A TVR Chimaera Is Not A Dodge Viper

TVRs in any condition are always exciting to see stateside.

Whilst crashing some other car site’s reader meetup I spied something British, sporty, and right-hand drive. It looked a little like a Viper, but it wasn’t.

It was a TVR Chimaera.

  • Car: 1994 TVR Chimaera 4.5L
  • Location: Troy, Michigan
  • Photog: Kevin Williams (IG + Twit @gaytona_usa)
  • Camera: Canon EOS M50

TVR’s one of those companies that has been making hot shit for a long time, but we constantly forget it exists, because it’s tiny and weird and mysterious. For decades, it’s been releasing V8-powered, crazily styled roadsters, coupes, and convertibles, but it doesn’t exactly build these cars in any great quantity. It has no real presence in the U.S., too. TVR is such a quintessentially British brand; most of its cars are right-hand drive, and they hardly ever bothered to homologate and send a few our way in the United States.

This 1994 example found its way into the owner’s hands sometime in late 2020. Now that COVID’s seemingly breaking, and the weather is good, it’s time to show that thing off.

This car is powered by a Rover 4.5-liter V8, sent to the rear wheels via a manual transmission. For some reason, I thought TVRs got a Ford Modular V8, but Twitter quickly pointed out that, no, it did not. Apparently, it’s not super uncommon to swap in a GM LS motor in these cars, but I think I might’ve been thinking about another boisterously-styled coupe from the 1990s — the Panoz Esperante. That car definitely did come with a variant of Ford’s Modular V8.

If you’re not paying attention, you’d likely think the TVR Chimaera was some sort of three-quarter scale Dodge Viper. It kinda looks Viper-ish in its proportions, and the red color certainly doesn’t help the confusion. 

“Yeah, some one said they saw another one rolling around Detroit, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t,” said the owner. We both agreed, they probably got it confused with an old Viper. Or maybe a Miata with a body kit. 

Kevin Williams
Kevin Williams

Kevin's been into cars his entire life, anything from the tiny kei cars in Japan, to the maybe not-so-good American barges of the 1980s. He's flipped more than 25 cars, only lost money twice, and has known how to make his dollar stretch as far as it can. If he ain't talking about cars, he's probably snacking on something sweet and cakey. Contact the author here.