Collecting Cars

RESERVE LOWERED: 1994 TVR GRIFFITH 500

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Auction Ended
2020-07-03 19:51:45

Finished in Raspberry Pearl with a dark blue leather interior, this 1994 TVR Griffith 500 is a brutish British sports car with superb provenance. Under the bonnet is a 5.0-litre V8 producing around 340bhp, driving the rear wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. It has benefitted from much recent expenditure by the seller, and has covered 111,426 miles from new.

L118 BFV was one of the two original TVR press cars for the Griffith 500 – alongside the blue car registered L110 BFV (which was used as the development car)  – and was owned by the factory for four years before being sold to a private owner. During its life with TVR, when not used by the PR department, it was run by Peter Wheeler’s personal assistant, Dorothy Cureton.

Its publicity work in period included a number of appearances in television programmes including ‘Lovejoy’, ‘Pie in the Sky’, and ‘The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous’. It was also featured in numerous magazine articles.

The car has been owned by the seller for around six months, and has had four previous owners. During this time the car has barely been driven, as the seller has spent considerable time and money refurbishing the car, investing more than £12,000 to complete the restoration.

As part of this programme of work, the car has been fully resprayed in its eye-catching original hue of Raspberry Pearl, and as such the paint is in superb condition with a deep and glossy finish. Paint-matching software was used to achieve an accurate mix of the original hue. The alloy wheels were fully refurbished at the same time and fitted with brand new Toyo tyres to the correct specification, made specifically for TVR and marked accordingly.

Moving inside, the dark blue leather seats have been refurbished and re-connolised, though there are some nicks and wear marks around the dashboard panel and on the transmission tunnel. In general though, the upholstery presents smartly throughout. A new aluminium dashboard inlay has been fitted, as have new seatbelts, and the car been completely re-carpeted. New seals have been fitted to the doors and Targa frame, though the black soft top does have some age-related wear.

While a substantial sum has been spent by the current owner, it was the previous keeper who undertook the chassis restoration. The body and engine were removed, and the outriggers were replaced – as shown in the photos within the gallery. The chassis was then sanded down and repainted with silver POR-15 protective seal paint. When the engine was reunited with the chassis, it was fitted with ACT Performance coolant pipes and silicone hoses. The seller has also recently had a new fuse box fitted, along with a new distributor and ignition leads, and has had the radio wiring updated to current ISO specification and with new speakers fitted.

The most recent scheduled maintenance was in May 2020, carried out by independent specialist JH Pearce & Co., which carried out an oil and filter service, renewed the coolant service, and replaced the sump gasket. After more than 10 years off the road, this Griffith 500 was put through an MOT test on 8 June 2020 at 111,426 miles, which resulted in a first-time pass with no advisories whatsoever.

As the car has been off the road it has had its recommissioning and will need to have a proper shakedown once a few miles have been put under its belt. The seller has completed approximately 100 trouble-free miles but is aware of a couple of minor jobs still to be attended to. The vents on the dashboard are not currently connected to the heating system, but both fans and heaters work within the car, and the other vents are sorted. There is a new remote control alarm fob recently supplied with the car, but it is believed this will need to be recoded to allow the remote central locking to work. The passenger-side door mirror is also currently not working.

The seller notes that the fuel gauge is currently not working correctly, but has had an electrician inspect the car who has confirmed that the sender and the wiring are fine. ETB Instruments, manufacturer of the gauge, has stated that it can be refurbished for around £35, which may solve the problem – however they cannot accommodate the work for another six weeks. There is also an intermittent fault with the speedometer. On this issue, the gauge itself has been found to be functional, so it is believed that a faulty sender on the differential is to blame.

The history file for the car provides a comprehensive record of the mileage accumulation from new, a summary of which can be found below. The seller notes there are at least 30 invoices with the car – 20 of which are from TVR specialist Hexham Horseless Carriages – and the car also has its original stamped service book as shown in the photo gallery.

Reflecting on the TVR Griffith 500 in Autocar magazine in recent years, journalist Andrew Frankel called it “the car that best captures all that we’ve always wanted TVRs to be” – and this particular car is one of the most historically significant examples. This is an unmissable opportunity to acquire one of the most beloved British sports cars, a true cult classic, presented in wonderful condition following extensive recent work.

Summary of service history:

  • May 1994 - 45 miles - TVR Engineering (TVR Factory)
  • Jun 1994 - 1,145 miles - TVR Engineering
  • Aug 1994 - 6,230 miles - TVR Engineering
  • Oct 1994 - 12,243 miles - TVR Engineering
  • Dec 1994 - 16,156 miles - TVR Engineering
  • Mar 1995 - 21,339 miles - TVR Engineering
  • Nov 1995 - 32,773 miles - TVR Engineering
  • Jan 1996 - 36,298 miles - TVR Engineering
  • Apr 1996 - 42,150 miles - TVR Engineering
  • Jun 1996 - 48,000 miles - TVR Engineering
  • Nov 1996 - 53,496 miles - TVR Engineering
  • May 1997 - 62,328 miles - TVR Engineering
  • Oct 1997 - 66,019 miles - TVR Engineering
  • Jul 1998 - 71,179 miles - Hexham Horseless Carriages
  • Nov 1998 - 78,670 miles - Hexham Horseless Carriages
  • Mar 1999 - 84,05 miles- Hexham Horseless Carriages
  • Jun 1999 - 90,124 miles - Hexham Horseless Carriages
  • Nov 1999 - 96,745 miles - Hexham Horseless Carriages
  • May 2000 - 102,855 miles - Hexham Horseless Carriages
  • Nov 2005 - 110,242 miles - The Sports and Specialist Car Co.
  • Mar 2007 - Front and rear brake discs and pads, braided hoses fitted
  • Jul 2007 - Dreadnought Garage - New spark plugs, leads, valley gaskets, camshaft, hydraulic lifters, rocker cover gaskets, antifreeze and service
  • Feb 2020 - 111,254 miles - JH Pearce & Co. - Oil service, fuel filter
  • May 2020 - 111,256 miles - JH Pearce & Co. - Coolant service, sump gasket and oil change

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