The TVR Chimaera was launched at the British Motor Show in 1992. Unusually for TVR, the show car looked as if it was 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, which in Blackpool parlance is like moving from diamond to tungsten carbide.
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, of 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 Griffiths, 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. This in itself was ironic, as the Cerbera was initially a lengthened coupe version of the Chimaera. Imitation certainly is the sincerest form of flattery at TVR.
2001 saw a further series of modifications. The headlamps became faired in units and the tail lights were changed for a cluster of four lights in one pod. Inside the car you'd find aluminium detailing to the instruments. Minor changes to the suspension set up were also made to improve the Chimaera's roadholding and ride.