1997 TVR Chimaera 500 5.0 V8 petrol


Fast, loud and unforgiving...


It is a classic car, so I purchased it with this in mind. The car has been driven 6k miles in three years, which means that a lot of gaskets and bushes will harden or perish. I purchased it from a recognised dealer without a warranty, with a view that I would have to do some work on it.

The car has had a complete overhaul/electrics/gaskets/oil etc. Total cost of the work was £1200 (done by myself, so no labour charge).

Lots of things to check: History, history and history. Examine it all.

Look for rot on the chassis and outriggers, delaminating windows, faulty electrics, body damage or crazing paintwork, leaking PAS, overheating, slow windows, non-functioning wing mirrors etc.

General Comments:

Super car performance, unbelievable sound and great drive.

Be realistic and purchase the best example you can afford!!! You cannot run a high performance V8 on the same budget as a Nissan Note! This is not the type of car you purchase on a whim or without any knowledge of the model. They have common faults, and you need to be able to identify them otherwise it will cost you. Do not expect German build quality. Expect quirk and faults. It was hand produced by a small factory in Blackpool. It isn't perfect, but it has character and stands out from the crowd.

A good healthy Chimaera 500 produces a very flat torque curve, and with a few cheap mods can easily dyno well in excess of 320 BHP. Lots of torque and lots of power under the bonnet of a car that only weighs a tonne makes for exhilarating driving.

Targa roof comes off very quickly and fits in the large boot. Seats are super comfy and it's an engaging driving position. It will put a smile on your face every time you hear the pops and bangs from the exhaust. Never used the stereo, and the straight through exhaust on the 5.0 V8 sounds much better.

TVR's Chimaeras and Griffiths are enthusiast's cars. Expect a love-hate marriage and to put some effort into the relationship! They're a classic car, with classic problems. Join a free and well known motoring forum where you can get lots of advice from other users and tap into a wealth of TVR knowledge.

If you buy this car on a whim, with no knowledge of the model and from a petrol forecourt, expect to weep. Instead, research your subject, get the best well looked-after example you can and expect to smile!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd April, 2013

1996 TVR Chimaera 400HC 4.0 V8 petrol


Amazingly cheap fun, with a soundtrack to die for


The starter motor failed, but it was cheap & easy to replace.

General Comments:

OMG the noise.. It really is a fabulous sound. It is almost impossible to be in a bad mood after driving the Chimaera.

I know I only have the baby of the range (at 4 litres), but even so, I don't know where I'd find a car this thrilling for less money.

I've replaced the rear silencer with some Cherry Bombs, and it really does sound better for it. Next step is to remove the precats and fit one of Clive's y-pieces, and that should be it for the exhaust.

The car has been (aside from the starter motor) completely reliable, and I use it as an every day car.

Mine is 17 years old this year, but looks like a 2 year old, and it only had 21k miles on it when I bought it 6 months ago.

I am upgrading the rear lights to Afterburners, and I have "plasti-dipped" the wheels to make them black, but beyond that, I will leave it standard and gorgeous.

It may not be the fastest thing out there any more; even some diesel repmobiles can give it a good run for the money, but it still does 0-60 in 5.2 seconds and sounds like a fighter plane.

My Jag (Supercharged XJR) was faster, but THIS is just so much more involving and fun!

It also has a really big boot, even with the roof panel in it, so it's a good, solid, practical GT car too.

I struck lucky and got one of the best years (1996) just before TVR brought the chassis coating in house, so it has the old "silver" paint and the zinc coating. It also has a facelift front end and bonnet, but still has visible boot hinges and press button doors.

One great bit of fun - let someone sit in the driver's seat, close the door and watch them struggle to find a way to open the door to get back out.

Grown men will chuckle when you start it, and women will scream when you pull away...

I've dome more mileage in the car in the last 6 months than the previous owner managed in 7 years! But then again, I'm glad I bought it from him, as his oxygen tent has helped the car still look as good as new.

Try one, buy one, they're fantastic.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st January, 2013