1999 TVR Chimaera: Reader Ride

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Kim Roberts' 1999 TVR Chimaera Kim Roberts' 1999 TVR Chimaera Kim Roberts' 1999 TVR Chimaera
1999 tvr chimaera 2 1999 tvr chimaera 2

Kim Roberts has always admired TVRs and says his 4-litre V8 Chimaera is a keeper

1999 TVR Chimaera: Reader Ride
Kim Roberts' 1999 TVR Chimaera


1999 TVR Chimaera

I have always loved sports cars and the Marcos and TVR were two marques I’d admired. This TVR came up for sale from the administrators of the failed TVR Australia business that imported cars in the late 1990s.

It was assembled and ADR complied in Malaysia and is a 1999 model. But I didn’t buy it until 2001 when it was put up for sale by the company’s administrators. It had an ADR plate but some time after owning it, all the TVR owners were contacted and told their cars didn’t comply and had to get another sticker stating it didn’t meet certain safety requirements. It didn’t bother me.

The Chimaera was one of TVRs longest running models. This one has a 4-litre V8 which is TVR’s re-engineered version of the ex-Buick 3.5-litre. TVR also made 4.5-litre and 5-litre versions for its other models including the Griffith.

The body is all fibreglass on a steel backbone chassis. The engine is set a long way back in the chassis - so much so that the exhaust headers face forward so the catalytic converters are up high in front of the engine in the space between the radiator.

This layout makes it a very balanced car through the corners and the engine is especially torquey and quick. It sprints 0-60mph in 4.8 seconds.

It’s not a scary car to drive as long as you drive sedately. It’s perfect with the hood off as a cruising car. But it can bite. I have had it sideways because I overcooked it through a corner, listening to its glorious exhaust note. It’s just a car you have to respect.

To close it off for winter, it has a solid kevlar roof panel that clips in place. It has never leaked which is unusual for this type of car. The panel slots into the boot and even when it’s in place, there’s a huge space for luggage. That’s not something you find in a convertible sports car.

It has some quirky features. On the centre console, behind the gear shifter, is a recessed knob. It looks like its part of the drivetrain but when twisted, it opens the doors. From the outside, the doors open by pressing a recessed silver button behind the door. Some TVRs had their door openers under the mirrors.

This was my daily driver in Perth for three years and though it’s a very docile car – until you start to push it – I grew tired of it in the traffic.

I had a chance to sell it but my wife preferred to keep it. She’s right because I really like this car and it’s just a great car to drive. I don’t intend to sell it. It’s a keeper.



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