Brute Force Brit: 1994 TVR Chimaera

This 1994 TVR Chimaera is a rare bird in the U.S., a right-hand drive performance car that will still raise the hair on the back of your neck with its light-weight construction and powerful Rover V8 under the hood. This model was never sold stateside, so it’s here as a result of being old enough to slide under the 25-year exemption for gray market vehicles. When it was introduced, the out-of-the-box performance upstaged many of the performance cars sold stateside, and even today few cars come anywhere close to a TVR for a deliciously raw driving experience. Find the Chimaera here on eBay listed for $19,995 or best offer.

I’ve come close to owning a TVR on at least one occasion, and it remains a marque I’d like to get more acquainted with. For any company to stick with the formula of building fairly austere cars with big power for as long as it has, there’s got to be something in the recipe that keeps people coming back for more. While much has been written about abysmal build quality and wonky electronics, those who have driven cars like this seem to quickly forget about the foibles of TVR ownership once they get into the driver’s seat. In 1994, this car was reaching 60 in under five seconds with a top speed approaching 160 – that’s incredible considering what the performance of a comparable Porsche or Corvette was at the time.

Incredible because a company the size of TVR was essentially a flea on the back of a Bernese mountain dog when you compare the size of its competitors in the performance car space. The Rover V8 was an antiquated design years before it found a home in the Chimaera, but that’s sort of besides the point – after all, it was a good engine that had been thoroughly tested and improved over years of use, not unlike the 5.0L V8 that powered numerous Ford and Mercury products. The seller notes the engine runs smoothly and that it’s just been serviced, which includes the valley pan and new head gaskets. Spark plugs and tires are new as well.

Interiors were always beautiful when a TVR was new, but looked fairly tired in short order. This one is holding up fairly well, but you can tell there are some miles on it. Yellow over blue is a sharp combination and one we don’t see all that often anymore. The seller notes the cosmetics are decent but that there are plenty of small flaws up close; inside the car, the power windows are noted as being sluggish and the speedometer needle sticks at 30 m.p.h. The Chimaera is a rare bird here in the U.S.A., and the right-hand-drive steering may be a turn-off for some (I learned this the hard way when selling my RHD BMW 320). Not having the hassle of importing one yourself? Well worth the pain of acclimating yourself to the other side of the car.

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Comments

  1. Don Page

    Good looking car. Reminds me of the Honda S2000. It wasn’t mentioned, but the body looks like it’s fiberglass.

    Like 3
  2. Phlathead Phil

    What a Nitchen (just use a ‘b’ instead) ride!

    Why can’t we have certain cars in USA?

    This makes no sense at all.

    NEVER trust your car hobby to the Gub’mint!!!

    Like 2
  3. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    Chassis on these can rot, be careful.

    Like 2
    • Derek

      Aye, but at least these unbolt – Vixens (etc) are ‘glassed in.

  4. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    It sold at auction in 2018 with the same miles for $8k so quite the mark up.
    Also it’s had chassis restored apparently.

    Like 2
  5. Larry

    @UK Paul. Was that an auction in England? For comparable values, check British Eba.y listings. There always are quite a few TVRs for sale there.

    Like 1
    • UK Paul 🇬🇧

      @Larry, that was this exact car in the article.
      It was sold here and shipped to the US and has done no miles since.
      By the way the MOT history is a bit odd on this car many years missing. Maybe it sat unused. There could be other reasons but it did say when it was sold in the Uk last the chassis was renovated. It had been unused though for close to 10 years 2008 to 2018.

      Like 1
  6. SMS

    Yes it can go 160 but these are not easy to drive fast. Had the pleasure of driving one when I lived in Japan. Seems almost any car you imagine can be found on the roads in Japan.

    That said they are an absolute blast to drive with the power, light weight, sound and sharp handling.

    Reminded me of a friend’s locost 7 with a Hayabusa motor. Great fun in autocross events and tiring on the street because you could never relax.

    Like 1
  7. Dave Mathers

    Sweet ride, well worth the price. It will only increase in value going forward.

  8. Russell

    The “Rover V8” also known as the
    Buick 215 V8

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