA was brought to a near standstill by a prolonged dock strike.

     This caused a severe disruption in the supply of 400 variant bodies that were being delivered from TVR in the UK.

     If this was not bad enough, it also caused delays in the shipment of the body panels for the new Griffith 600.

     This particular model featured a restyled body, built of steel rather than GRP, and produced in Turin, Italy.

     Jack Griffith even went to the lengths of having the GRP bodies shipped by air across the Atlantic in order to maintain production.

     The final outcome was that only 59 units of the Griffith 400 were built that year on his New York assembly line.

     As a result, in 1966, he had no alternative but to cease production of the 400.




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