How to get one in your garage

Expert view

David Hothersall, TVRCC: “Ive had my 1998 Griffith 500 for 13 years. I bought it with 19,000 miles and today it shows 83,000. It is my daily driver and has been almost always trouble free. If there had been a serious problem, there is enough support to build a new one. In fact, there are at least three TVR businesses operating from the old Bristol Avenue factory. The Griffith is not complicated but, given its torsion-to-weight ratio, you have to respect it.

Buyer, be careful…

¦ Engine: Pay attention to the rattles on cam chains: they last about 100,000 miles; cam trees may need to be replaced at 50k. Expect oil leaks from the rocker and sump cover gaskets. The first 5.0 had problems with crack. Check the oil pressure and also the engine temperature, as the radiator may become blocked and the fan may become clogged. Check the state of the exhaust gases and the smoke from the collectors.

¦ Transmission: Five-speed gearboxes are hard, but check that the fluid has been changed at intervals; in the rear T5, check that reverse gear does not creak. Early GKN diff is noisy; later Salisbury units lose oil.

¦ Suspension and address: Push the car down at each corner to check for bounces. Check kneecaps status. Check for irregular tyre wear: wheel alignment problems can be difficult to solve if they are related to a collision.

¦ Electricity: Check that the ECU, battery and Lucas wiring in the front passenger bulkhead are airtight and well stored. Test all electrical elements; the body flexes and can rub against cables, and grounding problems are common.

¦ Chassis: Check the stabilizers that extend from the center section to the windowsills, and from which the steel sections run at right angles from front to back. They collect mud and debris and rot from above. Seat belt anchors are located on them, so corrosion can compromise safety. Hit the bottom seal with a screwdriver to make sure you are not masking the rotten steel.

¦ Body: Check body for ripples, cracks, and overspray. Inspect windshield base for water tightness. Its also worth getting to know the TVR Car Club ( is a good place to start your Griffith adventure. Find your local group and visit them for advice on buying and owning, as well as information on the whereabouts of good Griffs for sale.

How much to spend

£17,000-£22,999: Includes a 1995-reg 500 with a specialized service history and a 58,000-mile engine overhaul, plus major new peripherals replaced since.

£23,000- £27,999: More than 500, including a 2001 car with 65,000 miles and more than 8,000 pounds spent on it, per 25,990 pounds.

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