TVR Chimaera – 1992

This pretty convertible arrived a year after the TVR Griffith, sharing a chassis and the same Rover-derived engine options, but visually the Chimaera was more of a traditional sports car than the racy Griffith. The Chimaera also had a fibreglass body but was rather longer than the Griffith, with softer suspension, more interior space and a larger boot, for it was intended as the GT-style TVR for those who wanted to tour in comfort rather than burn rubber at a track meet. The Chimaera had disc brakes and independent suspension all round.

The Chimaera was no sluggard – capable of zooming past 150 mph (241 km/h) even with the smallest 4 litre engine – but those who liked their home comforts were able to opt for goodies like button-opening doors, heated leather seats, wood trim, power-assisted steering, air conditioning, six-CD player with four speakers, wood-and-chrome steering wheel and deep-pile carpeting. Very civilized!

As with the TVR Griffith, a BorgWarner gearbox was installed from 1994, and the Chimaera 500 appeared the same year with the punchy 5 litre engine. There was a minor facelift in 1996, with the Chimaera’s front end being changed to look like that of the TVR Cerbera. The mesh grille was lost and a horizontal split created across the grille space and indicator. In 1998 the rear lights were changed, but that was the extent of modifications before the last Chimaera was built.

Around 6,000 Chimaeras were sold during the decade-long production run, but only some 600 of those were ultra-desirable Chimaera 500s, which may be identified by Griffith-style wheels and a purple rocker cover. Those are the ones serious collectors go for, but any Chimaera is a modern classic that will give enormous driving pleasure and see off almost anything the driver cares to challenge.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

UK

FIRST MANUFACTURED:

1992 (until 2003)

ENGINE:

3,947 cc, 4,280 cc, 4,495 cc or 4,988 cc V8

PERFORMANCE:

With 5.0 I engine – top speed of 160 mph (257 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.4 secs

YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Anyone for Chimaera? The name is an alternative spelling of ‘chimera’, that monstrous fire-breathing creature in Greek mythology with the head of a lion, body of a goat and tail of a serpent. Another meaning is a grotesque product of the imagination – just TVR’s little joke.

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