“We now have much more certainty about this project,” said Berriman, an experienced automotive industry executive engineer who cut his teeth at Land Rover before working on the Goodwood-built Rolls-Royce range. “We have a Griffith prototype that’s in great shape and works well, but now the real work starts.
“Now we have to productionise the car and achieve EC Small Series Type Approval, which allows us to build 1000 examples of each model type a year. That gives us pretty good production head room, especially as we have an entry strategy to the US that allows another 325 cars a year.
“But we’ve got some chunky engineering to do, like ABS calibration, emissions testing, building prototypes for crash-testing and taking the car through homologation, which is where the new investment comes in.”
The TVR trio believe equipping the factory for production should be relatively straightforward, because the iStream assembly process was developed by Gordon Murray, who also designed the car. The process requires little on-site tooling and can be handled by semi-skilled workers. Major components, such as the tubular steel chassis with its bonded-in composite strengthening panels, come from external suppliers.
Once Ebbw Vale is in full swing and making 2000-plus Griffiths per year, TVR expects to employ around 200 people – a major boost for an area of the country that’s officially categorised as disadvantaged.
TVR’s bosses say the Griffith Launch Edition will be very well equipped so as to simplify the assembly process. “We’ll be offering a car with a natural value of around £125,000 if you judge it against, say, the Aston Martin Vantage,” said Edgar. “But given TVR’s background, we shouldn’t try to command prices beyond £100,000 from the start.”
Once production is under way, TVR will follow a Porsche-style business model by offering Griffith derivatives, perhaps a plusher GT with extra soundproofing and luxurious trim, plus a lighter, faster and noisier Sport version.
The Ford Mustang that provides the Griffith’s 5.0-litre V8 engine (via Cosworth, which fits a dry sump) is already available in 700bhp-plus supercharged form, and this is a path that TVR is very likely to follow. More than 50% of TVRs were Ford-powered from the brand’s foundation in 1946 to its end of production in 2006.