Used car buying guide: TVR Griffith

How to get one in your garage

An expert’s view

David Hothersall, TVRCC: “I’ve had my 1998 Griffith 500 for 13 years. I bought it with 19,000 miles and today it’s showing 83,000. It’s my daily driver and has mostly been trouble-free. If there had been any serious problems, there’s enough support out there to build a new one. In fact, there are at least three TVR businesses operating from the old Bristol Avenue factory. The Griffith isn’t complicated but, given its torque-to-weight ratio, you have to respect it.” 

Buyer beware… 

■ Engine: Listen for camchain rattles: they last about 100,000 miles; camshafts can need replacing at 50k. Expect oil leaks from rocker cover gaskets and sump cover. Early 5.0s had crank issues. Check oil pressure and also engine temperature since the radiator can become blocked and the fan can seize. Check exhaust condition and for smoke from the manifolds. 

■ Transmission: Five-speed gearboxes are tough, but check the fluid has been changed at intervals; on the later T5, check reverse doesn’t crunch. Early GKN diff is noisy; later Salisbury units leak oil. 

■ Suspension and steering: Push the car down at each corner to check for any bouncing. Check the condition of the ball joints. Check tyres for uneven wear: wheel alignment issues can be hard to resolve if crash-related. 

■ Electrics: Check the ECU, battery and Lucas wiring loom in the front passenger bulkhead are watertight and neatly stowed. Try all the electrics; the body flexes and can chafe wires, and earthing issues are common. 

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■ Chassis: Check the outriggers that extend from the centre section to the sills, and from which steel sections run at right angles front to back. They collect mud and debris and rot from the top. The seat belt anchors are located on them, so corrosion can compromise safety. Poke underseal with a screwdriver to check it’s not masking rotting steel. 

■ Body: Check the body for ripples, cracks and overspray. Inspect the windscreen base for water tightness. Also worth knowing The TVR Car Club ( is a good place to start your Griffith adventure. Find your local group and pay them a visit for buying and owning advice, 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 specialist service history and an engine overhaul at 58,000 miles, plus major new peripherals replaced since. 

£23,000- £27,999: More 500s, including a 2001 car with 65,000 miles and more than £8000 spent on it, for £25,990. 


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