[size=200]The Griffin Story[/size]
Griffin Automotive’s story began in 1955 when Mervyn Morgan, a wealthy Welsh mine owner decided to create his own sports car, the Ddraig (Translates to the ‘Dragon’ from Welsh). At the time (and for quite some time after), it was the fastest road-going automobile in the world. Costing £12975 to purchase, in its most ferocious form, at the time (£125,195 today, inflation adjusted) it was extremely exclusive, with only 17 in total being made (over all 3 trim levels). Despite being considered one of the first ‘Dream cars’ and not creating a loss for Mr. Morgan, he never produced another car, only offering repairs and servicing to his existing customers. As of today, only 8 are known to exist. It was set to race in the 1955 BRC but was not finished in time, so Mervyn Morgan decided to have a ‘slight redesign’ and instead go for the prestigious title of the fastest road car in the world.
The R/T trim cost £12,975 at the time (as stated above) Only 4 of the cars were made in this spec, and only 2 are known to exist today. Two were shipped to wealthy aristocrats of the Middle East, one was shipped to Swizterland and the last was kept by Mervyn Morgan as his personal car. One of the cars exported to Dubai was written off in a crash in 1958 and the car that was sent to the Switzerland disappeared in 1961. In this specification, it managed to put out 406 BHP @ 4500 RPM from its sizable 7.3L N/A V8. It achieved an impressive 195 MPH and reached 0-60 MPH in 9.1 seconds. It was actually a small car, measuring just 2.08 M in length and weighing little over a 1000 kg, which was one of the reasons they had a reputation of being vicious little bastards, one almost killing its driver during the 1957 24H of Le Mans. The fact that they only had 155 tyres front and rear was another contributing factor to their insanely unpredictable handling.
The Chwaraeon trim cost £7,400 at the time, equivalent to £72,750 today (with inflation). Out of the 17 cars produced, 5 were in the Chwaraeon trim. Less is known about where these were sold and exported to, but one was bought by the then leader of Dubai and 2 were shipped to the USA and sold. Where the other two went immediately after production was, and still is, undocumented. Only one is known to exist, that that belonged to the then leader of Dubai’s family, which is still in their position. However, one of the undocumented exports was found in a barn in Germany in 1972 and started to undergo restoration, but it mysteriously disappeared from the workshop a week after it arrived. Its current whereabouts are unknown. In this trim, the Ddraig had 310 BHP and managed 0-60 MPH in 9.3 seconds. Despite having less power, it was barely more driveable that the R/T trim, due to sharing its skinny 155 tyres.
The A trim was the most basic and the cheapest, costing £1,000 at the time (£9,825 today). 10 of the 17 Ddraig’s produced, 10 were in the ‘A’ trim, of which, 5 still exist today. One went to Dubai, 4 were shipped to the USA to be sold, one was sold in Brazil, another in the Falkland islands and the final 2 were sold in Britain. The tenth was reportedly shipped to Sweden, but this has never been confirmed. The 5 survivors are the one from Dubai, which was found abandoned in 1962 and later restored and bought by a British Lord, the one sold in Brazil was handed down through the family, and is still used frequently and 2 of the 4 sold in the USA are now owned by collectors. The final survivor was that allegedly shipped to Sweden. It was found in a barn in Northern Sweden, near the town of Koskulleskulle in 1992. It was only found as the land was required for the expansion of the quarry near the town, and the car happened to be residing there, only around 4 miles from civilization. It has still not been determined how it got there, as there is no record of its sale, its shipment or who owned it. It is presumed to have been given to an employee of Mervyn Morgan’s, perhaps the factory or mine manager and was then sold on, though this has never been confirmed. Despite having a 5L V8 it was detuned, to produce 181 BHP. It was the lightest of the 3 trims, at just 916 kg but was still a tricky little blighter to drive, having thinner wheels than both the Chwaraeon and the R/T trims.
[size=65](The last car to be found in working order (just), an ‘A’ trim, c.1962 Dubai, left to rot beyond city limits)[/size]
In October 1962, a young entrepreneur, M.J. Morgan whom was the Grandson of M. Morgan, the creator of the Ddraig, decided to follow in his grandfathers’ footsteps. After leaving High School in 1960, he took an apprenticeship at the car manufacturer Morris Motors, working as a low-level engineer and designer. Involved in the production of the original mini, he was inspired to build his own cars. He left in December 1961, with plans of creating his own car, sporty but cheap, aimed at the younger market. By October 1962, he had setup a company, finalized designs and built a working prototype. Now all he needed was a production line. His Grandfather gave him the old production line of the Ddraig for his 21st Birthday, allowing Miles J. Morgan to fulfill his dream. On December 7th 1962, the first cars started to roll off of the production line.
[size=175]Griffin Chwaraeon[/size][size=85](1962 - 1974)[/size]
Miles J. Morgan’s vision was the Griffin Chwaraeon. Small. Sporty. Afforable.
NB: All comments below are for a single, previous car, now lost and deleted.