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Griffith 400 Pre Cat 1992

  • Spec
  • History
  • Test Drive
  • Warranty
Tab 1
TVR Griffith 400 - 1992 - California Dreaming!
For sale at £45,000

TVR and Str8six have been keeping the Spirit of the AC Cobra alive!

History Repeating

In September 1961, American automotive designer Carroll Shelby wrote to AC cars in England, manufacturers of the Bristol Straight-6 engined AC Ace 2 seater sports car, asking if they would build him a car modified to accept an American V8 engine.

AC agreed - provided a suitable engine could be found. As it happened, Ford wanted a car that could compete with the Corvette. They happened to have a brand new engine which could be used in this endeavour: the Windsor 221 in³ (3.6 L) engine. Ford provided Shelby with two engines.

In January 1962, mechanics at AC Cars in Thames Ditton, England designed the "AC Ace 3.6" prototype - chassis number CSX2000 - for the USA. This first “Shelby Cobra” was fitted with a stronger rear differential and, after testing and modification, the engine and transmission were removed. The chassis was then air-freighted to Shelby in Los Angeles on 2 Sep 1962.

By this time, the Windsor’s displacement had increased to 4.3 L. Shelby’s team installed this engine and a suitable transmission into CSX2000 - in less than eight hours - at Dean Moon’s shop in Santa Fe Springs California. Road testing of the Cobra began immediately! And the rest is History - iconic and legendary!

I’m coming home!
The TVR Griffith advertised here could well be viewed as the Grandson of the Shelby Cobra. Like the Cobra it features a beautiful, curvaceous 2 seat, 2 door body, with a soft top, and it’s powered by a stump-pulling V8 engine. And this car’s Rover V8, like the Cobra’s Ford Windsor engine, was “Born in the USA!”

The Rover V8 began life as the Buick 215, an all-aluminium engine introduced in 1960 for the 1961 US model year. The compact engine was light, at just 144 kg (318 lb), and capable of high power outputs. The most powerful Buick version of this engine rated 149 kW (200hp). The very similar Oldsmobile "Jetfire" turbo version made 215hp.

Buick produced 376,799 cars with this engine in just three years. A comparable number of Oldsmobile 215 engines were produced. In addition, Pontiac models were fitted with the Buick 215 engine.

In January 1964, Rover asked their American operations head J. Bruce McWilliams to investigate the possible purchase of an American V8 engine for Rover cars. History relates that McWilliams first saw a marinised Buick 215 V8 at the Mercury Marine works when discussing the sale of Rover gas turbines and diesel engines to the company. He realised the lightweight Buick V8 would be ideal for smaller British cars. McWilliams finally convinced GM to sell the tooling to Rover in January 1965.

As well as appearing in Rover cars, the Buick-derived engine was sold by Rover to several British car manufacturers, including TVR Sportscars of Blackpool. The Rover V8 engines which TVR installed in TVR Griffiths used displacements ranging from 4.0 L, through 4.3 and 4.5 L, with the largest variant being the TVR-developed 5.0 L.

The 4.0 L V8, as installed in the advertised car, develops 240bhp and 270lb ft of torque. It gives the car a top speed of 152 mph, a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds, and the car will achieve 0-100 in 12.1 seconds. Those figures are not bad for a car born 25 years ago! (The prototype 2018 TVR Griffith is forecasting 0-60 in 4.0 secs - refer to Wikipedia…...!).

And 25 years is significant for another reason! It means our advertised Griffith 4.0L is now eligible for import into the USA as a complete car - not as a disassembled car like the first Cobra was!

Would that be a good idea? Too right it would! TVR Griffiths are rarer (less than 2600 built) and, in many ways, more sophisticated and civilised than Cobras ever were - and they feature much better weather protection! Like the Cobra they use a lightweight but strong tubular steel chassis and, like later Cobras, a durable and easy to repair fibreglass body.

But would you commit to a car that is 25 years old? In the case of this beautiful example, you have a car that was conscientiously serviced right through its life until 2012. And then you have the re-assurance that this car underwent a nut and bolt, ground up restoration in 2014. The engine was completely stripped and rebuilt - as were the gearbox and final drive. The Chassis has had a full body off restoration, with a powder coated finish and Dinitrol protection incorporated. All suspension components have been renewed and brand new Bilstein shock absorbers and Eibach springs have been installed.

On top of that the Bodywork has been prepared and refinished in beautiful “Paris Blue”, (which would look stunning in the Californian Sunlight !). This bodywork restoration was carried out by Surface and Design Ltd, in the buildings in which the car was originally built, by men who may have painted this car back in 1992! Provenance does not get much more original than that!

And it gets better! You will have noted that Griffiths were originally fitted with engine management by Lucas (known to generations of British motorists as “The Prince of Darkness”!). This car has been brought fully into the 21st Century - and then some! It is fitted with the latest MBE engine management system for the Rover V8. MBE’s cutting edge system does away with the need for many of the standard engine bay’s peripherals, such as the air mass meter and the infamous stepper motor, which can cause problems in older cars. In addition, coil packs replace the standard distributor and a new, programmable ECU - complete with bespoke map - is complimented by a brand new engine wiring loom.

The engine is fitted with a crank sensor and trigger wheel to enable fully mappable fuel and ignition. The advanced controllability of MBE’s new system also benefits by providing lower emissions - allied to improved torque, driveability and reliability. Catalytic converters can also be fitted to further reduce exhaust emissions. And finally, the operating software is available “on line”, meaning the system can be serviced by any capable technician! (Interestingly, this system is manufactured by the same company commissioned by Cosworth to produce the ECU which controls the American Mustang Coyote engine in the forthcoming 2018 TVR Griffith - another superb Anglo American car and engine cooperation!).

So, in summary, here we have a fully restored TVR Griffith finished in really beautiful colourways, which are timeless and will never go out of fashion. The exterior colour is Paris Blue and the interior is trimmed in Oxford Blue with Wedgewood Blue Wilton carpet. The Interior will shortly be further improved by the incorporation of  Str8six’s “trade mark”, straked door panels!

The roof is finished in American Navy Blue Mohair. And this car is even running on authentic, fully restored OZ Split rim “Imola” alloys - in Silver with polished chrome rims. (These were the factory OE optional extras for this model “Back in the day”). And they are fitted with brand new Toyo Proxes T1R Street tyres - to keep you safe on wet or dry roads - whilst optimising the car’s seductive and competent handling. And speaking of safety, this car is - exceptionally - fitted with a full roll-over bar. And even more exceptionally - this is leather-trimmed!

On the same theme, no, this car is not equipped with airbags or ABS brakes but then, neither are thoroughbred stallions! You ride them with respect and learn to become one with the powerful animal. That is what Cobra and Griffith ownership is all about! Or you can of course simply stand back and admire your Griffith after the handsome beast has been fully groomed for display in the showring!

But that would only tell half the story. This is a V8 powered car, and its exhausts are full stainless steel works of art incorporating cherry bomb silencers. So, for maximum audience satisfaction, this car needs to be heard on a “drive by”, not simply parked statically and revved. Go on, check out the
sound clip!

This TVR was first registered on 2 Oct 1992 and, so far, has been enjoyed by 6 owners over 25 years. Nevertheless, Str8six has every faith in this superb Griffith 4.0L, which is why - if the car stays in the UK - this 25 years old “matching numbers” heirloom and appreciating asset will be supplied with Str8six's renowned "
All the 12s" handover specification. This includes a full 12,000 miles service, 12 months MOT & TAX, as well as our 12 months/12,000 miles FULL WEAR AND TEAR WARRANTY covering PARTS and LABOUR on the WHOLE CAR. This Griff also has an inbuilt 12 volt trickle charger and it will come with a spare wheel in the boot. 

Overall mileage - 90,585
Tab 2
You won’t see many Service Records on a 25 year old car like the history listed below:
Owner 1
26 09 92 - 30 miles - PDI/Team Central TVR    
06 11 92 - 1,213 miles - 1,000 service/Team Central TVR   
30 04 93 - 6,455 miles - 6,000 service/Team Central TVR  

Owner 2
12 11 93 - 12,250 miles - 12,000 service/Team Central TVR   
13 07 94 - 18,175 miles - 6,000 service/Team Central TVR         
26 02 95 - 24,568 miles - 12,000 service/Team Central TVR      

12 01 96 - Sold by Team Central to Owner 3 (Reg TOR62G) Rowe
23 01 96 - 32,795 miles - 6,000 service/Team Central TVR  
07 10 96 - 38,233 miles - 12,000 service/Team Central TVR      
13 08 97 - 44,116 miles - 6,000 service/Cotswold Sports Cars  
21 05 98 - 49,882 miles - Inter service/Cotswold Sports Cars (Reg A6THY)
15 10 98 - Fit Roll Bar - Brooklands (Exeter) Ltd
03 06 99 - 54,144 miles - 12,000 service/Cotswold Sports Cars   
24 03 00 - 58,926 miles - Small service/Peninsula TVR                 
22 08 01 - 65,078 miles - 6,000 service/Peninsula TVR                  
21 08 02 - 69,322 miles - Inter service/Peninsula TVR                  
20 08 03 - 73,898 miles - 12,000 service/Peninsula TVR                 
30 08 03 - }

06 02 04 - Sold by Peninsula TVR to Owner 4 (Reg K816BOF) Gordon
16 12 04 - 79,086 miles - 6,000 service/Peninsula TVR                    
06 12 05 - 81,789 miles - 12,000 service/Webbs Autos Bristol        

25 01 06 - Sold by owner 4 direct to new owner - Stanfield
02 03 06 - 83,241 miles - 12,000 service/Offord Motor Co.                
02 03 07 - 85,487 miles - 6,000 service/Offord Motor Co.                
20 02 08 - 87,067 miles - 12,000 service/Offord Motor Co.                
26 02 09 - 88,861 miles - MOT/Offord Motor Co.      
26 03 09 - Full carpet set - P&M Taylor, Cambridge      
12 06 10 - 89,556 miles - 6,000 service/A1 Autocare, Offord        
02 03 11 - 89,998 miles - MOT/A1 Autocare, Offord           
20 02 12 - 90,244 miles - MOT/A1 Autocare, Offord 
         
18 04 12 - Sold by Offord Motor Co to Owner 6 - Cooper

31 07 14 - 90,958 miles - Full Restoration Completed - Str8six TVR
08 08 14 -  90,958 miles - New Windscreen/Str8six  
26 11 15 - 4 OZ Racing Wheels Refurbished                        
 
POST SALE TO NEXT OWNER
Date TBD c.91,000 miles - PDI & 12,000 service/Str8six TVR
Tab 3
Please contact us on 07834 739307 or 01844 352735 to make an appointment.
If conditions are wet we reserve the right to provide a demonstration drive, rather than a customer driven test drive. Please bring your driving licence if you wish to test drive this car. Finance is available, subject to the usual terms and conditions.
Tab 4
Complete piece of mind purchasing
- with our 12 months full wear & tear warranty

The above car comes with Str8six's renowned full 12,000 miles service completed, 12 months MOT, 12 months Tax and 12 months/12,000 miles full wear and tear warranty covering parts and labour. Plus an inbuilt 12 volt trickle charger and a 12 volt auxiliary cable (if applicable) will also be provided.
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This car comes with Str8six's renowned "All the 12’s” handover specification
The 12 months/12,000 miles warranty - is
FULL WEAR AND TEAR (Parts and Labour)

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