The Silverstone Classic Sale 2016

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1997 TVR Chimaera 4.0

Lot No.: 505

Registration: P200TVR
Chassis Number: SDLDCC4P1VB011233
Engine Number: 37A40P4833
Number of cylinders: 8
CC: 3952
Year of Manufacture: 1997
Sold for (£): 13,500

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 HC, in turn, gave way to the 4.5 in 1996, and the base 4.0 was deleted in 1998. The Chimaera range underwent a small facelift in 1997, with changes to the nose, tail and internal detailing to make the car more closely resemble the Cerbera.  Anyway, no matter what happened, the Chimaera played an important role in a golden era in the history of TVR Sports Cars and was the manufacturer's best-selling model at the time.

This 1997 TVR Chimaera 4.0 litre, registration number 'P200 TVR', was supplied new by Christopher Neil Ltd and first registered on the 1st of March 1997. It's been enjoyed by its one registered owner from new and has covered a mere 33,000 miles, impressively supported by a comprehensive service history with some 13 stamps in the book (11 of these being carried out by Christopher Neil) and a history file with 16 MoT certificates present. Powered by the ubiquitous Rover 4.0-litre V8 engine producing 240 bhp, and with the car weighing only 1060kg, it is said to go extremely well. The vendor informs us that “it drives as it should with no apparent faults, and everything works as it should. There are no known issues, no overheating, the gearbox and axle are silent and the engine is holding the makers oil pressure when hot”.

Finished in 'Put your Sunglasses on' Red with similarly coloured carpets and a contrasting Grey leather interior this TVR is in excellent condition perhaps explained by the fact that it has been kept under cover in a heated garage all its life.The invoice file also contains the details of the car being 'Waxoyled' on 3/9/04 and 15/4/09. P200 TVR is presented to Auction with an MoT certificate valid until April 2017 which was issued with no advisories and was last serviced by Christopher Neil 17/11/15.

The Chimaera is without doubt one of the best ways to access the joys of TVR ownership. Less intimidating and more thoroughly sorted than the Cerbera and Griffith models, it nonetheless offers 95% of the thrills with a tiny dash of practicality. If you are contemplating buying a TVR, you will doubtless be aware that they have one or two little peculiarities, and the best way to minimise potential pitfalls is to find a one-owner, low mileage car that has been well looked after, which is exactly what we have here. But, no matter, it'll all become worthwhile as soon as the road opens up and you hear the growl of that big V8.