The TVR Chimaera was launched at the British Motor Show in 1992 and, unusually for TVR, the ‘show’ car looked as if it was actually production-ready, and so it proved. At the time, TVR were basking in the adulation heaped upon the Griffith, and the Chimaera only served to reinforce the perception that here was a home-grown manufacturer capable of mixing it with the big boys. The ‘S’ series of cars were, at the time, still selling well, but with the advent of the Chimaera, TVR’s management knew that their immediate future was V8 powered. Both the ‘S’ and Griffith range were all-out sports models, and the Chimaera’s emphasis was slightly softer, but it was all fairly relative and in Blackpool parlance soft and TVR are not normally bedfellows. Legend has it that during the styling of the Chimaera, TVR boss Peter Wheeler’s dog, Ned, took a bite out of one of the foam models. Wheeler decided that he liked the new styling feature and incorporated the recesses to house the front indicators!
The Chimaera’s underpinnings were based on the Griffith’s, which were in turn based on the Tuscan racer. Different dampers and an anti-roll bar were fitted, as was a more accommodating boot to reinforce the new car’s Grand Touring image. The Chimaera was originally destined to house the all-new AJP8 engine designed and built by TVR. Development issues surrounding this engine meant that the trusty Rover V8 based engines were used – 240bhp 4.0 (also available in 275bhp High-Compression) 280bhp 4.3, 285bhp 4.5-litre or 340bhp 5.0-litre capacity. Another little-known fact is that the Chimaera was planned to replace the Rover-engined Griffith, but demand for both models was sufficient to justify their existence. The 4.3-litre car lasted until 1994, whereupon it was replaced by the 4.0-litre High Compression model, the range-topping 5.0-litre model being introduced shortly before. The 4.0-litre HC, in turn, gave way to the 4.5-litre in 1996, and the base 4.0-litre was deleted in 1998.
This lovely example was delivered from new to its first Dutch owner in 1995, finished in the stylish colour scheme of dark green with a Plum Red Leather interior. Showing under 60,000 kilometres recorded from new, and offered with relevant service books, this is a nicely presented example of what has become a true modern classic.