1 IT’S UNRELIABLE
Compared with some other TVRs, this was a touring machine aimed at the everyday user, with a comfortable cockpit and spacious boot. To that end, the suspension was tuned to deliver a slightly softer ride and the soft-top is easy to use. All engines were Rover V8s progressively developed by TVR from four to five litres. They were surprisingly refined. But even so, it was always a specialist machine, and had to be looked after properly. Owners generally find them to be pretty rugged and reliable, as long as they’re given regular specialist care and attention.
2 A DOG DESIGNED IT
The Chimaera was developed under the supervision of TVR’s then-owner, the late Peter Wheeler. His hobby was shooting and he had a gundog named Ned. The distinctive indented shape around the Chimaera’s indicators are positioned was formed, Wheeler said, when Ned took a bite out of a foam styling model of the car, and everyone liked the result. This led to stories that Ned had helped to style the Chimaera, something the playful Wheeler never denied. With 5432 examples sold, the Chimaera was easily the best-selling TVR.
3 IT WAS DANGEROUS
The new owner of TVR, computer games millionaire Les Edgar, recently said TVRs were ‘all about being noisy – wheelspinning in front of the pub,’ adding ‘...there’s a danger that you can engineer out all of the character.’ His thoughts sum up the ethos of the Chimaera. TVR couldn’t afford to design safety features that were commonplace back then, so there’s no ABS, airbags or traction control – just an immensely stiff tubular steel backbone chassis more akin to a racing car. As such, an ill-judged burst of power could catch out the unwary.
Distinctive cut-outs around the indicators were dog-designed…