1964 Griffith TVR 200
8-cyl. 4727cc/195hp 2bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The Griffith 200 was the inspiration of the Long Island Ford dealer Andrew ‘Jack’ Griffith, who wanted a potent coupe to offer his clients. TVR of England supplied the Grantura Mk. III’s two-door GRP body shell, tubular chassis, rack and pinion steering, disc/drum brakes, all-independent double wishbones and coil springs transmission in. The only things missing were an engine and gearbox. The TVR then received a Ford drivetrain at an engine shop in Syosset, NY. Since the Grantura typically housed an MG, Ford or Climax four-cylinder engine, a Ford V-8 represented a quantum leap in performance for the little TVR.
Fitting a 4.7-liter Ford into a space designed for much smaller engines was a challenge from the beginning, but TVR supplied the Grantura chassis with the main tubes several inches further apart, an altered lower tube cross member and strengthened front suspension pick-up points. Even this wasn’t quite enough to accommodate the V-8, so the workers fitting it had to take sledgehammers to the frame. The brake system surprisingly stayed the same, but the Griffith had bigger tires to put the power down.
Production of the Griffith 200 began in 1963, and by 1964 buyers could choose from the Ford “200” engine or the 271-hp 280 cid V-8. The transmission was a Borg Warner T10 4-speed.Performance was brutal to say the least, and some would call it scary. The standard car could do 140 mph or 0-60 mph in six seconds, while the 289 had a claimed 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds. In the US, the cars were not sold as TVRs despite looking almost exactly like a Grantura, but in the UK market 20 examples were sold as the “TVR Griffith 200.” The Griffith 200 was replaced by the Griffith 400 in November 1964. These early Griffiths gained a reputation for leaking fuel tanks, overheating and their MGB rear axles failing to cope with all that extra power.
While far less well known than the Shelby Cobra, the TVR Griffith employed a similar concept of combining lightweight British sports car with large Ford V-8. The Griffith, though, was a smaller, lighter and arguably much wilder car than the Cobra even if it didn’t have the same on-track success.