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