1997 TVR Chimaera 500 5.0 V8 petrol from UK and Ireland
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.
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