Following several off-and-on rumours, TVR fired back up in 2017 with the all-new V8-engined Griffith. It’s a stunning coupé design that, despite the marque’s limited penetration on our shores to date, now gives TVR a South African connection thanks to its designer: one Gordon Murray. And if you’re familiar with the marque’s history you’ll know that the Griffith name is synonymous in TVR lore with epic performance. But to understand that, and the background to this marque that commands so much affection over in Blighty, a little history lesson is in order.
Seven and a bit decades ago, post-war England was ravaged with austerity measures that lent a ‘make do and mend’ mentality to the automotive industry. While big players such as Austin and Jaguar followed the ‘export or die’ mantra to secure access to materials, small-time entrepreneurs keen on building something to blow the doors off their mate’s MG turned to their garages (or even kitchen tables) to cobble together their own cars based on proprietary mechanical parts but with their own bespoke chassis and bodywork.
It was an era of rich entrepreneurial spirit that saw some talented individuals develop fantastic, race-tested machinery. Individuals such as Colin Chapman, who spent the early 1950s creating Lotus, and Jem Marsh and the Walklett Brothers with their respective Marcos and Ginetta models. And, of course, one Trevor Wilkinson, a 24-year-old engineer from Blackpool who started up Trevcar Engineering from an old wheelwright’s workshop back in ʼ46.
He soon applied his skills to cars, cutting down an Alvis to create a special to which he applied those three letters from his name. That was in ʼ47. Two years on he got going with his own chassis design to create his first complete car for racing. It was based around a Ford side-valve engine. A few others followed until he discovered the production benefits of using glassfibre in the mid-ʼ50s.