TVR. An exclusive brand that’s been synonymous with the world’s most powerful performance cars, both on the track and on the road, for some sixty years. Few marques conjure up the same sense of theatre and passion among their fans and followers, or fear among the uninitiated.
Step inside a carefully hand-crafted TVR and drive it, however, and one knows immediately the real truth: that there is much more to these British-bred beasts than first meets the eye, that they are paradoxical and that the truth goes far deeper than the cars’ antecedent notoriety perhaps implies.
Today, TVR’s prodigious power and performance is married to a new, real-world sophistication. But none of TVR’s character, flair or soulfulness has been compromised in making the cars more pragmatic; in fact, it is precisely because of the latest models’ profound capabilities and luxuriousness that the experience is enriched even more than ever before.
Combined with tantalising designs and an erstwhile driving sensation is a more distinguished refinement, both to the drive set-up and to the finish. The remarkable result is that every journey is an adventure that’s both cognitive and visceral. An adventure that awakens every sense, and even seems to evoke new ones.
Chimaera aged little in terms of styling or of capabilities despite first rolling off the production lines back in 1992/3. The Chimaera still represents one of the best compromises on the road today.
It remains one of the best cars TVR have ever built. The four litre engine was the perfect introduction to the world of TVR.
Powerful enough to have plenty of fun with, yet tame enough not to overwhelm the TVR virgin. Most people fall in love with the sound of those V8’s first, and indeed Chimaera sounds fantastic
The Chimaera is a sensible TVR, if there is such a thing.It proved to be the best-selling TVR ever, a combination of keen pricing, perceived accessibility and towering performance.It closely follows the styling cues of the classic TVR S series of cars.
The Chimaera looks similarly tempting asa a used purchase, with a number of low-mileage cars in the dealer network for MGF-money.The keys to the TVR might well prove impossible to resist, if youre more hard man than new man.
The Chimaera functions well as a softer edged alternative to a Griffith, but still possessed of awesome muscularity thats always lurking at the end of the throttles travel.
More adventurous than the Griffiths the interior features bold curves, aluminium gear knob and fluorescent green instrument faces.All this show the initial workings of an ideas mine that has been plundered in full for the Cerbera and Tuscan cabins.
As with most modern TVRs the dashboard is a lesson to the purveyors of plastic that a stylish interior is always possible from simple age old British recipe. Take the full set of simple analogue dials, apply them across a sweeping piece of tree trunk and dress with fine aluminium controls. It hasn’t taken a budget of millions to develop a VW style pleasing feel to the controls either. Most of the buttons and controls operate smoothly and feel solid. Best of all it has a heating system that’s particularly good in cold weather. This was a car that must have been designed in the winter. Whilst drivers of earlier ’S’ models suffer with one cold hand from the inadequete heating systems, the Chimaera driver enjoys a full roasting of hot air, just right for those mad roofless frosty mornings.
The two occupants are separates by a wide transmission tunnel but the internal space is at a premium.The supportive seats and the thick, non-airbagged whell could be trimmed in any colour or material the original buyer fancied, and the hood works well, both at waterproofing and windproofing the car.
Luggage space is usually the first compromise if you want fun from a fast road car. The capacious boot of the Chimaera shows that this needn’t be the case. Even with the single piece roof in the boot, there’s plenty of room for luggage and we’re not talking about bizzarely shaped custom made bags. Inside the car, there’s a variety of places to stash your nik-naks and the large rear shelf for further bags if necessary.
Driving and technology
Chimaera name represents in mythology a fire breathing, goat-bodied, lion-headed monster with the tail of a serpent. The TVR Chimaera is similarly cobbled together from a disparate set of components to form a fire-breathing entity but in this case, it all works so well you never notice the joins.
Its extremely unlikely that two identical Chimaeras have ever left the factory, due to the amount of personalisation a customer can build into their car from new .
The Chimaera was probably the most derivative of all the TVR models of recent years.A car offering this level of performance was ever going to be cheap to run, and certain aspects of running a Chimaera are just plain expensive. It enjoys regular doses of synthetic engine oil, aside from its healthy appetite for 98RON Super Unleaded Petrol.
TVR is still tarnished with questions over built quality but the Chimaera is showing the benefits of a long production life. A modern Chimaera is a very solid feeling car without the squeeks or rattles that you might expect of a relatively cheap hand built car.
The clutch, the frony brake discs, the headlamp unit all this will cost very much, whilst one of the Bridgestone rear tyres wont leave much change from $500.
However it’s just a different car, talking in softer tones. There’s good feedback through the steering but you wouldn’t describe it as sharp. The chassis feels rigid and provided you’re not silly with your right foot the handling is predictable. Push too hard and it will skip a little before breaking away with rear traction the first victim. It soaks up the bumps well but sparks can fly from the low slung chassis on some of Britains ’B’ road specials. It is a car that you can drive very quickly cross country or around a track. You might lose out in bends to the ’corner on rails’ brigade, the acceleration possible out of bends provides just as much fun and challenge.
The TVR Chimaera is everything the TVR image promises, on the open road, Loud, aggressive, heavy to drive and hairy of chest.The v8 engine begin wailing at 3500rpm but until under it sound lazy and and vaguely . Between 5000rpm and the 6250rpm the engine will make a noise that will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing bolt upright.And thats what owning a TVR is all about.
That acceleration is provided by a powerful yet friendly engine. It should come as no surprise that you see so many Chimaeras in London. The four litre V8 is a doddle to drive in traffic. It has a slightly dull and easy feel to it at low revs, not really threatening any trouble until around 3,500rpm. From there it pulls strongly with its mid range is tremendous fun for blasting past unsuspecting tin-tops.
Youll need to be accurate and measured in your use of the throttle and steering with the 5-litre car especially on a wet and twisty road . The TVR can be hustled along at a fair speed if you drive in a tidy, disciplined manner.But youll have to be very quick with the corrective lock if you try any cruder tactics. The car has been developed with the emphasis on handling rather than outright grip.
The steering is fantastic and a skilled driver will revel in sliding the car about. The previously agile Chimaera can feel very big and cumbersome if you get it out of shape.
The best way to access the joys of TVR ownership is without doubt the TVR Chimaera. The car is less intimidating and more thoroughly sorted than the Cerbera and Griffith models, but it offers 95% of the thrills with a tiny dash of practicality.
All become worthwhile as soon as the road opens up and you hear the wail of the big V8, but youll have to put up with a grater probability of unreliability and some annoying characteristics.That is due to the fact that the Chimaera is quite unlike a mass-production car but youll understand what made the this TVRs most popular car.