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TVR's new Griffith – Welsh Government invests in the British car maker

Stuart Gallagher
16 Jan 2018

TVR on track to open its new Welsh factory in 2019 thanks to new investment

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The Welsh Government has brought a three per cent stake in car maker TVR at a cost of £500,000 valuing the company at nearly £17 million. This follows a £2 million loan provided by the Welsh Assembly in 2016 as the revised sports car brand develops its new factory in the Ebbw Vale.

TVR’s new factory is based in an area known as the Machinery Valleys Project, part of a wider regeneration programme which will see around 1500 new jobs created, 100 of which will be with the sports car maker.

The new factory will be designed to incorporate Gordon Murray Design’s iStream Carbon production process, which combines a tubular steel frame with honeycomb carbonfibre panels bonded to the frame to provide extra torsional stiffness. It is understood the new facility will produce both the chassis and body for the new Griffith.

A spokesman for the Welsh Government talking to Wales Online said: ‘TVR are making good progress with their new car and have secured all the necessary funding to complete the pre-production design and engineering development work.

‘Their move to Wales offers an exciting opportunity to create much needed well paid jobs in the Valleys.’

Construction of TVR’s new home in Wales is expected to be completed before the end of 2019, with production of the new Griffith scheduled to start soon after. TVR is hopeful that deliveries of the first 500 examples of the £90,000 480bhp Griffith Launch Edition will begin before the end of 2019.

TVR recently posted a video of its new Griffith undergoing testing at Dunsfold airfield. Although the video doesn’t give us a whole lot of new information, it is our first look at the new car in motion.

The new Griffith is the first all new model from TVR since the Sagaris released in 2004 – and the first since the company was bought by entrepreneur Les Edgar in 2013. Featuring a front-mounted V8 engine and rear-wheel drive, the Griffith has models such as the ,  and  firmly in its sights. It will also spearhead the firm’s return to motorsport as it targets a class victory in the Le Mans 24 hours.

> Click here for our last drive of the TVR Sagaris

On the surface the Griffith looks like a traditional TVR, but scratch beneath and you’ll find a blend of cutting edge tech and old school engineering. The engine will provide the low-tech charm; the Griffith will be powered by an off-the-shelf 5.0-litre V8 from . The tried and tested unit isn’t the most advanced engine, but it’s unbustable and should go a long way to shake off TVR’s slightly shaky reputation for reliability. Better still, tweaks by British engineering specialists Cosworth are claimed to deliver even greater performance. The V8 feeds some side-exit exhausts that pop out from behind the front wheels and is a design detail that wouldn’t look out of place on the original (1960s) Griffith and the smallest of rear-wings keeps the silhouette as clean as possible. 

 

> Click here for our look ahead to 2018's most exciting cars

As well as the aforementioned iStream construction process, the high-tech elements of the Griffith will be made up of some fairly sophisticated aerodynamics. For instance, the side exit exhausts have allowed TVR to create an almost totally flat underside, which means the Griffith is effectively a ‘ground effects’ car. The only notable external addition is the rear spoiler, which has been added to boost traction at high speeds, which will be crucial when the motorsport version of the Griffith takes to the track

TVR claims the new Griffith has exceptional torsional rigidity and should tip the scales at under 1,250kg. In terms of proportions, the new TVR Griffith measures 4314mm in length, is 1850mm wide and 1239mm high, and putting that into context, Porsche’s current 718 Cayman measures 4379mm, 1801mm and 1205mm respectively.

Beneath the David Seesing-designed carbon body, and hung from the iStream chassis with its 50:50 weight distribution, are double-wishbones front and rear, with adjustable coil-over dampers and concentric springs. The steering is electric power assisted, while the brakes are 370mm ventilated and floating discs with six-piston calipers at the front and 350mm two-piece discs at the rear with four-piston calipers. The 19-inch front wheels are fitted with a 235/35 Avon ZZ5 tyre, the 20-inch rears with a 275/30. 

> Click here for the latest on the new Lotus Evora GT430 Sport

Although the first edition of the press pack quotes no power or torque figures, TVR's official video created in conjunction with Goodwood states the engine produces 480bhp. The press literature does state that the car will have a power-weight-ratio of 400bhp/tonne, but 480bhp and a kerb weight of 1250kg results in 390bhp/tonne, short of the claimed figure. We’re told the six-speed manual Tremec gearbox is rated to 700lb ft at up to 7500rpm.

Performance is something else TVR is being coy about, but it claims a 200+mph maximum and a sub four-second 0-60mph time. The car will also be offered with a variety of driving modes, too. 

If you’re a fan of TVRs of old you’ll be expecting an unconventional interior, and while the new Griffith isn’t on a par with its ancestors for the quirkiness and plain daft design details of old, it’s not an Audi inside, either. There’s a TFT instrument binnacle, rotary controls for the air-conditioning and even a keyless ignition system. The floor-mounted, aluminium pedals look suitably proper, too.

A strict two-seater, TVR will produce 500 Griffith Launch Editions, with production scheduled for late 2018 and the first deliveries expected in early 2019. Offered in a range of colours, including specific LE hues, a full leather interior will also be offered and prices will start from £90,000. TVR say there are a number of allocations for these first cars still available for those who want to know why so many of us have such a soft spot for TVR today, nearly a decade after the company produced its last car in 2006. 

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