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MartinW
01-07-2007, 07:40 PM
http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/06/07/the-forgotten-90s-classic/

June 7, 2007, 1:55 pm
The Forgotten ’90s Classic (http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/06/07/the-forgotten-90s-classic/)

By Richard S. Chang (http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/author/rchang/)
Tags: britain (http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/britain), griffith (http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/griffith), peter wheeler (http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/peter-wheeler), tvr (http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/tvr)
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/06/07/automobiles/533-griffith.jpgTVR Griffith (Courtesy of James Crockett)
Reading the Rob Sass article on TVR (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/03/automobiles/collectibles/03TVR.html) last weekend, I was sad to see it end with TVR’s 1987 departure from America, which meant no mention of the Peter Wheeler-era Griffith, possibly the most important TVR of my lifetime.
But before we get to the Griffith, we need to talk about Giles Cooper, who until recently owned the TVR Centre on the outskirts of London and sold more TVRs than anyone else in the world. Mr. Cooper had such a close relationship to Mr. Wheeler, who ran TVR from 1981 to 2004, that his critiques affected the design of every car. I spoke to him a few times while I was working on an article on the revival of Marcos Cars two years ago and found him to be one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met. And it was inside the TVR Centre that I learned the importance of the Griffith.
I think you can still find the TVR Centre next to a nursery in a suburban neighborhood of large houses. I remember walking past BMWs, Porsches, and Mercedes-Benzes parked in the driveways. I walked more than 30 minutes from the High Barnet tube station, and I did not see a single TVR.
“It was a lot easier to sell TVRs 25 years ago than it is today,” Mr. Cooper said when I arrived. “One of the main reasons is that there’s so much more competition.”
He was at the copy machine, which wasn’t cooperating. I saw a stack of accordioned paper and Mr. Cooper’s gaunt face befuddled by another reject on the way.
Mr. Cooper was in his mid-60s. He had feathered white hair and wore dark jeans, and my first impression was: British Invasion rock star. (In fact, he was dating a 24-year-old at the time.) Over the course of several interviews, I found him very smart, well-spoken, and very serious about the things he’s passionate about: the 500 year-old-house he was renovating, racing, and British cars. After a few more stabs at the copy button, he handed me four pages from a big book on the history of TVR.
Inside his cluttered office, he revisited those pages. “When they brought the Griffith out — this car,” he said, putting his finger on a picture from the 1990 London Motor Show. “And the world — I mean, look at it — absolutely beautiful. The world went mad for that car. What happened was that all the major manufacturers looked at TVR and said, ‘Well, if they can do it, we can do it.’ And they followed what TVR had done. Of course, when the major manufacturers do it, the independents have got no chance.”
His voice turned softer as he turned the pages: “It’s such a gorgeous car. It won design council awards for interior. It was a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.”
He paused long enough for a sigh. Earlier we had talked a little about his first years selling TVRs — some about the Martin Lilley era, but mostly about the beginning of the Wheeler era — when there was little competition. “You could actually sell something that today wouldn’t stand a hope of selling,” he said, reflecting on globalization. We also spoke about patriotism and the trend of buying foreign over British cars, an argument that’s familiar to Americans.
“In the last 25 years there’s been a big culture change in the U.K.,” he said.
I remember looking at the Griffith’s sculpted interior — a wild departure for the time — and thinking he had a strong case. “I can remember this motor show,” he said. “Everybody was going bananas. It was unbelievable. They set the world on fire for so many years and with a great team of people, great enthusiasm.”
The Griffith was a departure from the wedge-shaped TVRs that preceded it. It swooped and curved instead of slicing against the wind, a look that’s been exaggerated over time with each succeeding TVR, so much so that the latest, the Sagaris, has nowhere to go but over the top. The TVR S Series of the ’80s, the first cars under Wheeler’s ownership, were an important step in that direction. The Griffith was the fully formed idea. It was the first example of the TVR that we know today. Mr. Cooper took 130 orders from the floor of the 1990 show.
“The whole team at TVR — it became special as a result of this car,” he said. “They could finally see that they really got something that the world wanted. And they had a very good band of engineers and designers, and Peter Wheeler at the top led them with inspiration. They realized they could sell a lot of cars. And the world suddenly accepted them as a serious carmaker.”

SIII
20-02-2010, 05:01 PM
Now thats a nice looking TVR :)

ChimearaMatt
23-11-2010, 01:39 PM
Same colour as mine, except mine is quite scratched from bikes going past it and pedals hitting the sides , and me driving into the toolbox =P

MYCaptainChris
23-11-2010, 03:28 PM
Matt, you need to be more careful!!! lol

Certainly not a forgotten car in my mind. I remember when they came out, and I loved it so much, from that day, I WANTED A TVR.

Mendy404
27-06-2011, 07:42 AM
Wow like the color dude. It is a fantastic old classic.:thumbs2:

Excel620
30-08-2011, 09:04 PM
I often ponder over one of these to replace my Excel