PHOTOS TVR GRIFFITH 200: MECUM AUCTIONS / 19BOZZY92
Whether we talk about motorsport or cinema, music, architecture, politics ... What makes something "classic"? Obviously there is the sheer action of the calendar. But really we all know that there are several other conditions. One of them is transcending time. Being a benchmark capable of overcoming borders thanks to having created a canon, a way of doing things.
In that sense the Shelby Cobra It is an unappealable classic. And not only because decades later it continues to awaken the desire of motor enthusiasts. But especially because its synthesis of a lightweight British chassis with an intense American V8 engine defined a new car category. Something that has been imitated and replicated over and over again. In fact, some time ago we told you the story of the Cheetah.
A story to which today we add that of the TVR Griffith Series 200. A car that had the blessing of himself Lee Iacocca, using a formula identical to the Shelby Cobra but with an even more rugged and handcrafted touch. A whole bullet of power that today is one of those classics really hard to see. Of course, when they manage to record one in action ... You have to see how it sounds! How this one who participated on the uphill slope of Vernasca.
A PREPARER, AN IMPORTER AND AN ENGINE MAGNATE
TVR it is well known by any fan of British lighter sports cars. Founded in 1946, this small company used Coventry, Ford, BMC, Triumph and Rover engines for decades until 1996 when it introduced its first self-designed mechanic. Characterized by having a good weight / power ratio on other factors, TVR is in the same line as Colin Chapman with his Lotus.
Something that the North American coach Jack Griffith He valued a lot, even more so when in 1961 he discovered what his friend Carrol Shelby had achieved by fitting a Ford V8 on an AC chassis. In fact, it was just at that moment when he decided to create his own project emulating this same formula. To do this, he contacted the TVR importer in New York, the pilot and businessman Dick monnich. Together they ordered from the English factory several spare chassis from the TVR Grantura Mark III.
A job that they developed together with another project: creating a Falcon Sprint powered by a 289 HiPo engine. This variant of the V8 Small Block was presented in 1963 as a mechanic for the Ford Fairlane, being also one of the options available in the first range of the Mustang in 1965. And well, just This is when the mythical Lee Iacocca came on the scene. In need of an engine supplier, Monnich and Griffith went to Ford's Deaborn offices to meet with the powerful manager.
He listened carefully to the proposals about the Falcon and the TVR chassis, but at the end of the interview he guided the two visitors to a secret basement. There he showed them in scoop the impending Mustang. With such a sports car about to hit the market, powering the Falcon was pointless. However, Iacocca did support the idea based on the English chassis. The TVR Griffith 200 already had an engine supplier.
TVR GRIFFITH 200. AN OLD SCHOOL CLASSIC
Under Ford's approval, Griffith went to work in its workshops in 1964 to launch the first units of the TVR Griffith 200. A handcrafted assembly task that resulted in 192 units for the 200 Series, 59 for the Series 400 and only about 10 for the Series 600. And this car is not one that can be driven -and sold- easily.
Stretched more or less depending on the unit, The V8 Ford delivered from 220CV of the less powerful versions to 289 of the most competitive. Quite a bomb if we take into account the short wheelbase or its fiberglass body, elements that helped to mark a weight of only 861 kilos. Something that, added to the uncommunicative chassis and steering, creates a car that can only be driven with faith in destiny and strength in reactions.
In fact, reviewing forums on the TVR Griffith 200 we have found the odd mention in which is considered a "Cobra squared". It reminds us of what Hans Herrmann said in the testing phase of 917 with that mythical sentence "We don't drive the car, the car drives us". Something similar to what Ken milles he said after testing the 390 Big Block Cobra, claiming that "turd"It was ungovernable. Anyway, if you want strong emotions… It is clear that the TVR Griffith is your car.