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TVR Griffith 500

GRAN TURISMO CAR REVIEWS

griffith_500.jpg

SPEX
Year: 1997-2001

 Country: England

Class: Sports Car

Type: Roadster 

 Host: GT1, 2, 3, &

Price: $62,410 (GT2)

Length: 163.2" // Width: 67.7" // Height: 47.4"
Wheelbase: 90.0"
Overhang: @5' 3"
Track: 57.6" [F] 57.9" [R]
Ground Clear: 5.7"
Weight: 2,336 pounds
Layout: Front Engine / Rear Drive
Tires: 205/55ZR-15 [F[ 245/45ZR-16 [R]
Suspension: Double Wishbone / Dual Coils / ARB
Brakes: Vented Discs


Engine: 5.0 liter DOHC V8
Aspiration: Normal
Fuel System: ?
Valves / Cyl: 2
Bore x Stroke: 3.70 x 3.54"
Compression: 10.0:1

Horsepower: 343 @ 5,500 rpm
Torque: ````
351 @ 4,000 rpm

Credits / HP: $181.95
Pounds per HP: 6.81
Hp per Liter: 68.8

Redline: 7,500 // RPM Lmt: 8,000

Transmission: 5-Speed Manual

0-60 mph: 5.539 seconds
0-100mph: 11.114 seconds

400 M: 13.309 @ 113 mph
1 KM:
23.892 @ 149 mph

Test Track: 1:30.433

Top Speed at Redline
1st: 55 mph
2nd: 82 mph
3rd: 120 mph
4th: 159 mph
5th: 188.48 @ 6,400 rpms
 


 

---------------------EXTERIOR-------------------------

Now here's a car for the sensual side in all of us!

Most psychiatrists would agree that what we drive says alot about who we are, but you don't need a PhD here to see where they're coming from. Most people in my town, for instance, drive ...well...boring cars. PRACTICAL cars, yet boring cars. They live boring lives...they constantly need to be in the same place at the same time day after day. They surround themselves with other people who ALSO live boring lives; and all these boring people depend on each other to be on time for their jobs, their appointments, their lunch meetings at Sizzler. Trust me...remove the iPods, the Blockbuster Nite! rentals, the Match.com dates--what you have left is a very BORING existence!!

 
To make it to all these daily arenas, they must often depend on their transportation. That is why so many people drive Camrys, Accords, Tauruses as well as the latest trend: “crossover sport-SUVs” (yikes), and it is also why hot rods are somewhat rare in comparison. Hot rods are unnecessary cars.

 
Nobody NEEDS a hot rod. Hot rods go fast, they make lots of noise, they generally get weaker mileage and spend more time getting tweaks than your average Sentra. The more power you need...the more time you'll need to have someone else getting it to work right--assuming you can't do fix it and tweak it up yourself. ...In the long run, you simply CANNOT rely on a hot rod the same way you'd rely on a boring governement-approved vehicle unless you're a mechanic! Which leads to this review.
Nobody needs a Griffith, even in the world of Gran Turismo! Think about it. The Griffith is simply.... unreliable as a winner.

It is tempermental, it likes to get sideways, it seems to have a preference toward donuts, it requires lots of skill and (at times) the patience of a zenmaster. To depend on one in a race is to declare yourself a true risk-taker; thus some psychiatrist somewhere wants you so he or she can make a bit of money trying to “reform your addiction to pain”. There are always other cars that can and WILL take the checkered flag--with less drama, less work, and more reliability.

---Which is exactly why I'd rather attempt the GT2 World Cup in my sweet TVR Griffith 500!

...
For I know the lack of sophistication being employed in my 500 means my wins depend mostly on ME...my thumbs, and my ability to countersteer to correct those constant near-disasters! Check it. The Griffith 500 (or any Griffith, for that matter) CAN win races; it certainly has the power to do so, but will also soup your pusle rate to methamphetamine levels in the process! It is one of the most extreme sports cars GT has to offer. So let's get behind the wheel. Get ready. 
 
vamp games

 

-----------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN-------------------

It sucks that most of us will never (in real life) drive a fast 2-seater like a TVR or Cobra. Some folks of course hate the idea of being in a car that messes their hair up, introduces atmospheric dust into their regular nasal diet, and makes so much noise ears will ring for at least a day after you drive one--and these polyannas would rather cruise in their 2 and a half ton Denalis and Expeditions with the A/C on full blast. But it's fair to say a good portion of us gamers would at least like a spin in a roadster, is it not?

But.... we can't afford a 2nd or 3rd car...one which ultimately has less storage space than a Yugo, costs a bundle, and won't ever likely tow more than a string of cans
(I got married everyone!)

Me? I love cars that I can become one with. You “feel the road” in these cars, every curve and bump...even the way the gearbox whines right below your arm..electrifies your nervous system. And beside you no doubt is a foxy sexy honey who as it turns out is ALSO unreliable in the long run (unless you're gay, not that there's anything wrong with that). Unfortunately, I don't have the money yet for my Miata. TVR? Even if I had the money for a Griffith...good luck trying to locate one since TVR went ass up not long ago.

But let's reassess. In Gran Turismo, there are always ways to substitute driving a TVR. Like sit in your armchair, place a huge fan in front of you. Now put it on full blast. While you're racing your Griffith 500 in the True Sports Car series wearing aviator glasses, Rita (your inflatable doll) leans beside you. Hey, I'm being realistic here! How many chicks wanna share the “classic roadster” experience.... as you
‘pretend’ to race.......in your dingy, smelly basement...which has a spore count that would make your local HAZMAT-certified refurbisher smile!?!!?? HUh????

Hey I was just kidding. ;) Yeah, like I REALLY sit in my basement with a fan and a frickin' blow-up doll. Sheesh.

Horsepower and torque. It is obvious that TVR makes a habit of packing their machines with plenty of both, and offers only natural power in true sports-car fashion. No turbos. But that's not all. These 5-liter small block engines are born with an Integra-like 7,500 rpm redline and have no problem peeling off the revs till the limit is met, like butter on a hot plate. Torque in a stock Griffith V8 can be relied on at almost any time and the torque curve itself only improves with upgrades. In some races, I've even stomped 4th gear when I shoulda been in 3rd! Doesn't matter...the OHV engine will accept. You will go faster no matter what gear you're in, basically.

TVR often allows as many upgrades on the aftermarket for their Rover-powered V8's as Gran Turismo will allow (in effect, 3 NA tunes). It is possible to take the Griffith all the way. At the most, the Griffith 500 can be packed with 572
hp @ 7,500 rpms and 460 ft-lbs. @ 6,100 rpms in GT2 (the Blackpool has slightly more) which seems lame in comparison to the 600 to 1,000+ hp other cars wind up carrying, but the Griffith's 2,083 pound race-kit in this game and GT1 gives it an edge. In later games, the Griffith seems to be having several birthdays, and more power + torque are the presents PD has given us.

But forget all that. In the hands of the inexperienced, all this power is useless. In fact, in a Griffith, your brakes will be your key to success. Learn, study, and utilize proper brakes, countersteer, and suspension / lsd settings BEFORE you begin to rely on power
 
*half the audience leaves to take residence at the Escudo seminar down the hall*

Ah...now that the true drivers are left...

 
----------------CHASSIS / HANDLING-------------------

Here, you have few options once you really get some speed going, which like I said gathers up quickly. It's either drive or be driven in a Griffith, more so than in a Cerbera or lower-powered Chimera. If you mess up your cornering path, the Griffith will NOT be kind; instead, it seems to mock us. “Yeah bloke, you think you can 'andle ME?” it chimes “Think again, mate!”

Driving a Griffith 500, Blackpool, or Speed Six is like walking on a tightrope with gravity as your safety net. You will notice that these autos understeer, but only because it's so easy to tap the throttle early out of turns, and actual understeer is perhaps just 10% of your worries when compared to throttle-driven oversteer that can (and will) wreck you!

Think of it this way: remember when you were a kid and mom (or mum) told you not to touch the cookie jar till after dinner? Well the GAS PEDAL is now the cookie jar and ‘AFTER DINNER’ is the straight portion after the corner!

Countersteer or sometimes pre-countersteer are skills to combat lost positions. At times, you'll need to crank your steering in the opposite direction a fraction of a second BEFORE you hit the gas to avoid the obvious. That right there is a huge hint for you TVR newbs.

Being a mechanic / race-car tuner is just as essential as being a driver in a Griffith. If you can't tune this machine to your liking, don't even bother to drive one. Being kind to a Griffith means treating its power with respect. Once you learn how to drive one, you'll notice long periods of time in some corners in which you are doing nothing but ....gripping the steering wheel for all it's worth! During these times (which can feel like eons) you can't hammer the gas--you can't even barely TOUCH it lest you wind up in the grass or in a jack-knife worthy of one of those ESPN SpeedVision replays-> you know...the replays they show OVER and OVER again. The sportscasters often make witty little comments like

“Oh...got a spin. Looks like some debris on the track...” but what they're really saying is “Oh what a fuckup!! And I get to announce it! Yessss!”
 

PROS

1). Not a bad price for all the performance you get...assuming you've got the skillz to control it, that is.

2). Gearbox nice and tall--rarely will you need it all.

3). You can have your Griffith delivered in more colors than a pack of Lifesaver candies. Crimson starburst is my fave! This week.

4). You paid for lots of power, and you get it. This is no wimpy, torqueless Miata. In all cases, NA tunes make sure your Griffith career will last. In some intermediate races, you won't even need a Stage 1 tune at all.

5). Race Kit available in GT1 & 2. And it looks pretty! TVR Griffiths are available in many colors, too from the dealer.  


CONS------------------------------------------

1). The suspension. Tune it soft, it'll feel like you're driving a bowl of Yorkshire pudding. Stiffen it, and the Griffith handles bumps and curves with the grace of an unruly, spooked Stallion. Even good drivers will never fully tame the Griffith 500.

2). You would think that this car's light weight would be a plus--and in the hands of an experienced driver it is...but for the other 90% of GTers...

3). Loads of torque get sent to the rear-wheels which is great if you know how to countersteer when the Griffith is having fun trying to get sideways. Unless you're on a mirror-smooth straight, treat the throttle like you would help an old lady cross the street!

4). Aerodynamics of the race-kit help (GT1 & 2 only)...but that's just it...they only assist, they do not SOLVE. You'll need to do the rest.

5). GT1's 500 sounds like it has a six under the hood instead of a V8.
 

Published: May 26, 2006

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