Griffith

Why the new TVR Griffith is better than it looks

Photos are struggling to do the new TVR Griffith justice

THE CAMERA – contrary to what you might have learned from the late Bob Holness on Catchphrase – almost always lies.

In an age when just about every computer has access to Photoshop there’s a modicum of miracles you can perform when it comes to cropping, colouring and cloning just about every aesthetic evil out. It’s easy to eradicate the power station from the shot of that cute cottage you’re thinking of buying or to banish the blemishes from Kendall Jenner’s face. It happens with cars too; that’s why press shots of anonymous new superminis appear to have been shot on the set of a Doctor Who episode.

But it always baffles me how a set of professional shots can sometimes make a new car look worse. Remember the Alfa GT? In every press shot and road test it always looked a bit bland somehow, but approach one in the metal and it’s a wonderfully sinewy, curvy looker of a car. It’s not something that happens often, but it was only the other day I realised it’s happened with the new TVR too.

Regular readers might recall that I was already getting excited about the new Griffith, but while the engineering (courtesy of McLaren F1 guru Gordon Murray) and the vaguely unpronounceable name of TVR’s new home (courtesy of Wales) ticked all the right boxes plenty of my fellow petrolheads reckoned the looks were nothing to write about.

But having now seen the car for real I can confirm that the car’s biggest problem right now is the utterly rubbish set of press shots being used to publicise it. When I caught sight of the new car TVR had given it the challenge of being parked next to a load of classic Chimaeras, Tasmins and Tuscans, but it passed with flying colours.

The new Griffith might not have any otherworldly angles or strange slashes masquerading as air intakes, but it has proper, Vinnie-Jones-does-nightclub-bouncer presence. It even appears to be slightly peeved that you’re staring at it. Which will you be, because it’s aggressive and hugs the ground in a way that just doesn’t come out in the photos.

It also sounds a bit scary too, if the video of a Cerbera test car fitted with the new car’s engine is anything to go by. But the real question will be what it feels like, because the Griffiths and Chimaeras I’ve driven always have a slightly incendiary demeanour, and there’s only one way to find out if the new one stacks up.

Dear Father Christmas…

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The new TVR Griffith is mad. Which is why you should love it

TVR chose to launch its new Griffith at the Goodwood Revival last weekend

THE NEW Ferrari FXX? Sorry, not really that fussed. The Aston Martin DB11 was lovely, but hardly astonishing. And I was a bit ‘meh’ about the McLaren 570S, to be honest.

I’m sure all three are resolutely thrilling on the right bit of racetrack but it’s entirely forgiveable to be a bit blasé. We’re used to seeing shiny new supercars from all three, all of which are a modicum more impressive than the last one. It’s a bit like Liverpool doing rather well in the Premier League – just like they did last year, and the year before that.

But a new TVR is more like Leicester thundering in and unexpectedly snatching all the silverware, against ridiculous odds. The latest Griffith is the car that so many of us wanted to see, but none of us really believed was ever going to happen. Only that last Friday, after more than a decade of waiting, it did.

Barely a week in and there have already been plenty of comments that it doesn’t look bonkers enough to be a TVR – even I think it’s got shades of Jaguar F-type, but that’s hardly a bad thing. It’s also been fitted with ABS and a sophisticated power steering system but otherwise it’s business as usual for a carmaker that’s crafted its reputation on being ballsy where everyone else plays safe.

It has a V8 not a million miles from what you’ll find in a Ford Mustang but it’s been breathed on by Cosworth so it’s developing something in the region of 500bhp, with a Porsche-troubling power-to-weight ratio of around 400bhp per tonne. Gordon Murray – of McLaren F1 and Mercedes SLR fame – has helped out with the underpinnings, so it shouldn’t drive like an old-school TVR. It’ll be much better than that!

Even the Griffith’s launch makes it loveable. TVR could’ve done the sensible thing and flown out to Frankfurt, where everyone else is unveiling their new metal at the moment, but it decided instead to do it at the Goodwood Revival, a classic car event known for being consciously stuck in the 1960s. It’s emphatically not the place to launch a brand new car – but TVR did it anyway.

In fact the only thing that’s missing from this curiously British resurrection is the old Blackpool factory being brought back into action and giving Lancashire its sports car crown back, but that would be far too predictable for the new boys at TVR.

So they’ve decided to build it in a small town in Wales instead. There you have it – Ebbw Vale is Britain’s answer to Maranello…