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
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.
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.