The Coys auction house is scheduled to pass this badass Brit roadster across the auction block next week during their Legende Et Passion auction in Monaco, and it might just be the best bang-for-the-buck in their whole lineup. Sure, this auction includes a BMW M1, a Porsche 959, and a variety of other sports and exotic cars, but none deliver quite the Whatta-Hell-Izzat factor as the TVR. With a combination of debonair attitude and shoddy Blackpudlian craftsmanship, you would be hard pressed to have a boring day in a Griffith 500.
Looking a bit like a mashup between an overgrown Mazda Miata and a Jaguar, with maybe a bit of first-gen Viper in the mix, the Griffith carries the nondescript styling of a royalty-free sportscar from Grand Theft Auto. It’s definitely an appealing shape, and there are certain angles it even looks pretty good, but it definitely doesn’t take any chances with its bodywork. Compared to its more readily available open-headlight Chimaera grand tourer fraternal chassis twin, the Griffith looks only slightly sportier.
Starting with the long-in-the-tooth Rover 3.5 V8, TVR bumped that engine’s displacement up a full liter and a half for a 5-liter unit that produced a respectable-for-1994 level of power with 340 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. For a fiberglass-bodied car that weighs less than 3000 pounds out of the box, that’s good for a low 4-second 0-60 time. That engine is mated to a five-speed manual from either Rover or Tremec, requiring you to row your own. It was billed then as a modern day Shelby Cobra, with a hairy driving experience and analog driver controls.
As mentioned earlier, the Griffith and Chimaera are mechanically identical, though the Griffith has a slightly different body, a stiffer sport-oriented suspension, and much smaller production numbers. To that effect, only about 2600 Griffiths were built from 1992 to 2002, and of that less than 2000 of them were 5-liter “500" models.
This particular car was delivered new to Belgium, has papers related to its owner in Italy, and registration in the Czech Republic. The listing doesn’t state even so much as mileage of the car, but considering the pre-auction estimate puts this car at around $40,000, the bidders of Monaco probably won’t care. It isn’t a top-caliber car, and it probably won’t even be a blip on most bidders’ radar, but in my eyes, this is one of the most awesome cars they’re selling this week.