Myth Buster

TVR Chi­maera

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Giles Chap­man

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…

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