This Black­pool rocker is a thrilling su­per­car bar­gain, but you can make it even more glo­ri­ous

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Living With Classics - Richard Dredge

‘Any Chimaera is fast – but you can make it a lot faster with­out hav­ing to spend a for­tune’

The TVR Chimaera isn’t as revered – or as valu­able – as its Grif­fith sib­ling thanks to its less spec­tac­u­lar styling, but it’s lit­tle more than a re­bod­ied Grif­fith with a big­ger boot, a more spa­cious cabin and a more com­fort­able ride. They’re just as fast and ev­ery bit as sen­sa­tional to drive as the Grif­fith and they’re much more plen­ti­ful, so you get the best of all worlds.

While TVR did a great job of cre­at­ing an af­ford­able and us­able su­per­car with the Chimaera, there’s al­ways room for im­prove­ment, whichever vari­a­tion you’re start­ing with. All Chi­maeras came with a Rover V8, with the first cars (from 1993) of­fered in 4.0- or 4.3-litre guises. Within a year there was a 5.0-litre op­tion, then a 4.5-litre V8 was in­tro­duced in 1997. With a kerb­weight of just over a tonne and any­where be­tween (a claimed) 240bhp and 340bhp on tap, any Chimaera is fast – but you can make it a whole lot faster.

Be­cause the start point is a Rover V8 there are plenty of spe­cial­ists who can gas-flow the cylin­der heads, lighten and bal­ance every­thing, up­grade the fu­elling or fit some kind of forced in­duc­tion. Both su­per­charger and tur­bocharger kits are avail­able; TorqueV8 has three turbo op­tions with prices rang­ing from £2250 to £4250. These light­pres­sure set-ups ( be­tween 5 and 10psi) pro­duce over 500bhp with the op­tional in­ter­cooler and a remapped ECU. TVR tended to be rather op­ti­mistic with its quoted power out­puts, so if you in­vest in some up­grades only to find that you’re achiev­ing what was sup­pos­edly avail­able from new, don’t be dis­ap­pointed.

Up­ping the power means you’ll also need bet­ter brakes, but be care­ful be­fore you start spend­ing lots of money on new parts. It’s easy to get car­ried away and fit an ex­treme brak­ing kit, only to find that the end re­sult is a car that’s less bal­anced to drive in ex­tremis, so make sure you know what you’re buy­ing be­fore you start to part with your hard-earned cash.

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