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Where do I start ?? Been looking for a TVR for about 9 months, searching t'internet, M.O.D., Autotrader et al and managed to find the perfect car (touch wood) 8 miles away. My Blue Chimaera 450 is a 99 model, 1 owner can with full TVR history. It has the Griffith 500 alloys, PAS, leven switches and knobs and the very rare, factory Air Con. I read all the reports about build quality and reliability before buying, but didn't let that put me off. I have been driving the car daily since January (the test drive was fun in the snow), and have had no problems what-so-ever. On my car, the only problem is between the windows and the centre roof panel. The gap is large enough for rain to enter when the roof is on in exactly the right place, when slightly off, the gap can be 5 mm. This is due to be fixed shortly with some after market rubber seals which are cut to size. Otherwise, everything seems to be ok. There is nothing better than dropping a gear in a tunnel or built up area and listening to the noise of the V8 burble and watching the heads turn. I still can't stop grinning when finding a flowing bend, or long straight when I can just press on the accelerator and watch the surroundings disapear into the distance. And here lies the secret to Chim and TVR ownership. Don't be agressive, be smooth and steady. There is no need to just drop the clutch at every set of traffic lights, to try and get the back end out on every roundabout. Being smooth and steady is not boring, but very rewarding when you get it right. I cannot remember cornering at such high speeds, or accelerating so quickly, and my right foot hardly ever reaches the floor. Anyone thinking of buying a Chim, or any sports car should go into it with their eyes open. Servicing needs to be done by the dealer, or a specialist only. This means higher costs, but greater piece of mind and resale value. The benefits far outway the drawbacks............ In my opin ion, TVR ownership should be a must for everyone. It should be written into the constitution..........there is nothing better, and I look forward to my continued bliss.
I have owned the Chimaera 5 litre for a year. I have had some interesting experiences with it. I think the best way to write it is to put it in headings. The Car in general: Oh my god!!!! I have modifed Turbo cars in the past and i know what speed is. A 5 litre V8 is another matter....the Americans say there is no substitute for capacity, they're so right. The Engine feels so strong and useable. There is however a big difference between the 4l and the 5l with regards to power. The handling is fine, however they seem to be prone to worn shocks and bushes. I wouldnt advise throwing this car around winding country roads, it is perfect for drag racing and medium twisty roads. The build quality is terrible... I love the car but can admit that. The body work is poorly fitted. The paint work however is very good. The hood and back window are ok but prone to looking old very quickly. The market has dropped out of the resale price so you can pick them up cheapley, however be aware you may lose a lot on resale. Aftersales and Servicing....second to none!!! Its that simple. I have had the pleasure (and normally dealing with garages i cant say that, you know what i mean all you Vauxhall drivers) of dealing with professionals who are also enthusiasts. I know that advertising is not allowed here so i wont mention the name of the last people I dealt with, but they are in Birmingham and are a Team based Centrally!! My advice - is if you can afford it get it...its cheaper than a Ferrari, sound better than a Porsche and is just as fast. Keith Ok round 2.... Some more detail you want, some more detail you shall get. When you first sit inside a TVR Chimaera, the first thing you notice is the sexy dash. The second is the seat belt requiring the equivalent of a sexual position to get the damn thing. I bought some seat belt pads....to all you ladies out there, i now understand how painful it is to have that "darned str ap cutting in me"! The seating position is fine, i'm 6 foot 2 so for me to fit into a car comfortably and then being able to get out again, its a great bonus. I tried the same in an MGF...i think its still in my butt cheeks. The seats are comfortable and with the steering wheel they are adjustable to your specific needs. A word of caution, the handbrake is...how can i put this...a testosterone packed strength test. It is very heavy to pull up and lock, be careful you may wake up and find your car in the middle of the road having rolled off your drive. Then to actually release the handbrake again it takes a great deal of strength and 20 years of training. For those left handed blokes out there, maybe not as much training is required.!!! The general feeling on the streets about TVR's is they are unreliable, I havent had a problem with mine at all. It starts every morning and begs to be driven. Keep the oil topped up and check the fluids regularly. Then take your time warming her up from cold, never, I repeat that, never get her screaming when she's cold. The engine is well made and forgiving, however we are talking about the entire mechanical package here, so treat her well and she will keep costs low and excitement high. The switches and dials that were made for the TVR are lovely and smack of 60's motoring. The plastic indicator/washer lever and driver heater switch smack of a Ford designer with a sense of humour. Thats right, you may find on the older Chimeara's that you share the same bloodline as a Ford. The rear light covers are off a Ford Fiesta and the stalks on the column as mentioned are Ford, which Ford i dont know and frankly dont care. Its bad enough knowing its Ford. Final thoughts... imagine driving down main street in the beautiful bright sun under a clear blue sky. The radio is on and Britney is singing the same song.You pull slow to a halt at the traffic lights and sit there looking straight up wit h your head back, staring to where the roof should be if it werent locked securley in the boot. The gentle hum of the V8 calming you as you wait for the lights to turn. As the time draw close you watch the stragglers cross the road in front of you, the dear old man, inching his way along wondering to himself whether he is going to get to the toilet in time. Then.....the light goes RED/AMBER, you see your chance, you floor the throttle and dump the clutch. The Engine roars the wheels spin. The "chance" dear friends is not to leave a skid mark on the road, rather, to leave one in the dear old mans undies. (10 points) Keith
Ok, facts first. I do not own one yet, but I am picking one up tomorrow. So I can comment on trawling around web sites and the classified ads looking for a nice tidy Chimaera. Here's my experience. 1. There are lots nad lots and lots to buy out there and the prices slumped to a low back in November 2000 but are picking up again because of the summer. This means you have a lot of choice and should not jump at the first thing you see that is in your price range. 2. Engine size. basically there is a 4.0, 4.5 and 5.0 litre version. The 4.0 can hardly be viewed as underpowered as it has the TVR modified V8 lump that used to reside in range rovers. It's fast and is tuned for low down torque, the 4.0 litre is a great choice especially if this is going to be your first performance car. The 4.5 litre does add quickness but you need to be a bit more careful in the wet. The 5.0 litre is putting you into a slightly different ball game and will give you a bit of rear end crisis in the dry and wet if you drive it without respect. (The one I drove wheel spun in fourth gear!) Obviously the fuel economy (paradox really!) is poor on all models especially the 5.0litre. 3. There is a wide range of prices for cars of the same age and mileage. Some people can't bear to think that the car they bought new three years ago is worth 16K less now. Don't support their anguish, be hard with your price, you will find the one you want at the price you want. 4. If you can afford it go for the post 97 models. They have a better reliability history and have sexier looks for example the rear light clusters are gorgeous and don't look like they come from a ford fiesta. 5. Get a TVR specialist to check a car over before you buy it privately. there are loads of specialists out there who will visit a car and do a roadside inspection. the AA does a really comprehensive one, bumper to bumper (actually the Chi has no bumber s!) for about £100. 6. Dealers, my advice is don't buy a used Chi from a main dealer. Without exception I found them to be vastly overpriced eg: I am picking up a 98 4.0L 20K miles tomorrow (gloat gloat) and I saw an identical car in a main dealer for FIVE GRAND MORE. Good luck guys, you'll never sell it. 7. Buy a car that has been used regularly. This means that alot of the hand built new car niggles have been sorted out. 8. Use www.topmarques.co.uk to check what second hand prices are doing and follow the link to Parkers web site to get their trade view of what a fair price is. 9. Check out www.adrianblyth.co.uk, he's a great guy that loves TVRs and sells them very quickly because they are good cars at sensible prices, he also puts problems right before selling them and gives you a warranty. 10. Use Sunninghill insurance. they do special TVR policies via royal sun alliance and I couldn't believe what a good deal I got and they are very helpful and friendly. So there you go, 10 top tips that I hope help you out in your search. I'll write a test drive report tomorrow once I've picked mine up. Bye!
I've had one of these for just over a year now - 1999 model, 4.0 litre. For most of that time it has been my (and of course my wife's) only car. Perhaps not the most obvious choice, especially when you live in the middle of London, but I have seen every myth that surrounds TVRs exploded over the past year. Firstly, practicality; I don't think you'll find a bigger boot on any saloon car, several weeks shopping, golf clubs, various clothes and other undefined detritus fit in with room to spare. Reliability is amazing, compared with everything else I've ever owned (high performance and regular motors alike) it is far the most reliable. Handling, OK it isn't an elise. But neither is it a shermann tank. The Chimera handles better than every car I've driven with the exception of a Lotus Elan S4. In the wet it is possible to get it sideways but only once you approach licence, not to mention A&E, threatening levels of recklessness. Build quality. Still looks great (when clean). The only complaint I'd have is that the Chimera, like the other TVRs, suffers more than most from stonechips - if you're going to get a darker coloured one (mine is purple) then get it diamondbrited (costs a couple of hundred quid but reduces the stonechip incidence). Otherwise the build quality is brilliant. Overheating. When? I have sat in traffic jams in Madrid (>34 degrees) with it running for over 3 hours and watched cars of many other makes melt all I suffered from was bad sunburn. Anyway, now that I've convinced the would be Volvo drivers that the Chimera is not the abberation that its name suggests we can get on to the important stuff. The comments above are the reasons you can spout of to the mother-in-law when she asks why you didn't get "one of those nice little Rovers like your cousin Egbert's . . . ". However, the real reasons for owning one of these are simpler: 1. It is faster than anything else you can buy for comparable money (except the 5.O litre and the Griff). 2. It looks good - people turn and stare (admit it, its what you want). Small boys wet themselves when they hear the engine note and boy-racers offer a grudging respect. I'd love to also say that women swoon but apparently we've to stick with demonstrable fact on this website. And after all 30% (and rising) of TVR owners are ladies. 3. The roof comes off. once a year when the sun comes out you can drive around feeling like a rock star and getting a good tan 4. And finally, Oh god! I have to say it! even though it is against my pinko, bleeding heart liberalism - this is THE british motor industry. All in all, this is the only true sports car that you can take to Sainsbury's in the morning and to the racetrack in the afternoon without having to compromise on either activity.
I myself do not own. I have driven one around Goodwood and it was an amazing experience. Even before this I knew that I had to have one. However, there are some things to consider when buying a TVR. 1. Make sure you choose the colour carefully! This is important when/if you come to sell it on. There are many nice looking bright yellow looking Tivs out there but actually buying one is a different story. Garages will often remind you of this important fact - take heed! 2. The model you buy is particularly important I feel now (Sept. 1st 2000) especially with the Tuscan arriving on our doorstep. The Chim is a great entry level car into the Tiv range, but because of this there are many on the market! Therefore it is harder to sell one at a 'reasonable price' because the demand for the new Tuscan is up i.e. with people selling there Tivs and buying the new Tuscan. An influx of new people into the market is needed. 3. The two points above are the most important, but one second point is also crucial, if not obvious, and that is, previous service history. Make sure there is one!
Having overcome a huge reliability problem over the last decade or so, it seems that the little car plant in Blackpool is turning out some little jems. Having driven in a friends car only once, I was questioning how I could remorgage my house to raise the cash to buy one for myself. The 4.5litre model is just about the best compromise, as the 5l is rather twitchy and over powered, but could 4l ever be described as under powered? The answer is clearly NO, but for value per pound, go for the 4.5L. Inside the car is plush, but not overt, dont expect air-con or navigation computers. The leather seats are cofortably close, and the pile of the carpets are suitably deep. The best aspect of this car is the sheer acelleration, it rocks! You dont have to even go over the ton to fully appreciate this car. The rear end isn't half as twitchy as some may suggest. Practically, the boot is spacious, designed around 2 sets of golf clubs. Security is good and the roof seals seem sound.
It all started off when I sold my Honda Fireblade and decided I wanted a motorbike with 4 wheels. You know, the kind of thing that terrifies the life out of you but leaves you grinning ear to ear. I found one. I guess I'm lucky as I use the TVR as a second car; to be honest I think it would be a real handful to drive every day. Don't forget you're talking about something that does 0-60 in 4.1 seconds, brakes as quick, has no power steering, a clutch so heavy my girlfriend physically can't depress it... The old stories about build quality are simply not justified in the newer cars. The only problem I've had was a minor oil leak (quick refit of the sump during servicing); otherwise it's been fantastic. You can't beat the sound made by gunning a car like the Chimaera - people just stop and stare and all passengers just hold on and smile. A good driver (who can exploit rear wheel drive) will have no problems with the handling either - but show respect. I once span the car on an early summer morning with a wee bit of dew on the road - and that was when accelerating in third gear! The boot is miles bigger than you'd think as it accomodates the roof panel which is solid. With the roof on the car I've had two sets of golf clubs and two sportsbags in the boot - and there's room behind the seats for more luggage too. The 5 litre (which I own) shares the same suspension, brakes etc as the Griffith, whilst the smaller engined cars have a different set up. I'd say buy the 4.5 or the 5 if you can afford it.... but let's face it the 4 litre is no slouch. If you appreciate driving - and I mean putting some effort in - and want to go very fast in a comfortable car (but with admittedly crap economy) go for it. You really won't regret it.