The new TVR Griffith will enter production next year, company chairman Les Edgar says. If you’ve been following the saga of TVR’s first new car in 15 years, I shouldn’t have to tell you it’s inadvisable to take that sentence at face value. And if you haven’t been following it, know that this isn’t the first time Edgar and company have labeled “next year” as the estimated time of arrival.
TVR’s boss related this prediction to Pistonheads in an article published today. Edgar says TVR has received £2 million (about $2.75 million) in COVID-19-related financial support from the United Kingdom. With those funds, the automaker will be hopefully be able to complete restoration of the derelict factory in Wales in which it chose to set up shop, and maybe even start churning out some British muscle.
TVR has said before that it’s already received enough deposits from customers to sell out the Griffith’s initial 500-vehicle run, and Pistonheads reports the company is sitting on £40 million (about $55 million) worth of orders waiting to be filled in the first year of production.
The interest has always been there — that’s never been the problem. And it isn’t hard to see why: the new Griffith’s chassis was designed by Gordon Murray’s team using its efficient, lightweight and cost-saving iStream process; it’s powered by a 5-liter Ford V8 tuned by Cosworth, funneled through a six-speed manual gearbox; and it looks, in my opinion, phenomenal, like a modern interpretation of the original car that should age almost as gracefully.
The trouble is that TVR has seemingly made decisions that have pushed the project back at every turn. The Griffith made its first public appearance in 2017, but then couldn’t build the thing when it planned to because it accepted investment from the Welsh government and decided to renovate a factory in the region.
Per European Union rules related to state funding, construction had to be shopped around to firms across the EU, not just local ones, and TVR couldn’t get to work in the interim. And even once the company had its contractor and factory, it discovered the place was in worse condition than initially thought. The BBC reported that the site was “damaged by an illegal rave in the summer of 2018,” which sounds about as plausible as it is hilarious. Curse you youths!
Mind you, this is all before COVID-19 entered the picture, and we haven’t even broached the affliction that typically ruins companies in TVR’s position — running out of money.
Supposedly, TVR is now cleared to start fixing up its future home as of the middle of this month, and now has the money to do it. Is the Griffith safe now? Honestly, who knows. This building seems pretty cursed, and I’m wondering if it’s the universe trying to send TVR a message.