Home | Here are the Reviews | GT2 Racing Guide | GT3 Racing Guide | GT4 Racing Guide | GT5 Racing Guide | GT6 Racing Guide | GT Videos | Links to other GT sites


TVR Griffith 500


Year: 1994-2001

 Country: England

Class: Sports Car

Type: Roadster 

 Host: GT1, 2, 3, & GT5

Price: 62,410 (GT2) 29,576 (GT5)

GT2 Length: 163.2" // Width: 67.7" // Height: 47.4"

GT5 Length: 153.2" // Width: 76.5" // Height: 47.4"
Wheelbase: 90.0"
Overhang: @5' 3" (GT2) // 5' 2.25"
Track: 57.6" [F] 57.9" [R]
Ground Clear: 5.7"
Weight: 2,336 pounds (Both games)
Layout: Front Engine / Rear Drive
Tires: 205/55ZR-15 [F[ 245/45ZR-16 [R]
Suspension: Double Wishbone / Dual Coils / anti-roll bars
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

The GT5 car received full maintenance (oil and engine rebuild) which may have skewed its power a little unfairly above the GT2 car.

GT2 Horsepower: 343 @ 5,500 rpm
GT2 Torque: ````
351 @ 4,000 rpm

GT5 Horsepower: 350 @ 5,500
GT5 Torque: ````
360 @ 4,000

                         GT2             GT5

Credits / HP: 181.95          84.50
Pounds per HP: 6.81           6,67
Hp per Liter: 68.8                70.0

GT2 Redline: 7,500 // RPM Limit: 8,000

GT5 Idle: 1,000 // Rdline: 7,500 // RPM Lmit: 7,750

Transmission: 5-Speed Manual

GT2 0-60 mph: 5.539 seconds
GT2 0-100mph: 11.114 seconds

GT5 0-60 mph: 4.925 seconds
GT5 0-100mph: 10.055 seconds

GT2 400 M: 13.309 @ 113 mph
GT2 1 KM:
23.892 @ 149 mph

GT5 400 M: 13.108 @ 115 mph
GT5 1 KM:
23.068 @ 148 mph

GT5 1 Mile 31.694 @ 162 mph

GT2 Test Track: 1:30.433

GT5 Daytona Lap: 54.197 

GT2 Top Speed at Redline
1st: 55 mph
2nd: 82 mph
3rd: 120 mph
4th: 159 mph
5th: 188.48 @ 6,400 rpms

GT5 Top Speed at Redline
1st: 52.5 mph
2nd: 79.0 mph
3rd: 116.8 mph
4th: 159.5 mph
5th: 187.7 @ 6,450 rpms 




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

Most psychiatrists would agree that what we drive says a lot about who we are, but you don't need a PhD 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 uninteresting 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 are often associated with speed, 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 also need to have someone else getting this power to work right--assuming the driver can't fix and tweak it up him or herself. ...In the long run, we simply CANNOT rely on a hot rod the same way we'd rely on a boring governement-approved vehicle.

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.

Griffiths are temperamental, they like to get sideways, they often seem to have a preference toward donuts, they require lots of skill and (at times) the patience of a Zenmaster. To depend on a TVR Griffith in a race is to declare yourself a risk-taker; thus, some psychiatrist somewhere wants you to come pay a visit to his couch so he 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 easier success.

---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 CAN win races; it certainly has the power to do so. But Griffiths will also soup the driver's pulse rate to methamphetamine levels in the process! - Don't be fooled by its meek and handsome looks; here is one of the most extreme sports cars GT has to offer. So let's get behind the wheel.

The Griffith series includes several models which feature that classic roadster shape: long hood/short deck. Fiberglass body, rather than steel. Weight distribution in GT5 is portrayed as 55/45 by default, which makes this one nose-heavy, and this gets noticed by lots of understeer in some games. Depending on whichever game, Griffiths remain this way until they get properly tuned, and properly shod with softer tires. Heed this: these handsome roadsters are not a good choice for the novice.  

The Griffith 500 was in production from 1990 to 2002, but there were several earlier Griffiths over the years: the Griffith 200 and 400 started things off some time in the mid '60s, for instance. Trevor himself began building sports cars and racers much earlier though, starting way back in 1949, but his involvement ended in 1962. There's lots of info about TVR (the company) here on the 'net, but information is sparse about the Griffith itself, so that I've had trouble looking up how many of these were built and how they originally were priced.

Wikipedia states that just over 2,600 Griffiths have been made over the years, but it doesn't say how many of these were 500s.  

Good thing is, TVRs aren't nearly the priciest in any game they appear in, and their overall cost has fallen drastically over the years. Compare the 62,000 credit car in GT2 to the 29,000 bargain in the 5th game (for a Griffith 500 with just over 60,000 miles). The main problem in GT4 or 5 they can sometimes be hard to find in those used car lots.

The TVR Griffith starts as a middle-lightweight, in GT2 we can drop weight to 2,083 pounds, in and the 5th game this gets cleared even further: 1,986 at the lowest, partially since glass can be replaced.  


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

It sucks that most of us will never (in real life) drive a fast, rare, non-ergonomic 2-seater like a TVR or a Cobra. Some folks of course hate the idea of being in a roadster which 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 being driven--and these pollyannas 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 daring 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 the nervous system, gets those synapses firing like lights in a Vegas slot machine. And beside us in the passenger seat, no doubt, is a foxy sexy honey who as it turns out is ALSO unreliable in the long run (unless the driver is gay, not that there's anything wrong with that). Unfortunately, I don't have the money yet for my Miata, let alone a super-rare firefly from Blackpool.

There were a slew of engine sizes and shapes used for these tumultuous machines, ranging from 4.0 to 5.0 liters, and apparently all of them were Rover powerplants which appeared in other vehicles (Lotuses, Range Rovers, etc.) as well.  

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. Power is mid-rangey, with peaks of torque and HP both occurring well below redline. In any game I've reviewed, these 5-liter small block engines are born with Integra-like 7,500 rpm redlines, but it's best to keep those gear-shifts early, for drivers who prefer manual boxes. Even those who don't, these engines 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...these OHV engines will accept such mistakes with mere shrugs of indifference.

TVR often offers as many upgrades on the aftermarket for their Rover-powered V8s 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 in GT1) gives an edge.

In later games, the Griffith sometimes seems to be having several birthdays, and more power + torque are the presents PD has given us. The only drawback is there are no turbos or superchargers to further enhance this madness.

But forget all that. In the hands of the inexperienced, all this power is useless. In a Griffith 500, the ability to use those brakes to best effect will be our key to success. Learn, study, and utilize proper brakes, countersteer, and suspension / limited-slip settings BEFORE beginning to rely on power, okay folks?  

*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, there are few options once we 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 the driver messes up the cornering path, the Griffith will NOT be kind; instead, it seems to mock us. “Yeah bloke, you think you can 'andle ME?” it taunts. “Think again, mate!”

This is true in GT2 or GT5, the two games I've got driving impressions for in this review. I have definitely raced a 500 in GT4 as well (the picture at the top of this article proves this) but it doesn't look as though there's any words to fill in this section, from the fourth game. Dang.  

Driving a TVR 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!  

Again, this is true for GT2 or GT5. Understeer predominates into turns, even if braking is utilized in such a way that it seems we've slowed enough. Add an extra few meters of stopping distance, and now the Griffith allows some nice nosing-in action. But it still often takes ALL of our steering input to keep this car turning. Comparing a Griffith to a modern Honda S2000 for instance, the latter car always offers some options; cornering like a pro while understeer remains just about nil. Not the Griffith. 

And while leaving turns, there's just no sugar-coating at all. The Griffith has slightly more power than those rear tires can handle. If this were a 300 horsepower car it would allow a lot more leeway than it does. It's that extra 50 which can cause one too many slip-ups on occasion.  

But show some discretion (in or out of turns) and Griffith can work with the driver to greater degree. Softer tires also work wonders at times, although this depends which game. Basically, these roadsters will never be Cerberas. The Griffith is like a smart-mouthed, devilishly-handsome British jock who smokes behind the bleachers when the coach isn't looking, while the Cerbera is more of a refined gentleman, the sort of bloke who gets the job done but without all the extra drama. More competent, while remaining just as fun.      

So in any game, we must show discretion while cornering behind the wheel of a Griffith 500. 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! -- Grab for that treat a little too early is simply not a good idea, lest granny come to swat with her switch!

Countersteer or sometimes pre-countersteer are skills to avoid losing it all in those turns. At times, steering will need to be cranked in the opposite direction a fraction of a second before the gas gets smashed, in an effort to avoid the obvious calamities to come. 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 we learn how to drive one, notice now those 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) we cannot hammer the gas-- can't even barely touch it, lest the car winds 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!”

Summary: Want a classic British machine which straddles the line between the olden days of classic British motoring mixed with a few modern touches from the nineties?  You can have this. Just don't make the mistake of driving or racing a Griffith if the main color of those License test trophies is anything less than silver.  


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

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

3). Griffith can be 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 the Griffith's career will last. Some intermediate races won't demand those extra engine stages at all.

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

6). GT5: the interior seems cramped, but both of the important mirrors (driver side and interior) are almost entirely available. The car also has a nice & clarified horn, as well.

7). Average price for a high-powered sports car in earlier games, and this price has only dropped over the years.    


1). The suspension. Tune it soft, it'll feel like 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 Gran Turismo gamers will never fully tame or tune the Griffith 500.

2). You'd 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 with ease, which is great for those who know how to countersteer when the Griffith is trying its best to kick out sideways. Unless the car's on a mirror-smooth straight and going in a straight line, treat the throttle like you'd 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. It's up to us drivers to handle the rest.

5). GT1's 500 sounds like it has a six under the hood instead of a V8. In later games, some aftermarket exhaust kits tend to lose the 500's lovely rumbling for more generic, less threatening tones. 

6). No turbos, at least in GT2 and 5. Not sure about the other games.

7). Iffy braking, as well. Power is rarely a problem, but brake balancer and better hardware shall be needed to keep this car slowing with the moderns.

8). Not quite as horrid with the oversteer in later games, it's oddly understeer which becomes a lot more of a prob. And everyone knows how I feel about that!  

Published: May 26, 2006

GT5 content added: July 16 & 17, 2023