Have you considered buying a classic TVR? Maybe you thought that buying such a two-seat sports car was beyond your reach? This needn’t be the case. Prices for good condition models are comparable with new small family hatchbacks and they should hold their value well if looked after. Once you have decided which model you’re interested in it is very important to check for common faults – this can save you from expensive repair bills in the long run.
We will look briefly at two models, namely the Griffith and the Chimaera. The original Griffith was showcased in 1990, with the Chimaera following a short time later. The Griffith is your archetypal roadster with a big V8 out front, with the Chimaera satisfying those who required a bigger boot and a slightly more forgiving ride. Both models were fitted with a Rover sourced V8 and engine sizes started at 4 litres, eventually ending up at 5 litres. The engine is fairly old school by today’s standards, but it is easily tunable and reliable if properly maintained.
What follows are some key points to check when considering a purchase of either model. Not only will this give piece of mind, but they should also be useful bargaining tools:
· Firstly the camshaft will last around 50000 miles, expect to pay around £1500 for a new one.
· Oil leaks are common on this engine, with the main culprit being the rocker cover gasket.
· Listen for blowing from the exhausts; this could indicate either manifold gasket leaks or cracks in the exhaust. Stainless steel replacements are available but will be pricey. Good news from the gearbox and clutch though, they are very durable if not continually abused.
· Suspension and brakes are also up to the job and should need little attention; save for suspension bushes though as they do wear out.
· Another area to check over thoroughly is the body work, inspect for rust and crash damage, its worth pointing out that these models don’t have bumpers – so any dings and knocks will be made straight to the bodywork.
Because of the age of these models, you will probably be buying private or from a specialist dealer. Don’t shy away from high mileage examples however, as long as the service book has all its stamps and the work has been carried out by someone who knows about TVR’s you wont go far wrong and could pick up a bargain. Finding an insurance broker who deals with classic cars will also save you time and money, without you having to trawl through lots of companies.
Hopefully buying a classic TVR will be an enjoyable experience, what better way to start looking forward to summer!