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						Griffith Tvr 200 1
Haphazardly Rad: ’65 Griffith TVR 200

1965 Griffith TVR 200 survivor

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, eBay

Take a small British sports car and replace its modest inline engine with a high-performance Ford Windsor, sounds familiar right? And much like Carroll Shelby, that’s exactly what Jack Griffith did in 1964. But Griffith pushed the envelope even further, and started with an import that was some 350 pounds lighter than the AC Ace. What resulted was the featherweight TVR Griffith 200 sports car, one the most haphazardly rad cars ever built. With only 192 of its kind produced, this Griffith 200 is a desirable highly-original example with just 26,000 miles on the clock.

The TVR Griffith was born at Jack Griffith’s Ford dealership in Hicksville, New York in 1964. There’s no denying that Griffith was inspired by Carroll Shelby’s Cobra roadsters, which had established themselves as Corvette killers on the track by this time. In fact, Shelby and Griffith were said to be good friends, and Griffith was helping Shelby import and sell AC Cobras before the Griffith project took flight.

While accounts differ on the subject, the genesis of the Griffith TVR was likely a conversation in the garage between Jack and Dick Monnich, who had been importing TVRs in from England. A TVR Grandura was in the shop, along with a spare Windsor V8 and the pair got to talking. Griffith’s shop had built a hopped-up Ford Falcon with the new 271 hp 289 ci Windsor block and had a few tricks for extracting extra power from the engines. One way or another, Griffith brought a Windsor V8-powered Grandura to Dearborn in 1964 and left with a contract from Ford to supply engines and transmissions for the project. TVR agreed to send new Grandura Series III cars over from England without engines and transmissions, and the project was off the ground.

The Grandura was a featherweight at just 1,565 pounds, but it was only designed to handle 1,622 cc and 1,798 cc MGs, along with the occasional Ford or Coventry Climax engine. Furthermore, the crew at Griffith’s new Syosset, New York, shop weren’t bashful about cutting and bashing to make the new Ford drivelines fit. Beyond that, you couldn’t even look at the throttle pedal without blowing up the stock BMC axle on the prototype, so the crew worked out how to make stronger Jaguar components fit.

Even so, rear axle problems plagued the TVR Griffith 200, along with heat issues under the hood and rust where the chassis was bonded to the body. But there’s no denying the Griffith was seriously quick. Jack’s shop regularly tuned the 289 small-blocks to around 280 hp, and the car was capable of 5.2-second 0-60 mph times, and quarter-mile times un the neighborhood of 13 seconds. That’s faster than the MkI and MkII Cobras, and less than a second slower than Shelby’s 427 big-block Cobra to 60 mph.

In all, Griffith sold 192 TVR 200 models before switching to the improved Griffith 400 and 600 models, neither of which were as successful as the 200. These days a concours condition 200 model can grab as much as $140,000, with your average car running between $60,000 and $80,000 needing some work. But given the slim production figures and the haphazard handling when new, there aren’t a ton to choose from on the market.

This 1965 200 model on eBay is a rare find in highly-original condition with just 26,000 miles on the clock. It seems to have suffered a differential failure sometime over its life that’s had it parked for a while, but the seller states that a replacement unit is included in the sale. Otherwise, the chassis has been subject to rust from sitting, and where the body is glassed onto the chassis is likely in need of repair. The body looks to be in excellent condition though, and the paint and much of the interior can likely be preserved.

With a full mechanical restoration and cosmetic refresh, this could be a stunning, survivor-caliber example of the marque. The current bid on the car is $5,655 with six days remaining in the sale. See it here on eBay in Stamford, Connecticut.

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