|1992 saw the launch of the TVR Chimaera at the Motor Show. Unusually for TVR, it was
almost ready for production when first shown. It was intended as a more practical version
of the incredible Griffith which had proved such a great success for TVR. The 'S' models
were still selling well but the introduction of the V8 models had whetted many an appetite
and once customers had heard the lovely sound of the V8S or the pre-catalyst 4.3 Griffith,
it became obvious that V8's were the future.
Steve Dolan's Chimaera
(before the crash!)
Dave Gould's Chimaera
Both the S and the Griffith were pure sports cars, with
little attempt at designing in any practicality. Boot space was limited (particularly with
targa panel inside) and the ride of each car was very firm.
It was time for a slightly softened (relatively) car, V8 engined, with more luggage
capacity. John Ravenscroft and Peter Wheeler set about carving the shape of the Chimaera
from foam models. TVR folklore has it that the indicator recesses at the front of the car
were actually a result of Peter Wheeler's dog - Ned - taking a chunk out of one of the
moulds. Mr Wheeler liked it, so it remained a feature of the car. The air intakes at the
front of the car are larger than those on the Griffith. This is probably to cool the
catalysts, which had become mandatory by this time. Dimensions are similar to the
Griffith, with the Chimaera only two inches longer, to create boot space.
|Fast Lane: "Overall, this is possibly the best
handling front engined/rear-driven sports car in the world."
The underpinnings are based on the Griffith, with different dampers, and
a rear anti-roll bar was installed from day one. The Chimaera was going to host the AJP8.
This was an engine designed by Al Melling who'd had a hand in many race engines in the
1980's. Together with TVR, they set about designing a brand new engine and associated
running gear. However development was taking longer than desired, so the trusty Rover V8
(tweaked by TVR Power) was slotted into the Chimaera with a capacity of 4.0 or 4.3 litres.
Again in line with 'softening' the car, the 4.0 litre has a softer cam than earlier units,
giving less harsh characteristics. A Rover gearbox, Sierra rear axle and a Quaife
differential were employed. The Rover gearbox was replaced in later years by a Borg-Warner
The Chimaera is still selling well, and undergoes minor changes from time to time. The
latest models undergone the following changes:
- Front grille replaced with a single horizontal slat like the Cerbera
- The bonnet has larger vents and is slightly higher near the windscreen.
- The boot has a longer tail lip and the front indicators aren't mesh.
- Inside the car the latest have different tell-tale lamps for ice warning/indicator/main
- The spare wheel relocated to the centre of the boot.
- Door button is now on the wing mirror (like the Cerbera)
- The most obvious change in recent times has been to the rear lights.
Over its lifetime, there have been a number of engine
variations, all giving stunning performance.
||270 lbs/ft at 4000rpm
||3950cc High Compression V8
||305 lbs/ft at 4000rpm
||13.3 secs @ 158 mph