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TVR Chimaera 4.0 - Report 004

TVR Chimaera running costs

Spend any time with Kotto Williams and he'll wax lyrical about how perfect and unflappable his TVR is. Perhaps that's why he's decided to spend thousands modifying all aspects of its driving ability...

There’s a sign that hangs up on my mechanic’s office wall, next to some old memorabilia of his time as a Ferrari master technician and as a Porsche technician. It reads “Champagne motoring on a beer budget”.

And the TVR fits that bill because I’m going to stick my head above the parapet (whatever the fuck a parapet is) and say the TVR is a reliable car. Ones armed with the Rover V8 at least. It’s had a good year as a daily, getting me from home to work in a time measurable with only an atomic clock. I’m not sure what it is but it makes me drive in what I can describe as a caddish manner. The V8’s torque and the low weight of the car it’s paired with just urges me to go faster, like the bad influence of a friend whispering 'put your foot down'. That friend is the straight-through exhaust, and by whispering I mean bellowing into my ear.

Even with the daily driving tasks, it took me and my appointed female to Normandy in the summer for an old-fashioned grand tour without issue. TVR intended it to be a grand tourer compared to the Griffith sports car, but it’s a bit like putting Muhammad Ali in a dinner jacket and expecting him to play a concerto. It’s still quite violent despite a softer appearance and a few hours on the road causes tinnitus. Topping my to-do list is the switchable exhaust which I forgot to do last year…Still.

Back home, a few months after the Chimaera developed an issue that cost approx. £600 to fix. The distributor’s hall effect sensor packed in (I bought things to test/diagnose such as an AFM and a new coil hence the inflated cost), as did the rotor cap. Whilst at it, I had the worn gearbox bushings replaced too. The bill from Automotive Cardiff excluding parts was £360 - I know for a fact doing similar parts on a Porsche would be triple. Luckily the abundance of Rover V8s and the unfair brand of “car parts bin” manufacturing is brilliant because it means parts are relatively cheap.

A TVR OEM Bilstein shock absorber for my TVR is £180… An OEM Bilstein for an Aston Martin is £800. To service my TVR is £300 - a Maserati 4200 is £1300. Because it’s cheap, I can splash out on frivolities like brake upgrades and performance modifications that improve low-speed drivability and the ever-welcome increased power.

And there is quite a lot you can do to a TVR – almost as much as any JDM hero. There are a good few performance/maintenance specialists who all do their own parts, upgrades, and restoring measures. It seems to be an endless list of things you can do to a TVR to make it better in the manner you see fit - even down to an upgraded chassis and naturally aspirated engine reconfigurations that can add up to 400bhp plus like the cars in the Tuscan Racer series. In a car that weighs 1,000kg, it’s like giving Muhammed Ali an assault rifle. If you weren’t scared before, you are now.

I’ve decided on a fast-road setup for my car and a few superficial improvements will likely change because there is a lot to offer on these cars. I’ve only really started looking into it, and my mechanic is prone to long Godfather-esque staring if I suggest doing something that’ll upset him – e.g. buying a Ferrari or modifying my TVR so it’s up to him what’ll get fitted too.

The first port of call will be to attend a rolling road day to grab a baseline, before doing similar for the geometry and suspension setup as the car already has adjustable Protech suspension. Then I’ll look to fit some UHP or even track day tyres, either Yokohama or Michelin. After that, it’ll be a 280mm front brake upgrade and a baffled sump or Accusump accumulator. Finally, I’ve promised myself I’ll get around to sorting that active exhaust.


Date acquired - December 2019

Total mileage - 81,173

Recent mileage - 760

MPG - 19

Expenditure - £600


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