TVR CHIMAERA BUY­ING GUIDE

It’s an af­ford­able route into TVR own­er­ship, and you’ll never tire of the looks or the ex­haust note. Here’s how to pick up some Black­pool thun­der

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News - WORDS Chris Ran­dall PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Magic Car Pics

Why it's one of the cheap­est ways to get some Black­pool V8 thun­der in your garage.

If you like the idea of own­ing a TVR but find the Grif­fith a lit­tle hardcore – or un­af­ford­able – then the Chimaera is the per­fect way to get be­hind the wheel of one of Black­pool’s nois­ier beasts. That’s softer in a rel­a­tive way, of course, be­cause this car still boasts all the usual TVR cues, from a great sound­track to thump­ing per­for­mance. Un­veiled at the 1992 Bri­tish Mo­tor Show, the Chimaera fea­tures a range of Rover-de­rived V8s, paired with a (slightly) milder sus­pen­sion set up than the Griff’s. It’s those en­gines that are the heart of this par­tic­u­lar Black­pool beast, with even the en­try-level 240bhp 4.0-litre model man­ag­ing a sub-five se­cond 0-60mph sprint be­fore top­ping out at 155mph.

Opt for the later 5.0-litre lump and those num­bers be­come even more alarm­ing, at 4.1 sec­onds and 169mph. Plenty quick enough, then, and of course ac­com­pa­nied by the most de­li­cious of bent-eight bur­bles that rises to a spine-tin­gling bel­low at max­i­mum at­tack.

It can do pot­ter­ing around the sub­urbs if you in­sist, but this isn’t a car for shrink­ing vi­o­lets nor for un­no­ticed crack-of-dawn de­par­tures for that mat­ter. Not that you’ll care about up­set­ting the neigh­bours, be­cause get­ting the Chimaera on flow­ing roads is to ex­pe­ri­ence a very tal­ented sports car in­deed.

Sus­pen­sion firm­ness might have been turned down a notch but there’s de­cent sup­ple­ness, lit­tle body roll, and strong grip, al­though tail-wag­ging is al­ways on of­fer if you’re in the mood. The han­dling is best sam­pled with power steer­ing, though, as it’s bi­cep-wrench­ingly heavy with­out es­pe­cially at park­ing speeds. There’s no ABS or nan­ny­ing trac­tion con­trol to save you ei­ther, so it pays to bear that in mind be­fore flex­ing the right an­kle.

As for the cabin, well it wasn’t quite as bonkers as some later TVRs but there is still plenty of leather and wood lux­ury. Lots of kit, too, and you’ll quickly no­tice a driv­ing po­si­tion that feels spot-on from the mo­ment you slide into the sup­port­ive seat. As a cabin from which to en­joy the im­por­tant busi­ness of driv­ing, the Chimaera is al­most per­fect.

OUR VER­DICT

The Chimaera is great to drive, and shouldn’t prove dif­fi­fi­fid­if­fi­cult to look af­ter if you buy a sound ex­am­ple; and there’s ex­cel­lent club and spe­cial­ist sup­port. The ad­dic­tive noise and per­for­mance is worth ev­ery penny in our book.

The roof is a dod­dle to put up and down, but check it care­fully for rips, tears or fray­ing.

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