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Author: Subject: Change to a Chimaera?
pekwah1

posted on 29/9/21 at 06:21 PM Reply With Quote
Change to a Chimaera?

Hi guys,

Not sure Iím really wanting to change but just been thinking lately about something slightly more practical but still fun and staying away from anything too modern or ĎsafeíÖ

Has anyone had any experience with a TVR chimaera and how did it really compare to a kit car?

I know it wonít have the handling capabilities but does it still have a good sense of occasion in comparison?

Just looking for any real world experience to help me make my mind upÖ.

Thanks Andy

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Jed

posted on 29/9/21 at 07:11 PM Reply With Quote
I've not owned a Chimera but I went from 2 x Westfields to a TVR S3 2.9. I used to describe that as a glorified kit car - much to the annoyance of some other TVR drivers. But in reality it is a tubular steel chassis with a GRP body bolted on and another manufacturers engine. Very simple and easy to work on and I don't see why a Chimera would be much different.
As a car I found the S3 much more usable than a Westfield and it worked very well on a weeks trip to France. The Chimera has an even bigger boot so is more practical in that respect. The Targa top works very well in out mixed climate - panels out and the rear screen up gives a much more pleasant cabin space on cold evenings or frosty mornings. The handling was fine for public roads although the steering was a bit heavy especially at parking speeds but the Chimera has PAS iirc so that isn't an issue.

Just looking at the prices and they still are reasonable. Now if only I could justify replacing the Golf R estate with a Chimera......

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tegwin

posted on 29/9/21 at 10:12 PM Reply With Quote
I had a chim for a couple of years. Really loved it.

Sounded glorious, a giggle to drive but not massively fast in a straight line or on twisty stuff.

More of a gt car.

Id have another one in an instant but Iíd want to retrim the interior as the materials and design really show the cars age.

I dare say you could improve performance by upgrading and tuning the suspension systemÖ

As with any tvr look for rust on the chassis outriggers. They are pretty simple cars to fix if the plastic body is ok.





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Sam_68

posted on 30/9/21 at 07:37 AM Reply With Quote
I had a Griffith 500, and hated it.

Contrary to Tegwin's view, I thought that it was brutally quick (for its era) in a straight line, though that my be down to the engine: a 5-litre HC, big valve Griffith is a quite different beast to a 'base model' 4-litre Chimaera. The instant torque made it feel a lot quicker than most 'Seven'-type cars I've driven, even though some of those had quicker acceleration on paper, and I saw over 160mph on GPS on one occasion.

It did also admittedly have a sense of occasion; it looked great, the interior was lovely, I thought, (though the standard seats are a bit crap - squabs too narrow for my fat arse) and it made a nice noise.

But the handling was bad. REALLY bad. So bad that I took it to a couple of specialists, only to be told TADTS, whereon I measured and checked the geometry myself and found that the rear roll centre was moving about all over the place, dynamically. The steering geometry is also heavily compromised by the use of Ford components... it's heavy (unless you get one with power steering) and tramlines and kicks back more than is acceptable.

Again, in fairness, a boggo 4-litre Chimp with power steering might be less of an animal - the road tests at the time all agreed that the 500 was a step too far in power output for the Griffith.

The chassis isn't very stiff because there's negligible bracing to close the underside of the backbone, and some of the detailing made my skin crawl (for example, one of the vertical tubes at the front is deliberately buckled - it looks like its been crushed in a vice - to give enough clearance to the steering arms.

I kept mine for about 9 months before deciding that the amount of development work it would have needed to make it acceptable simply wasn't worth the effort, and I traded it back for an Elise Sport 160.


[Edited on 30/9/21 by Sam_68]

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sebastiaan

posted on 30/9/21 at 07:57 AM Reply With Quote
Not really a chimaera, but when I swapped from MK Indy to an Alfa GT Junior (the old pretty one) I did 5 times the normal mileage per year instantly. So more useable: yep!
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pekwah1

posted on 30/9/21 at 08:02 AM Reply With Quote
Thanks guys, yeh the more I think about it the more it makes sense, I know Iíll miss the striker for the few weeks we get that blistering sun in old blighty and probably on the track days, but again want to be able to use it a bit more and the missus isnít too keen when itís longer distance/freezing/raining.

Think Iím going to go and have a look at a few and maybe thereíll be a for sale post fairly soonÖ..!

Cheers
Andy

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adithorp

posted on 30/9/21 at 02:34 PM Reply With Quote
Was it James May that described TVR ownership, as being like kit car ownership in reverse: You start of with a car and slowly end up with a pile of components.





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Mr Whippy

posted on 30/9/21 at 03:14 PM Reply With Quote
Well my neighbour has one and it seems to spend 99% of the time up on ramps with something new falling off looks nice but seems just a total pile of junk... Even my kids call it the "rubbish car" when we pass! I'm trying to remember the last time I saw it actually go somewhere at least he has the battery always on charge.

He also has a classic VW Beetle which is even less useless, I think that drove for a couple of weeks before the engine came out and is still in the garage in bits like 4 years ago

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fishywick

posted on 30/9/21 at 04:36 PM Reply With Quote
I had a 400 Chimaera for 7 years and loved it. I may well have another sometime. This was after Tigers and Strikers by the way.
It had PAS and a decent boot, went to Italy in it twice, not without incident, but not on a breakdown truck either. Thay are pretty simple and most things are a DIY fix. It certainly had a sense of occasion although I would not call it fast. Handling was secure but had to be careful in the wet.

Things to look out for -
Outriggers and to a lesser extent wishbones and the whole chassis. TVR powder coating was s***e particularly after about 1996.
Original alarm is always troublesome and needs replacing.
Wiring loom is mostly Range Rover, if the car has been left outside long this can be troublesome.
Hoods and interiors wear but can be replaced reasonably.
The Pistonheads forum is a great source of information.

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James

posted on 30/9/21 at 05:32 PM Reply With Quote
Always fancied a Tuscan myself.

Love the look of the front and the way the headlights remind me of the Shadows in Babylon 5!





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perksy

posted on 30/9/21 at 11:26 PM Reply With Quote
I think the saying goes "TVR, designed in a pub and built in a shed"

I've driven a few and seriously looked at buying one and its still not completely out of my mind yet
The heart says "yes", but the brain says "no".

You've got to get into the TVR ethos of what they are and what they offer, their not an SLK Merc, but then their not supposed to be

Have a good read on the TVR forum on Pistonheads.com as that's a good source of information

Lovely noise and when you look at the Griffith and the Tuscan I think they are body shapes that were ahead of their time and will never date

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Sam_68

posted on 1/10/21 at 08:41 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by perksy
I think the saying goes "TVR, designed in a pub and built in a shed"


"Built in Blackpool - by donkeys" is the other one.

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pekwah1

posted on 1/10/21 at 09:31 AM Reply With Quote
Haha, Iíve got no illusions about build quality etc but as well as the horror stories you also hear plenty of positive stuff back.

At the end of the day I like the building and fabrication aspect so happy to get my hands dirty, must be worth it for the noise alone right!

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gingerprince

posted on 1/10/21 at 04:01 PM Reply With Quote
I had a Griffith 500 for a couple of years as a daily driver. Obviously a lot more usable daily than an MK - I even drove it home in the snow once!

The 5L was pretty cheeky. Totally different to the BEC, and very "mechanical" gearshift, but pleasing in its own way...

Bwaaaaaaaaaa.......click...........Bwraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap....click......bwraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa....etc!

Handling wasn't brilliant - the roll on the motorway at naughty speeds was unsettling! Could be improved with Nitrons or similar.

Never left me stranded, though it always needed some love every service - radiator, clutch etc. Nearest it got to leaving me stranded was it had a habbit of not starting when hot. The wire to the starter motor got heat soaked from the engine and the resistance used to get so high it wouldn't turn over. Had to wait 30 minutes for it to cool. There was an aftermarket mod to sort that, I just never did.

Sold it 15 years ago - and it would be worth twice what I got for it now Having said that, it would probably have cost me more in upkeep than the increase in value - well, that's what I tell myself to feel better.

Having said that, when I sold it I replaced it with both a WRX and an MK Indy - both of which I still own today.

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Mr Whippy

posted on 1/10/21 at 04:03 PM Reply With Quote
Tbh if you are happy to get your hands dirty and want to work on cars why the hell not get one. It will certainly keep you amused and still a lot less work than building a kit car. These kind of cars unfortunately usually end up in the hands of people with no skill or money and suffer for it. Buy the best example you can afford as it will cost you less in the long run.
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pigeondave

posted on 4/10/21 at 02:17 PM Reply With Quote
As someone else mentioned, get yourself onto Pistonheads as it was originally set up as a TVR forum outside of the TVRCC

I looked at getting one before the Fury.

They also recommend getting the book by Steve Heath and read it cover to cover. The TVR folk call this the bible.

There was a strong TVR club in Horsham, I don't know if it's still about. I spend the day with them when they sent the petition to Downing St. It was a big convoy type affair. Everyone met at the Ace cafe.

Go in with your eyes open and check those out riggers.

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pekwah1

posted on 4/10/21 at 02:41 PM Reply With Quote
Thanks for the advice.

My striker is now for sale on here after having a quick look at a chim over the weekend.
Outriggers didnít look the best so probably wonít go for this one but yes will take my time and find one that looks decent.

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phelpsa

posted on 4/10/21 at 07:57 PM Reply With Quote
I bought a Chimaera 450 last year and absolutely love it! Just got back from a 2000mile trip around Spain and Portugal and it was perfect, great cruiser, fun when the roads get twisty and of course spectacular in the tunnels

I drove the 400, 450 and 500 and I think the 450 is the sweet spot. Some say the earlier 430 with the rover box is the pick of the bunch, but I preferred the look of the mk2. I bought a non-pas car and fitted electrohydraulic PAS with a Subaru rack, cost about £300 and saved a chunk on the purchase price!




[Edited on 4-10-21 by phelpsa]

[Edited on 4-10-21 by phelpsa]

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