GALLERY: Go Behind The Scenes On Our 1963 TVR Grantura Film Shoot
Gregorie Desmons has always had a sensitivity to the aesthetic elements of life, and so for him the first impulses to own classic sports cars came from the question of form rather than horsepower. Though many will argue that art following its purest definition shouldn’t be concerned with anything practical like transportation, we all know the truth to be otherwise. For the same reasons that architecture blends with sculpture, the fact that a machine can be so beautiful to look at while simultaneously providing a solution to a problem very much rooted in cold hard physics is more than enough reason to consider certain cars something far more than a means of moving ourselves around. That’s certainly how Gregorie feels about his Mark III TVR Grantura.
He researched the car for a few years before buying the right example, and in the process Gregorie saw them racing in vintage events at famous tracks like Spa and Le Mans, as well as festivals like those at Goodwood. He was impressed by the racing pedigree that could fit inside the rather compact sports car— an American named Jack Griffith began converting Granturas into sports cars that could compete with the creations of Carroll Shelby, and he fitted his TVRs with powerful V8s before officially collaborating with the British marque to build eight-cylinder models out of modified Mk III Grantura shells—but since Gregorie was looking for a classic road car rather than ludicrously high power-to-weight ratio, he wondered if the TVR would be slanted a little too trackside instead of curbside. After all, it is a lightweight short-wheelbase sports car with a tubular chassis and a fiberglass body made by a small company in England—not exactly the ideal cruising spec to most folk.
He didn’t need a V8 Griffith then, just a regular inline-four under the hood. The one he ended up with is a series III Grantura 1800 with an MGB 1798cc motor and an HRG crossflow cylinder head. They only made 90 such cars like for the third generation of the Grantura Gregorie tells us, so finding this took a bit of time: over five years in fact.
Cars with unique and striking designs—the kind that stick out in traffic to even those very far out of “the know”—have always been intriguing to Gregorie, and his favorites tend to be coupes. Though his taste is obviously deeper and more nuanced than just “unique-looking cars with two doors,” the Grantura is a snug fit for these criterion indeed.
A few others preceded the TVR, but they had the same basic elements: British sports cars with intriguing shapes, like the fastback MGA he had once upon a time. Regardless of what car’s being called into question, the first aspect he looks at (no pun intended) and the most important part of the decision to own, has always been the design. The form comes above all else: “It’s the lines of these cars that speak to me. They’re magnificent works of art.”
In other words, driving isn’t the main draw for Gregorie, but still, owning a TVR—even one with sane amounts of horsepower like this Grantura—comes with a compulsion to carry a bit more pace in and in between corners.
Besides photographing and painting it, he could sit in the garage and just look at the Grantura, content to leave it stationary as the bodywork’s visual charms are given time to work their magic, but he still mixes in some mileage. Though trips in the TVR never carry the same pragmatism and luxury as something even slightly more modern might, each is an adventure and a worthwhile trade for a handful of foregone creature comforts. Errands become events in cars like this. Plus, that’s just another chance to look back at it in the parking lot and who among us hasn’t relished that view before?