2,400 Miles & A V8! 1965 Griffith 400

Largely original, this Griffith (think small, fiberglass-bodied TVR with Ford 289 V8 added) was used for drag racing from new according to the seller, and now only has 2,475 miles (although the majority may have been a quarter mile at a time!) It’s for sale here on eBay where bidding has not yet met the reserve yet but has just passed $60,000! The Griffith is has been in indoor storage and is now in Portland, Oregon.

The short tail of the TVR is very evident in this shot, along with the Mk. 1 Cortina tail lights that some of our readers love and others dislike. I believe those tiny bumpers are painted fiberglass, just like the rest of the body. Griffiths came about when Jack Griffith had a similar idea to Carroll Shelby and decided to drop a Ford V8 into a small British sports car. With it’s short wheelbase and not a lot of suspension development, I’ve always heard that both the original Griffith 200 and Griffith 400s like this one were very difficult to drive quickly. Perhaps one of our readers has actual experience to share?

Here you can see just how small the TVR is, and how small the door openings are! It appears that tires have worn through the fiberglass fender in the rear; perhaps a lot of hard launches and oversize slicks?

The inside of all TVR’s are pretty tight, but it looks like the Griffith has an even larger transmission tunnel than I’m used to seeing–which makes it even more snug. I recall driving a later 2500 model and having pedals that were offset to the outside of the car; so I’m guessing I’m guessing that shift boot isn’t stock, but who knows? The car was originally painted light blue, but apparently the original owner had it painted this red-orange color prior to taking delivery, so it’s almost original.

I guess you would call this a front-mid engine design considering how far back the engine is placed. This is a “K” code 271 horsepower, 289 cubic inch Ford V8. Just look at those unusual headers to get clearance! Ultimately, do you think this low mileage car is worth the money? Would you like it (or like to drive it)? I would! Let us know what you think in the comments

 

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Comments

  1. Brakeservo

    The bumpers are metal, talking with the seller leads me to believe the reserve is probably about $150,000 and that may be realistic – this was the car that would have kicked Shelby’s butt had Griffith’s financing not fallen apart. I own a Griffith also.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Brakeservo, thanks for the bumper correction! Like the ad said, “Ask the man who owns one!” What is it like to drive???

      • Brakeservo

        Yes, I own a 1965 Griffith but as to your question about what it’s like to drive, I wish I knew, heck, I’m hopin’ I’ll even be able to get in through the door when I finish the restoration! !

        Like 1
      • chrarles

        Jamie: Watch the 2017, Graham Hill Trophy, Highlights, 75MM, race, and you will see Mike Jordan clean the field including the two AC Cobra leaders. See it on U-tube. What’s funny is that Mike uses an original, no modifications as on the light green Griffith also in the race, and, hold on, the original WIRE WHEELS! It’s quite a race, and I was surprised at the ending because the English narrator states he doesn’t think the TVR Griffith 400 doesn’t have the power to beat the Cobras, was he mistaken.

        And to end all the misinformation on suspensions. Mike passes the first Cobra on the inside and the leading Cobra on the outside. Only a car with an unequaled wishbone suspension could do that to fairly modified Cobras with racing wheels and hugh tires, but with leaf spring independent rear suspension.

        My best,
        Chuck Pineda in California

    • chrarles

      What a race! For those that love the TVR Griffith 400’s see the 2017,Graham Hill Trophy race Highlights-Goodwood 75MM on U-tube. You will be thrilled to see Mike Jordan in his Griffith 400 in,yes, original condition including his wire wheels, BEAT THE COBRAS, FERRARI’S, ASTON MARTINS, 250 LM FERRARI’S, REGULAR AND LIGHTWEIGHT E-JAGUARS, AND THE SUPERFAST LOTUS ELAN S2’S.

      The end of the race surprised everyone, including me. I have to handed to Jack Andrew Griffith for building a car that out handles and beats the entire field in 2017. Hooray for the Champion of the A Production cars, Jack Griffith’s Series 400 sports car.

      Respectfully submitted,
      Chuck Pineda in California

      Like 2
    • chrarles

      Brakeservo: U-tube just released a longer version of the 2017 Graham Hill Trophy, Full race, where you’ll hear the British announcer at the end say,” The TVR Griffith 400 beat the Cobras, E-Jaguars, and 250 LM and GTO Ferrari’s.” I would add, again, that Mike Jordan and Mike Whitacre plus Nigel Reuben Racing did a great job for the marque.

      If you look at the crowd people are in large groups amazed that the fastest Shelby AC Cobras are being pressured, outhandled, and passed. The Cobra driver is angry that he has been passed and pours it on to no avail as the Griffith 400 with a competent driver is just too much for it.

      Earlier I mentioned the Highlight,75MM race because that’s the only one that showed the Griffith beating the Cobras. However, today I notice that a new version of the entire race, and which gives the Griffith 400 and the Ferrari’s much more coverage, and, in my humble opinion, is superior to the earlier version. It’s about 40-45 minutes long, but its worth watching.

      Jack Andrew Griffith would be very happy with his marque doing what it did at the 2017, Graham Hill Trophy race, may he rest in peace.

      My best,
      Charles Pineda, Jr.
      Original owner of a 1966 Griffith 400

      Like 1
      • Rich Thompson

        Hi Charles,
        I’ve seen comments to you from Nigel Reuben about the great performance he has been achieving.
        I have just finished a very detailed restoration on 009. This car has a amazing history. It was owned by one of the Presidents of the Griffith club for 25 years. You can see a few photos on my website: uppervintagecollection.com
        I’ve owed some incredible cars in the past 50 years. This is the one I’ll keep until the end, it is so much fun to drive. Plus the outings alway amass a crowd with lots of questions.
        I hope you still have your 400.
        email me: marketingessentialsltd@gmail.com

  2. RayT Member

    I’ve been hearing about the “handling problems” these cars had/have since they were new, and my guess is some of the more lurid stories are true! Somehow, that doesn’t lessen my desire to own one in the slightest. I’m always up for a challenge….

    The $150K pricetag Brakeservo is estimating does kinda take the thrill out of it, somehow. As a rule, I try not to get crazy with expensive cars I own. Expensive cars I don’t own are another matter!

    Small, good-looking car with too much motor — what’s not to like?

    • chrarles

      Ray T: The majority of the problems was with the Series 200. One never sees a 200 win a race. The Series 400 was a race car for the streets.

      Just look at the cars competing in the Graham Hill Trophy race this year, 2017,Highlights, 75MM, and you will see Mike Jordan beat the entire field. See it on U-tube.

      Only an automobile with a great suspension and handling could eat up those two fast Cobras, and the entire field of 250 LM Ferrari’s, E-Jaguars, etc.

      By the way, there is another U-tube video showing the two leading Cobras,but they stop showing the race, and that’s because Mike Jordan in his TVR Griffith 400 passes both of them and won the race. It reminded me of how certain groups of people with lots of power in the media can insure that the winner of a race is not shown when their marque in beaten. See the video.

      People were shocked that the Griffith beat all the sports cars in the race, including me. Grantur engineering of England build the unequal wishbone suspension for the Griffith 400 and it shows its sophistication when he passes the second Cobra in the inside and the leading Cobra on the outside. Many people don’t know that the Cobra as the older Corvettes had independent suspensions, however, they were based on leaf springs and never used in formula one cars.

      The Griffith’s suspension is the top of the line with unequal wishbones on all four corners. The Series 400 has four shocks per wheel in the rear to insure full contact with the road. It also has the heavy duty Salisbury Rear End to handle the torque of that Ford Hi-Po V/8. Enjoy the race, I certainly did.

      My best,
      Chuck Pineda in California

      Like 1
      • Nigel Reuben

        Hi Chuck.
        It was really interesting reading yours and the other peoples comments about the Griffith, I restored this car for the owner Mike Whitaker, Mike Jordan is just the 2nd driver!
        These machines are so under estimated its crazy they handle beautufully and are so good in competition.
        I have and still do restore these cars, I have done over 40 of them and personally own the one above on Brakeservo’s page.
        I noticed people have commented to say they are concerned for the lack of parts supply but I have at least 95% of all Griffith parts in stock at my house in England.
        I wa splanning on coming to the 2020 Daytona and Sebring classic races at the end of the year but this pandemic has more than likely put a stop to that.
        Thanks for the interesting reading.
        Regards
        Nigel Reuben.

        Like 1
  3. Trent

    Mike Mooney, who lives just over in Claremont, NC, was a test driver for Jack Griffith back in the day. He’s been over to our shop a few times and wrote “The Griffith Years”. He does have some stories and a really nice Griffith. Seriously cool ride.

    • chrarles

      Jamie: I drove my 1966, Griffith 400 from the dealer in Lavonia, Michigan to Los Angeles, California. When I received the brochure from Jack Griffith, may he rest in peace, the 400 was the most gorgeous sports car I had ever seen. Few people know that Grantur Ltd. build the unequal, a la formula one, wishbone suspension for the 400’s. It also has a center of gravity below the ground, and that is the reason when one see the 2011 Silverstone, Gentlemens Drivers race on U-tube one will see the E Jaguars front inside tires lift off the ground losing traction and the McInerney’s light blue, for Scotland, 400 stick to the track.

      Now that Mr. Griffith passed away in January 2017, his cars will skyrocket in value. See them compete in the 2014, Oldtimers Gran Prix; the 2014 SPA Francorchamps,and the SPA Six Hours of April 14,2014.

      My best,
      Charles “Chuck” Pineda, Jr. of California and I love my Griffith 400.

      Like 1
      • chrarles

        Jamie: Mark Donohue also engineered and tested the Series 400. He knew cars and had a tremendous reputation in that arena.

        My best,
        Chuck Pineda in California

        Like 1
  4. BMW Racer

    I like the “vents” on the rear fenders. I wonder if they made with a tool or a tire?

    Like 1
    • chrarles

      BMW Racer: They were probably using oversized tires or slicks. From my experience I put a set of slicks on the rear for autocross events. They were much wider than the original 185 X 15’s, and they had a sharp, squared off top that would rub against the top of the fiberglass rear fender.

      Leaving them too long, of course, wears out the fiberglass and you end up with the elongated opening as in the Griffith 400 shown above.

      My best,
      Chuck Pineda in California

  5. Rustytech Member

    Wow! Small size, skinny tires, and Cobra V8, I’m scared just looking at it.

    • chrarles

      Rustytech: Just watch the 2017, Graham Hill Trophy, Highlights,75MM, race and you will see a street, original, TVR Griffith 400, with skinny tires plus using,yes, the original 78 spoke wire wheels beat the fastest, highly modified, AC Shelby Cobras, and a host of others including Ferrari 250 LM’s.

      Now, what do you think of skinny tires, small size, and a Ford Hi-Po,V/8?

      I believe you’ll enjoy the video on U-Tube.

      My best,
      Charles Pineda, Jr. of California

      Like 1
  6. Neil

    I would buy this little beauty, but for the fact that the seller shows such blatant disregard for NO PARKING signs. I shall not support it !

  7. Dolphin Member

    I think the handling issue with short-wheelbase cars is real if you race the car. Probably ordinary driving on public roads it would not be an issue….most of the time, anyway.

    But cars like the TVR, Griffith 400, and Cheetah have a very short wheelbase, and some people say they can have squirrily handling on road courses when driven in anger. Then there are those skinny tires.

    So I looked at wheelbase : track ratios (wheelbase divided by track), and here are some:

    The numbers are wheelbase (mm), track (mm), and wheelbase/track.
    1965 Griffith 400: 2220 1352 1.64
    1964 Cheetah: 2286 1473 1.55
    1990s TVR: 2282 1465 1.55
    BMW M3 (E36): 2700 1435 1.88
    BMW M3 (E46): 2731 1516 1.80
    recent F1 cars: 1.7 to 2.0
    Sorry about the spacing. My original spacing wasn’t reproduced here. The important number is at the right end of each line.

    What I think this says is that you can have a great handling car with a long wheelbase if it’s well designed and has modern wide tires. You also get the benefit of better high speed stability with the longer wheelbase.

    Altho I would really like to own a Griffith 400 I’m not too upset that will never happen. The temptation to goose the throttle in a Griffith with a real short wheelbase and all the torque might be too much.

    • chrarles

      Dolphin: Don’t worry driving the Griffith 400. I drove a Highway Patrol unmarked Cruiser for decades. If you follow the rules of the road and have some experience in car club races and knowing the capabilities of the car and yourself you would enjoy the power and handling of the Griffith 400.
      I dropped a note to Jamie and if you look at some of the races and see the McInerney’s Griffith 400 eat Cobras, E-Jaguar, Porsche 904 GTS’s, and Corvettes you’ll have an idea of the Griffith’s 400 potential.

      Jack Andrew Griffith was first of all a salesman, then a dealer, his interest was sales and we know that he entered his Cobra in several races, but he never entered the Griffith 200 which was lighter then the Series 400. The 200 was almost totally a TVR Grantura with minor accomodations for the 195 horsepower Ford V/8, later the 225 HP, and then the optional 271 horsepower K Code motor. With the torque of those engines and little work on the suspension the 200’s earned a negative reputation.

      The Series 400 was a race car build for the streets. It was worked on by Mark Donuhue and he was someone who knew competition cars. If he drove it and tweaked the suspension and engine, he did an outstanding job.

      I use to drive a 356 A Porsche, Class E car. There is no comparison to a Class A production car. I saw Tom Lynch in a Series 200, beat Shelbys best drivers and Cobra (Dave Mcdonald and Ken Miles) and for eight laps left the Cobras in the dust or until some car went off the track and spattered rocks on the track causing the car in the lead, the Griffith Series 200, to hit the rocks and blow his left rear tire!

      Didn’t hear much or read about that unknown car putting Shelbys Cobras to shame at the 1965, SCCA,races at Goleta, California, also known as Santa Barbara.

      A good public relations man could have publicize the event and Mr. Griffith would have sold many more Series 200 Griffiths. And, just maybe, he would have have enough money to campaign the Griffiths in American road racing.

      In conclusion, in l966, Nevada had no speed limit. Hear this! The Griffith Series 400 will do 125 mph on the primaries. The secondaries come in at 125 and will get one going to 163 mph. I was too new to the car and somewhat scared and slowed down at 148. My Griffith is in our garage under a soft car cover, and I thank the Lord who gave me the wisdom not to buy a Corvette, Jaguar, or one of Shelby’s AC Cobra, which I tested when his shop was on Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles. No comparison on the ride the Griffith is superior.

      During our jouney on planet earth one has to make many decisions. I’m glad that there was an unknown car that would not bow to the top cars in sports car racing while I was younger. And, again, I say PRAISE THE LORD, THAT I BOUGHT AND DROVE SAFELY FROM LAVONIA, MICHIGAN TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA IN A CAR WHICH HAS ONLY 59 SIBLING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.

      My best,
      Chuck Pineda

      Like 1
      • chrarles

        Please take a look on U-tube of the 2017, Graham Hill Trophy, Highlights,75 MM, race, and you’ll see how an original TVR Griffith on original 78 spoke wire wheels deals with the famous AC Shelby Cobras, and a host of others.

        My best,
        Charles Pineda former candidate for Governor of California.

        Like 1
  8. trevor

    That is real money, id let my project go for half :-)

  9. Dave

    I think this would be a blast to drive, but man ! With the engine set back like that and your leg against the tranny tunnel it would be like driving in a toaster oven on a warm day !!

  10. Klharper

    Ok I have driven one of these and I have driven an original 289 cobra. It is one of the perks of being a mechanic for oddball cars.
    The cobra in comparison to the TVR is a smooth stable easy to drive sports car, and in reality it is none of those things. It is just a much better car than the TVR..
    How bad is the TVR, I spun it just getting on the interstate, a complete 360 without hitting anything and without stopping or stalling.
    The problem with the TVR is just to short of wheelbase, it is shorter than a MGB. I have driven the later Tasmin, both 350 and 400 models and they are much better and significantly quicker.
    Speaking of which the MGB v8 is a similar wild beast but the rover v8 does not have the torque of the ford which is another item that makes this TVR so dangerous.
    Kevin

    • Bruce Best

      I have not driven one but I had one ride that caused me to nearly crap in my pants. If and it is a huge IF you are careful and have a very progressive throttle you can drive this safely. If not I can suggest a number of far less expensive ways to kill yourself.

      NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER let anybody under the age of 30 drive this thing unless they are a professional racing driver of some merit. The Cobras of all types are fun and can get out of hand but these are truly scary cars in the wrong hands.

      • chrarles

        Bruce Best: Please see the 2017 Graham Hill Trophy race-Highlights-75MM and you will see Mike Jordan do a job on the entire field which includes Cobras, Ferrari’s, Lotus Elans S’2’s, Bizzarinis, regular and lightweight E-Jaguars. See it on U-Tube.

        I believe Mike Jordan would make a believer of you regarding a TVR Griffith 400, and known as just a Griffith 400 in the states.

        As I shared with others, it takes a well engineered car to beat all those sophisticated cars on the track. What impressed me is that Jordan Griffith 400 is racing with the original wire wheels and the car is in its original form. You also see a race type light green Griffith 400 with hugh tires, modified fenders front and rear, however, its not in the front.

        Notice at the start of the race that the TVR Griffith is in between a Cobra and an E-Jaguar and that means that in practice it had a very fast time. and, therefore, was up front.Enjoy the race, I did.

        My best,
        Chuck Pineda in California

  11. hhaleblian

    One would roast in this ride. How do I know? I had a Tiger and any top down ride on a 80 plus degree day was not pleasant for all the engine heat. Car was relegated to spring and fall only. I can only imagine this coupe has to equate to a dry sauna. No wonder it was only used for quarter mile trips. No thanks. At $150k there are far more friendly, fun, alternatives.

    • Wm Lawrence

      Take along a spray bottle of water and you could have a wet sauna…

  12. Joe Haska

    I had no idea these cars were worth that kind of money! But Iam a believer now, and wish I could afford it.

    Like 1
    • chrarles

      Joe: Ten years ago the British Financial Times had a note on persons who had bought Griffith 200’s and the super rare Griffith 400 of which only 59 were produced by the Griffith Motor Car Company. They recommended that in time the cars would be worth big money.

      Now, that Jack Andrew Griffith the idea man behind the Griffith Series has passed on his cars will be extremely valuable as the BFT predicted.

      My best,
      Charles in California

      Like 1
  13. Cubs win

    These are meant to drag like the Cheetah. I don’t think they were designed for handling.

    • Bruce Best

      Sadly they were built to be a much more powerful alternative to a Cobra using the Lotus idea of higher is better but on this model it got out of hand. They were meant to be much more like the Lotus Elan but with buckets more power and torque.

    • chrarles

      Cubs win: You really need to see the 2011, Silverstone, Gentlemen Drivers race to see how well a Series 400 Griffith handles on U-tube.
      In regards to handling see the 2014 Croft Guards Trophy race on U-tube, and you will see Mike Whitacre in his Griffith 400 deal with an AC Cobra and the best handling car of the sixties and beyond- the Lotus Elan S2, driven by Paul Tooms who is considered one of the Continents best Lotus Elan drivers. Notice how the suspension of the Griffith 400 deals with the same curves that the Elan takes and then outpowers the Elan to win the race.

      By the way, the AC Cobra is an FIA Cobra, but it can’t handle the Griffith. Paul Tooms is quite a driver and does his own narrative. He’s quite a chap.

      My best,
      Chuck Pineda of California

  14. Fast Eddie

    IIRC, there were a lot more Cheetahs, in road racing, than there were Griffiths. If anyone has more knowledge than my fading memory, I’d like to hear comments.

    • chrarles

      Fast Eddie: You are correct. I never saw a Griffith or heard of one until 1965, in Santa Barbara. And as I said before Jack Griffith was more interested in making cash and selling the Series 200, and didn’t have the financial support of the Ford Motor Company and Holman and Moody Engineering firm who did the engineering work to get the AC Bristol which handled poorly with the Ford V/8, the 260 cubic inch engine and the original suspension and refined the AC Bristol to become a much better handling AC Shelby Cobra.

      Cobra and Corvettes drivers hated the Griffiths for they were lighter than the Cobra and were just super fast. Ken Miles and Dave McDonald, may they rest in peace, experience their biggest nightmare when Tom Lynch at Santa Barbara left them in the dust until the 8th lap. The Griffith 200 pulled further away from their factory prepared Cobras until the Griffith hit some rocks which were scattered by, I believe, a B production car. Since the Griffith 200 was in front it hit the rocks first and DNF’d.

      No one ever interviewed them as to how they felt as they could not gain on the Griffith of Tom Lynch an independent mechanical engineer. I tried to get information from the SCCA regarding the Griffith and the Cobras at the 1965 races to no avail.

      To date there is a dearth of information on Griffith sacking Cobras, Corvettes, Porsche 904 GTS’s, super light E-Jaguars,etc.

      My best,
      Chuck Pineda in California

      Like 1
  15. Slotblog

    I drove the late Chuck Gutke’s TVR for about ten laps at the first Walter Mitty at Road Atlanta in 1978(?). Le Mans cammed 289 with a Pete Jackson gear drive, so it made a lot of noise that didn’t all come from the exhaust.

    Was it hot inside? Yes. Was it twitchy? Yes. Was it fast? Yes. I didn’t push it (too young and not that dumb) but it was great fun.

    Unfortunately, the car had wire wheels fitted and the centers started to loosen so it had to be parked. I would have done more laps in it otherwise…

  16. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    There is no way this car is worth that money!

    Familiar with these and it’s an understatement to say that one or two 4 cylinder cars have had a V8 upgrade.

    • Brakeservo

      I disagree, have you seen what the last two sold for on BringaTrailer??
      Verified comparables, the lifeblood of any meaningful appraisal.

      • Ross W. Lovell

        Greetings All,

        brakeservo, I’m taking about the $150K reserve, seems a little high.

  17. Slotblog

    You mean like a Sunbeam ‘Alger’? LOL…

  18. Brian S

    Same car was on Ebay in November 2015. Bidding went to around $104K and didn’t meet reserve. It looks like it has been cleaned up a little since then. Not worth the estimated $150K when 2 have sold on BAT within the last year for $135K and $147K. One a rare pre-production car and the other a winning restoration. Mike Mooneys book is a great read about an interesting car during exciting times.

    • Brakeservo

      Add the buyers commission for the full story on what was paid. We do want ro deal with real world dollars after all. Remember the restored car had all sorts of wrong parts, from the steering wheel to the V.I.N. tag.

      • chrarles

        Brakeservo: You are absolutely correct. Mr. Griffith cars as indicated in the British financial Times about 7 to 10 year ago will be worth a small fortune, especially the Series 400 of which only 59 were MADE FOR THE ENTIRE WORLD!
        Sheiks in the Middle East who have billions will have their buyers buy up all the Series 400 for millions as $147/150 thousand is chump change for them. If a person is a billionaire he will pay what ever the seller wants. That the way it has always been. We, ordinary folks, don’t have the financial resources to buy items that cost hundreds of thousands or millions, but the super rich have no problems paying big money for what they want!
        My best,
        Chuck Pineda of California

  19. Brakeservo

    You show a white Griffith under related finds – I believe it’s the same seller of this orange one. He knows what he’s got and what it’s worth.

    • Whobertiii

      Brakeservo, you seem to know your Griffiths. Can you contact me, I have a few questions.
      Opie1@zoominternet.net

  20. gary martin

    a friend of mine in England had a 2500cc version(triumph)when he pulled onto my drive the suspension collapsed with trunnion failure.The day before he was doing 120mph down a bypass road(illegally i must say)what a pain it was to get it onto a floor jack to get it up to the garage had a good look at it and found it used triumph herald front suspension we repaired it and got it sold he was one hell of a lucky guy,also it always smelt of gas and it was like pressure cooker on a hot day not my cup of tea he ended up buying a tiger!!! more stories with that onee

  21. Martin Horrocks

    Good point above that it´s the torque, rather than the power which catches you out. Even late TVRs were crashed a lot, 2nd gear roundabout exits or country road corners, often in damp conditions = sudden rear end break away….

    Apart from basic instability of the design parameters, the Griffith used to break halfshafts and wire wheels under racing loads. Properly sorted vintage racers now run with most problems solved, and are very fast. But you still need more than average talent behind the wheel and they tend to overtake on the straights.

    The rarity and competitiveness of the Griffith mean that prices are high. The originality and history of this car put a premium on top of that.

    • chrarles

      Martin: When you have time take a look at the U-tube video of the 2017, Graham Hill trophy, 75MM, Full Race, of the 60’s GT’s, which will totally support your statement regarding problems.

      My wife and I really enjoyed the race,especially the outcome. The crowds were on their feet watching the unbelievable scene of Shelby’s AC Cobras being beaten by the TVR Griffith 400.

      My best,
      Charles Pineda, Jr. of California

  22. jimbosidecar

    I was just out of high school and a garage down the road from me had one (black) for sale. He wanted $1800. I had about $1500 and he wouldn’t budge on the price. So I never ended up killing myself in one.

  23. Richard

    Had one – don’t ever want another. Buyer will probably resell it after driving it for a week, if that long. The money is just silly.

    • chrarles

      Richard: was it one of the Series 200 or the rare 400?
      My best,
      Charles Pineda, Jr. in California

  24. Mike

    Even on dry streets these can be a handful. Wet and I hope you are good at opposite lock cornering.

    • chrarles

      Mike: I drove my heavy duty Griffith 400 in the worst storm of the season in Southern California. Had no problems whatsoever. I made the trip from Los Angeles to Sacramento. Wipers worked well, however, the car sits so low that when passing the big rigs all I could see was their rims and tires.

      Dropped the car to third gear and the big rigs were out of sight. I run 205/VR 70X15’s, which is a very difficult tire to fine now days.
      Again, driving from Michigan to California in 1966, was a blast! I find my car and the seats extremely comfortable.

      Glad to know of your interest in super fast sports cars.

      My best,
      Chuck Pineda

    • chrarles

      Mike: One needs to use one’s brains to handle any A Production automobile, but when driving a Series 400 one has to fully understand that it is a race car built for the streets and be careful.

      See how Mike Whitacre and Mike Jordan handle their Series 400 on U-tube at the recent 2017, Graham Hill Trophy, 75MM, Full Race, 60’s GT’s. When you see the Griffith 400 beat all the Shelby Cobras, E-Jaguars, Ferrari’s,etc. you’ll have a healthy attitude of the power of the 400.

      One has to give credit to Grantur Engineering of England for developing the unequal suspension for the Griffith 400 (A La formula one) and Mark Donohue who worked to make the Series 400 a most competitive race car. He believed it was faster than the Cobra. And he raced Jack Griffith’s Shelby AC Cobra and won several races. He, fully, understood the potential of the lighter car, but with the same 289 Ford V/8 also in the Cobra.

      Read my experience in the worst storm of the season in Los Angeles in my Griffith 400 and having absolutely no problems. Maybe the Lord takes a special interest in all of us who drive superfast cars and are still alive.

      My best,
      Charles Pineda, Jr.

      Like 1
  25. tvr

    Does anyone know of any griffiths or tuscans in canada?

  26. JMB#7

    I think these are great, would love to have one, but not at that price. A friend of my brother had one of these in Idaho. It held the Freezeout Hillclimb record at Emmett Idaho for several years. (’65 Griffith 200, 271-hp Ford 289, Konis, alloy wheels, tube headers etc and most of a Corvette rear end). And yes it was very warm in the passengers compartment.

  27. Wayne

    Looking for a reasonably project Griffith TVR 200/400…any leads greatly appreciated!

  28. Jason R

    My friend owned this car and another 400 for years. I am glad to see it running again. I have a picture of this car being unloaded off a plane when he bought it. I was sad when he sold this car, I helped load it on the trailer. He was having health issues and sold both his Griffiths. In retrospect I would have bought it if I had known that it would bring this kind of money.

    • Brakeservo

      Well, given the number of times it’s been re-listed on eBay, it hasn’t brought “that kind of money” yet. But eBay may be the wrong venue for it.

  29. Jason R

    Here is the picture of it being unloaded off the plane in 1979. He owned it from 1979-2000

    Like 1
  30. Prof deuce

    Hot, fast, lightweight (2150 lb with roll cage) and rough riding. You learn early on not to hook your thumbs around the aluminum parts of the steering wheel in case of “kickback”. Under very hard acceleration my griffith 400 wants to pivot on itself. With skill and quick reflexes you can use power induced oversteer to your advantage. With the 3:07 gears, 125 mph cruising is effortless. Most of the time you could stay in 1st gear (good for 70). With 3:77 gears top speed drops to 140, but makes autocrossing more fun. I have been the owner of #55 of 59 since 1983.

    • chrarles

      I bought mine from a Ford dealership in Lavonia, Michigan in April of 1966, I think.When the Griffith car company send me the leaflet with a picture of the 400 it was love at first sight. She looked beatiful, gorgeous,and everything was real! No fake louvers etc.
      I drove her to California and will always remember the power of that Hi-P0, 289 Ford V/8. In Nevada I did cruise for a short time at 125 plus as there was no speed limit.
      My best,
      Chuck Pineda in California

  31. Ted

    Came back to read this after recently being offered a TVR through a friend in Palm Springs. Great comments other than Charles Pineda repeating himself thoughout. Yeah, we get it. Go to YouTube………….

  32. Charles Pineda, Jr.

    Ted: After the beating of the twelve cylinder Ferrari’s, AC Cobras, E-Jaguars, etc. at the 2017, Graham Hill Trophy race 75MM, all the big money collectors are looking for TVR Griffith 400’s,and so am I.

    I couldn’t believe that our Ferrari,#111, in the above race and who won the 2016 race could not compete with Pierro red Cobra, Andy Wolfs black AC Cobra, and the TVR Griffith 400 driven by Mike Whitacre and Mike Jordan who did a job on all the field.

    As a retired Parole Board Judge and always seeking fundamental fairness the Griffith received little to no publicity on the tremendous and historical win. Not many people know about the engineering components of the Griffith 400 and, therefore, it seems as if the Cobras and Ferrari’s get all the attention in the car media.

    In conclusion, I just try to direct people to the above race to see a sports car that can, if prepare correctly, put the reigning cars mentioned above to shame. Now isn’t that looking for justice from the media?

    Like 1
  33. stephen george

    Just a couple of comments on Griffith 400 shown. I was the original owner, raced it ’til about 1968 at New England Dragway, but held onto it until about 1977-78 or so. Sold it to a guy in western MA., who in turn sold it to the Oregon owner, who had contacted me upon buying it w/ a few questions on it’s past history. Somewhere I have a picture of the car coming out of the plane on a large pallet.

    The “Mustang Orange” paint came about because of some blems in the factory light blue. The supervisor at the body shop the dealer sent it to was a friend, and I asked that he open the bubble in the hood to the scoop that is still intact. I planned on racing it from the moment I bought it, and wanted the additional hp from the cool air intake.

    The Hurst shifter handle position resulted from the fact that the stock “factory” linkage was useless for drag racing, and, the cutout in the console was the only way the shifter could be positioned to give the driver access.

    The rear end is a Salisbury, compared to some of the 200 series rear ends, which were BMC type units. The Salisbury units had tubular half shafts, considerably stronger than the solid shafts on the series 200 units (according to most gear train experts?). If the set up has not been changed, the gears are 5:38s, vs the 3:08s(?) that were original.

    The cylinder heads were done by Mondello in CA., the camshaft was an Engle Roller cam, supposedly matched to the original small block Cobra specs, and the pistons were .010 over 12.5 : 1 domes.

    There were also 2 threaded rod brackets that went from the floor thru the roof/& external stainless steel plate to keep the roof from lifting away from the windshield at the 120 mph speeds found at the end of the 1/4 mile.Those appear to have been removed and the holes in the roof patched.

    The best ET and mph for the car in the 1/4 were 12.06 at 119 mph (back in 1967/68).

    The hydraulic cylinder/linkage for the clutch also has a bolt position to keep the clutch pedal from returning all the way to the top (beginning) position, as would sometimes tend to bleed down, giving you no clutch disengagement when attempting to shift!

    The exhaust headers were made by Tubular Automotive in Weymouth MA. for another Griffith, a series 200 model. He and I swapped exhaust systems, as he was selling his car to build a roadster.

    The holes in the rear quarters were indeed made by the slicks when leaving the starting line. All of the suspension is original, and the car was registered & driven very briefly on the street, probably no more than several hundred miles. The only “road course” that the car ever saw was a “gymkhana” held in a large parking lot at Salisbury Beach, MA.

  34. Charles Pineda, Jr.

    I own a 1966, TVR Griffith 400 and bought it new in 1966 in Lavonia, Michigan and it came with a 3.07 Salisbury differential. The 3.08 was exceptionally close.

    I have tried to find a video of your car at the drag races looking at Hot Rod and drag racing to no avail.

    Thanks for giving the Griffith 400 family a treat on the history of your Griffith 400.

  35. stephen george

    No Jason, the picture I have is a side view of the car, coming out what looks like the rear of the plane (if my memory serves me correctly!!!) I’l try to see if i can find it and figure how to post it here….

    Charles, I have a couple of starting line pictures, but couldn’t seem to post them here. Is there anyway of attaching it to the post as some of the other folks have done??
    Steve

  36. Charles Pineda, Jr.

    Stephen: Can’t answer that question, but I did try to find it.

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