1965 Griffith Series 200
Classic American Sports Car
Does your Cobra not scare you any more?
Are you tired of having a car that doesn't threaten to go airborne or spin around when you nail the throttle?
Well you may be the right person to appreciate a Griffith. Basically, take a 289 Cobra, leave it in the drier too long so it shrinks, and then remove about 500 pounds of weight. Oh, and make it really hard to get into. That, my friends, is a Griffith 200 in a nutshell. For a more detailed accounting of just what a Griffith is, please use the link below to read what I wrote about them in a recent Sports Car Market magazine profile.
Before you is my little Griffith 200. As a collector of wild Ford-powered stuff, I had searched for one of these for many years. Problem is most were wrapped around a tree fairly early in life, or, got wet and dissolved. You know, being British and all. They are a very fragile little automobile in the grand TVR tradition, only with about four times more horsepower than the donor TVR was ever designed to handle. That alone kinda helped eliminate the vast majority of the 191 Series 200 Griffiths produced. Not to mention the fact that I have never seen a good old American performance car guy faced with a 289 Ford V8 that didn't want to "hop it up just a little."
So you can imagine my delight when I found this bugger, aka Griffith #085, being offered for sale by its original owner not too long ago. Tony Piolunek bought #085 brand new from his local Alfa Romeo/Griffith dealer, Professional Garage, on Jun 16th, 1965. A mere teenager at the time, Tony needed to put the car in his mom's name as he was technically too young to buy it. And how did he pay for it? With money he won racing Porsches in SCCA for the local Porsche dealer. Seems that young Tony was already an accomplished racer in 1965, and what better car for a weekend play toy than a Griffith? For $4100, Tony was out the door in one of the hottest cars ever built. 1500 pounds, Ford HiPo V8, Top Loader 4 speed, and a 3.90 gear all added up for a wild ride. Contemporary ads and road tests place 0-60 at just under 4 seconds, and the 1/4 mile in the 13's. Top speed was in excess of 150 MPH, or so they claimed. Maybe Tony was brave enough to try that, I know I am not! The best part was that #085 was never a daily driver for Tony, it was always a sunny day only fun car. As such, it has just over 10,000 original miles on it today.
Thanks to the incredible care Tony lavished on #085, and the limited use it saw, it is a completely original and unrestored car, with the exception of a recent repaint to the original silver/blue color as Tony had painted it a era-correct copper color with gold airbrushed highlights in the late-60's, and attributed his great sucess at custom auto shows with #085 to that wild paint! Once again, I am not as brave as Tony and had to put #085 back to its original color. Another huge bonus buying a car from a guy like Tony is getting all of the original paperwork. Window sticker, owner's manual, new car invoice, tag receipt, etc were all kept neatly in a folder for the 43 years Tony "held" the car for me ;)
If you are ever in Milwaukee and want to go for a real e-ticket ride, just let me know. Riding in #085 is just about as close to being shot out of a cannon as any of us will ever get! Well, until I find an original Cheetah that is, but that is a whole 'nother story...
-SORRY, #085 IS NOT FOR SALE-
Private Collection - Not For Sale
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