Celebrating the 53rd Anniversary
of the Griffith Motorcar
Jack Griffith inspecting a Series 200
As we approach the celebration of the 53rd anniversary of the Introduction of the Griffith Series 200 automobile we will be bringing up-to-date information for the party at Mid-Ohio. On the weekend of June 23-25, 2017, in conjunction with the Vintage Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio we will be celebrating the life of the late Jack Griffith.
Andrew Jackson "Jack" Griffith died peacefully of natural causes at the Community Hospice of Northeast Florida Hadlow Center on January 8th, 2017 after a full life of spanning nearly 91 years.
Jack was born on February 12, 1926 to Andrew Griffith and Louise Russell Griffith in Jackson Heights, New York. Jack grew up on Long Island, attending Garden City Country Day School, Hill School, and then Valley Forge Military Academy before enlisting in the Air Force at age 17 to serve in WWII. It was while stationed in Madison, Wisconsin that he met a local girl, Marge Johnson, who would become the love of his life. Marge, a University of Wisconsin graduate, school teacher and accomplished drummer in the Madison Symphony, met Jack while playing in the Peggy King Orchestra, an all-girl dance band that often entertained at USO dances. They fell in love and were married in July of 1946 after Jack's discharge and began life together.
Now a civilian, Jack moved back to Long Island where he pursued his passions for music and anything with an engine that made noise and went fast. Following stints as a recording engineer, radio station operator, amateur pilot and marina owner, jack focused his career on automobiles. After owning a series of successful car dealerships, including Packard, Nash and Ford, Jack assisted his close friend, Carroll Shelby in introducing the first Cobras into the U.S.
Bitten by the high-performance bug, Jack acquired one of the six factory-built race Cobras and campaigned it successfully during the mid 1960s. Then, against all odds, Jack formed the Griffith Motor Company where he created and manufactured a powerful British/American sports car, the Griffith. After a run of 262 cars production ceased but the remaining examples are now the pride of collectors around the world.
The 70s found Jack moving to Florida to design and construct Nissan 280Z/280ZX (1978), Toyota Celica Sunchaser (1980-1981, 198201983) and AMC Concord/Eagle Sundancer (1091-1982) convertibles leading The Griffith Company to become the factory endorsed independent convertible builder for Toyota worldwide. During this time the Griffith Company was also called on to complete several R&D race car development builds for Chrysler. As a result Jack's career has been documented in numerous books and chronicled by some of the world's most prominent journals. At his 90th birthday and during this illness, best wishes and remembrances poured in, not only from family and friends but also from Griffith owners and admirers worldwide.
In 1996 Jack and a handful of auto enthusiasts helped to form the Amelia Concours d'Elegance, a project that both Jack and Marge worked on very diligently helping to make this one of the top automobile concours events in the world.
Jack will be remembered for his entrepreneurial spirit, his relentless pursuit of the family and interests he loved and his desire to give back to the communities that gave him so much.
Griffith Series 200 Owner, Judy Stream, never one to shy away from any publicity, recently had her car plugged into the spotlight in the Hagerty Insurance Magazine. Click here for a look at the story