Wednesday 10th March 2010

PH Fleet: TVR Chimaera 4.0

TVR life continues to live up to expectations, while the rest of the Garlick fleet looks on....

Even though it's only been a few weeks since I last wrote about the TVR, a lot can happen in that time when you are the custodian of one of Blackpool’s finest. While my colleagues have to wait months for something to write about with regards to their newer cars, I could almost write a PH Fleet update once a week.

I have insured the TVR on a 6,000 miles a year policy, and my warranty also demands that I do no more than this too. Keeping under 6,000 per year was easy in my other cars, but I am struggling with the Chimaera as I just want to drive it every day, regardless of distance and as a result I suspect the insurance policy will need to be amended accordingly. We have been to numerous events ranging from last weekends Goodwood Breakfast Club to evenings at the Ace Cafe. But it's not only used for social events as I use it to commute, do the weekly shop and I have even travelled the country to attend 3 meetings on the same day. The problem is that the car seems to love it. It takes it all in its stride and all it asks for is a fairly regular drink of the strongest unleaded available, and I can live with that. The sheer pleasure it adds to the most mundane of journeys makes it all the more worthwhile, it just seems to have so much character and feels like to other car made a good way.

The noise continues to be a delight too, and while I seem to be getting used to it there are odd days that you remember just how noisy it is. For example the other day when I needed to leave home at 03.30 to meet PH editor Chris-R to head to Geneva. The whole street shook as I started it up in the dark and silent road and I quickly scraped the windscreen clear of ice and burbled away feeling rather guilty. I also drove past some mums walking their kids to school on another day and as I lifted off it popped from the exhaust, as it did all the kids put their hands over their ears and one girl screamed. The mums looked at me like I was an idiot and I waved to apologise... but inside I was laughing. Sorry to the monthers if you happen to be reading this, but admit it, you enjoyed it really!

S55 has been away for a week though, as it needed to return home to Fernhurst for a few bits and bobs to be covered under warranty. I must say that the warranty has been well worth it already and has reassured me that buying a car from a dealer was the right thing to do (for me anyway who is less than blessed with technical skill). Dealing with Drew, Simon and Graham at Fernhurst is a pleasure, and that is a rarity these days.

Ignore the Enzo, enjoy the Chim.
Ignore the Enzo, enjoy the Chim.
The exhaust manifolds needed replacing, and while they were being done a small amount of welding was applied around the pre-cats too and I am so pleased this has stopped the faint 'tappety' noise I had before. While the manifolds were being replaced one of the head studs sheared and needed to be machined out. This meant 12 hours of unplanned work for the workshop guys, but it also meant that I now have all new studs and had a bonus oil and filter change too. In addition to this work, a new thermostat was fitted to cure my heater issues, a new handbrake release button was fitted to replace a dodgy one, a small paint blemish was attended to and the clutch slave cylinder was replaced as it was seeping slightly. All of this work was done within a week and I am as grateful as ever to the chaps at Fernies for looking after the car so well, and for making each visit a pleasure rather than a chore.

I'm learning ny way around this...slowly
I'm learning ny way around this...slowly
So as we approach summer (hopefully) the roof is already down more than up, I'm planning a European driving holiday later in the year and I have put my own numberplate onto the car too (much to the annoyance of those who dislike them). Life with the TVR is good, I recommend it to anyone and I can't imagine living life without a TVR of some sort ever again.

The remainder of my 'fleet' lives on despite the TVR being used more often than not. The Range Rover has suffered slightly from a lack of use and was running rather lumpily when I started it after a week of leaving it standing. Although this problem is curing itself with every drive it does seem to be caused by fouled plugs which I will look at later this month. I'll also treat it to an oil and filter change and I suspect that new front brake pads are needed too - so my ongoing learning of vehicle maintenance continues. I must say that I am enjoying getting my hands dirty, and although I do still need an awful lot of guidance from knowledgable friends it's saving me a fortune.

Blocked in by Pete's M3, but it still outclasses it.......
Blocked in by Pete's M3, but it still outclasses it.......
The Range Rover seems to have become a minor celebrity too, and recently featured in Classic & Sportscar magazine (Jan 2010 issue) making me very proud indeed. It seems that old Range Rovers are very much 'in Vogue' at the moment (see what I did there?) as when I was at a charity dinner recently, Harry Metcalfe from Evo came over to show me some pictures of his own RR as he knew I had one and wanted to show me his own purchase. Needless to say that his is far nicer than mine but I am surprised at just how many people in the car industry own (and enjoy) older Range Rovers, and how many people know that I have one through reading PistonHeads. It seems that the Rangie has many fans despite its browness.

The Porsche 944S2 has been loaned to a friend for a few months as I wasn't really using it and my mate needed a car. To be honest, I know he will look after it like it is his own and I am happy that it is having regular use during the cold weather so it's a good outcome for both of us. I expect to get it back in May at which point I will need to make the agonising decision as to whether it stays with me, or heads to the PistonHeads classifieds. A decision that I am not looking forward to making if I'm honest.

Finally I am still pootling around on a Honda Varadero 125, and really should put in for my full test soon as I now feel ready for it. Buzzing along at an indicated 75mph is only fun for so long, but the two- wheeled bug has well and truly bitten and the severe depreciation already suffered by two to three year old 'big' bikes is severely tempting me...

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Author: Garlick

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