Will the new TVR Griffith ever hit the road? New 'R&D centre' to open amid launch plan doubts
TVR loses option to build Griffith in Wales, but it is opening a brand centre at Thruxton.
TVR’s plans to produce its brand new Griffith sports car are stuttering to a slow, painful halt. Six years on from its debut, the V8-engined two-seater is still yet to hit the road, and the project has now suffered another blow, with TVR loosing the exclusive rights to the Ebbw Vale factory where the Griffith was to be built.
The news was first reported by the South Wales Argus, which explained TVR’s exclusive rights to rent the building have expired. The Welsh Government, which owns a 3% stake in TVR after it provided a £2 million loan, will now offer the facility to rent on the open market, and while this doesn’t completely rule out TVR still moving in, the chances of it doing so are becoming slimmer by the day.
Ellie Fry, the region’s corporate director for regeneration and community services, said: ‘We’ve had a number of enquiries over the past six months for a building of that size – we will be definitely looking at all those enquiries.’
TVR’s rebirth has been led by Les Edgar, who took charge of the brand in 2013. The Griffith was unveiled four years later as a Porsche 911 and Aston Martin Vantage rival, underpinned by Gordon Murray’s innovative iStream chassis construction and powered by a suitably old-school 5-litre Ford V8. The Griffith looked promising on paper, with a projected 200mph+ top speed and sub-1250kg target weight comparing favourably against its peers: if TVR could secure enough funding to build it.
The Welsh Government bought the Ebbw Vale facility back in 2017, and following refurbishment the plan was to hand the keys to TVR who would install GMA's iStream production technology to build the Griffith. Unfortunately, that refurbishment became a strip-down rebuild, stalling the project and making it less attractive to TVR’s potential investors. Work on the facility began in 2020, but following this latest announcement there are no signs that TVR will move in and start building Griffiths anytime soon.
There is also a question mark over TVR being able to use Gordon Murray's iStream technology, following the sale of Gordon Murray Technologies earlier this year to the Abu Dhabi investment group CYVN Holdings. In 2023 the specialist mobility investment company also injected $2.2bn into Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio.
Following the news from Wales, TVR issued a statement to announce it is to open a 'European Development and Brand Centre' at Thruxton motoring racing circuit in Hampshire. This new Thruxton facility will replace TVR's current facilities in Surrey, although no time frame has been given for when TVR plan to move in.
The first Griffiths had been scheduled for delivery in the latter half of 2023, but it now seems to be a matter of if – rather than when – the V8 sports car will ever become a reality. In 2022 TVR also announced it was to develop a range of electric car, including a sports car, saloon an SUV, following investment from the lithium mining and production company, Esorcia.