The TVR Chimaera first appeared in 1993 and it was intended to be more of a GT car than its sibling the TVR Griffith.
Although it shares much of the chassis and mechanicals it features a larger boot and slightly softer suspension.
In 1994 both the Chimaera and Griffith 500 switched to a Borg Warner T5 gearbox (the previous unit coming from a Rover SD1). Shortly after that the TVR Chimaera 500 was launched.
Then in 1996 the Chimaera received a minor facelift, the front end becoming more like that of the Cerbera. The mesh grille was removed and a horizontal split added across the grille space and indicator. In 2001 the Chimaera was given Griff style covered headlights.
In around 1997-1998 the rear lights changed from a parts bin Fiesta unit to a TVR designed part.
Peter's '94 Chimaera 400 demonstrating the front-end style of the earlier models.
Here's my '98 Chimaera 500 with the later Cerbera style front end. Note the horizontal split and removal of the grille.
David's '01 Chimaera 450 shows the latest style of headlights.
Stuart's '96 Chimaera 400 has the earlier lights.
Claire's '99 Chimaera 450 has the later, TVR rear lights.
TVR Chimaera Engines
Max speed (mph)
0-60 mph (secs)
270 at 4000 rpm
3,950 High Compression V8
305 at 4000 rpm
340 (320 with cat)
350 (320 with cat)
TVR Chimaera Options
Power assisted steering
Six CD autochanger
Full leather (Half-hide is standard)
Colour coded dials
Chrome & Wood Steering Wheel
The TVR Chimaera 500
Of over 6000 TVR Chimaeras built, only around 600 were the 5 litre model. These relatively rare machines can be identified by their purple coloured rocker covers and 'Griffith style' wheels. They are probably the most desirable of the Chimaeras, with levels of performance close to that of the Griffith 500 whilst retaining greater practicality. NB. Sometimes you see adverts for 'TVR Chimaera 500/5.0 HC', all of the 500s are 'HC' so don't pay any extra...
Standard Chimaera Wheels
Griffith Style Wheels
TVR Chimaera Facts
TVRs have always has their quirks but here are a few that are worth knowing.
Open the doors via the button either to the rear of the door or under the wing mirror (newer models)
The boot opens via the button under the dash to the right of the steering wheel.
If the dashboard doesn't illuminate with the lights check the button to the left of the steering wheel.
There is storage behind each of the seats and under the dash in front of the passenger.
Pressing the button on the door opening knob will disable the external buttons (to stop chavs popping them open when you're at the lights).
There is no buzzer to remind you that you've left the lights on (unless you add one).
The petrol filler is in the boot.
There is no 'low fuel' warning.
To get into reverse on a newer car (reverse right and down) you need to go via 5th to avoid a crrruuunnnch.
The Speedo back light is half as bright as the other instruments.
TVR Chimaera Press Quotes
Here are some quotes regarding the TVR Chimaera from the motoring press:
Fast Lane - "Overall, this is possibly the best handling front-engined/rear-driven sports car in the world."
Sports Car International - "There's little on the market that can touch the Chimaera for its seemingly incongruous blend of high performance, road behaviour, individuality and value."
Evo - "What you get are straight-forward, old-fashioned thrills. Buy wisely and you wont be disappointed."
Performance Car - "The TVR sounds as glorious as a Rolls-Royce Merlin aero engine."
Car - "The Chimaera sounds good and pulls enough wallop to satisfy all but the utterly power-crazed."
Autocar Magazine - "TVR completely blitzes the opposition, in any gear, from any speed to any speed"
TopGear Magazine - "The Chimaera is great fun to drive even when you're just tootling along."
Jeremy Clarkson - "It's spacious cockpit is a dream too, with wood, leather and polished aluminium styled by someone who truly understands interior design."
Autocar Magazine - "Chassis and engine mate brilliantly."
Autocar Magazine - "Superb - Chimaera 4.5 is a winner!"