The 340bhp 5.0-litre Chimaera arrived in 1995. Only around 600 were built, so it’s quite rare. In 1996 the 4.0 HC gave way to a 4.5, producing 285bhp. The differential also changed from one manufactured by GKN to one by BTR. Depending on the engine, Chimaera 0-60mph times range from 4.8sec to 4.1sec and top speeds from 152mph to 169mph.
The first major facelift was in 1996, when the Chimaera acquired a new, Cerbera-like face with a split intake design. The door locks were repositioned under the side mirrors to give a sleeker appearance and the rear end was refreshed with a new bootlid and new tail-lights. Not all cars received all the changes, mind. Faired-in headlights and new taillights featuring four lights per unit were adopted in 2001.
TVR’s release dates and changes could be fluid and things didn’t always happen quite to plan. For example, one former TVR engineer has revealed that there were insufficient blocks of the correct size to make some late 5.0-litre engines. As a result, and to meet demand, some 4.5-litre blocks were stroked to around 4.8 instead, while still being described as 5.0s.
The cabin is dominated by a high transmission tunnel, crowned by an aluminium gearknob. Trims vary widely but, as standard, you can expect alloy wheels, central locking, power windows and mirrors, and height and reach-adjustable steering. A limited-slip diff was standard from launch, and power steering became standard in 1996. You’ll look in vain for a traction control switch, so it’s steady as she goes with the right foot. As you’ll discover on your trawl of the UK’s Chimaeras, not all drivers have removed the lead from their boots.
An expert’s view...
JAMES AGGER, JAMES AGGER AUTOSPORT
“I’ve been selling and servicing Chimaeras since 1998. It’s a practical car, but you have to look after it. Preventative maintenance — checking the chassis and treating any corrosion, and replacing old hoses and bushes, for example — will save you grief later on. It’s all about future-proofing the car. Anticipate and fix problems and a Chimaera will give you miles of faithful service. I’ve been to Le Mans and back five times in mine. Any bargains you see will need work, no question.”
TVR Chimaera problems - buyer beware…
The V8 is bulletproof, even the 5.0, despite what some people say. Chains last around 100,000 miles. The oil and filter should have been changed every 6000 miles. The cooling system was a little underdeveloped, but cars from 1994 onwards are better. Check the header tank on earlier cars.