1997 TVR Chimaera 5.0 litre V8
The greatest fun for the least money
Some electrical glitches (indicator switch repaired).
Overheated (resolved by adding Leven alloy radiator & a heat-shield).
Side window seals not entirely watertight (very minor).
A sophisticated, sexy design with loads of character; and few around, so it gets noticed. A true sports car, with its low broad stance, it attracts respectful reactions and admiring looks. If you want to smile and be smiled at, by women in particular, this is it. Driving with the top down in summer is an experience - so this is what George Clooney feels like?
Tremendous performance, huge torque and acceleration (a great sensation); however, its reputation is well-known, so no need to prove it.
Great guttural sound up to a deep roar at speed. Drives very smoothly, blazingly quick, and no problems if you stay calm and alert, and are mildly competent - 'scary stories' seem exaggerated as long as you respect that it is a very powerful car, especially on wet roads.
The interior is superbly designed with original details (aluminium fluted door-opener between seats, etc.). Getting all the Leven Technology aluminium upgrades to the cabin (indicator stalks, hand-brake, etc.) is worth it to complete the already excellent design.
Toyo Proxes T1R tyres make it very grippy and it corners superbly (26 psi rear/24 psi front), and Shell V-Power makes it run even better.
Lots of excellent specialised TVR mechanics around, and plenty spare parts to last a lifetime. Not cheap to run if maintained properly, but the reasonable price for this type of car/engine far off-sets the slightly higher cost.
Other cars pale in comparison. It makes driving fun. Cannot imagine ever giving up my TVR and won't - there is no going back.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th December, 2007
15th Sep 2012, 06:10
I could not agree with you more! I too have this model, bought from new in Viper GTS blue, and keep it garaged always. It is my man's toy, my second car, and dry weather only.
Yes, it has had a few glitches, the windscreen wiper motor went up in smoke shortly after I bought the car, and the 100amp fuse blew, but fortunately with the roof down, so I was not locked out. The RAC, who were very knowledgeable about this problem, fixed it quickly. The master cylinder failed, the radiator failed, and I have been through a few batteries, but now I keep it on trickle charge.
Despite all this, I absolutely love to drive it when the weather is nice, which has not been much this year! Even though is is 15 years old, it still remains a head turner, but that is because it is such a beautiful car.
I keep threatening to sell it, because I don't use it enough, but as soon as I use it, I change my mind!