1997 TVR Chimaera Reviews

1997 TVR Chimaera 500 5.0 V8 petrol from UK and Ireland

Model year1997
Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission 5.0 V8 petrol Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired62000 miles
Most recent distance65000 miles

Summary:

Fast, loud and unforgiving...

Faults:

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

1997 TVR Chimaera 5.0 litre V8 from UK and Ireland

Model year1997
Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 5.0 litre V8 Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.6 / 10
Distance when acquired32000 miles
Most recent distance45000 miles
Previous carBMW M3

Summary:

The greatest fun for the least money

Faults:

Some electrical glitches (indicator switch repaired).

Overheated (resolved by adding Leven alloy radiator & a heat-shield).

Side window seals not entirely watertight (very minor).

General Comments:

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!

1997 TVR Chimaera 4.0 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 4.0 Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.4 / 10
Distance when acquired12000 miles
Most recent distance24000 miles
Previous carTVR Chimaera

Summary:

Expect ongoing problems as this is a handmade enthusiasts car, however, they'll fade to insignifigan

Faults:

Starter motor had to be replaced twice, covered under dealer warranty.

Rainwater leaking in through cable hole seals in bulkhead at drivers foot well, sealant used to repair worn seals.

Rainwater leaked in through roof & bodywork seals, which is an expected convertible problem. Dealer recommended 'Fabsil', a brush on roof sealer, had no problems since.

Interior carpets mouldy & needed replaced, as a result of the rainwater leaks.

Steering & suspension - ongoing clunks from both that dealer can't find or repair.

Rear dampers needed replaced.

Clutch Mater cylinder, leaking needed replaced.

Paintwork cracked - needed re-sprayed.

General Comments:

The V8 engine rumble & exhaust note on start up never ceases to raise a smile.

The smell of the leather interior & the dashboard's looks heighten the driving experience, exactly what a sports car interior should be.

This is a car for life. Take care of it & it will last - No problem would make me part with it.

The bodywork design is a sculptural symphony, only appreciated when hand polishing over the undulating curves.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th October, 2003

Average review marks: 7.8 / 10, based on 3 reviews