TVR Chimaera brought back to life by Ultimate Finish
It takes a certain type of car enthusiast to invest in a TVR. You won’t be averse to taking the odd risk, you’ll need a fair bit of patience and it’s more than likely you’ll be a bit of a thrill seeker. But, ultimately, it will be worth it.
In 1993 the Blackpool based manufacturer unveiled their latest offering to cater for the above – the Chimaera. Like its predecessor, the Griffith, it rumbled onto the scene with a Rover V8 engine – the original plan with the Chimaera was to power it with an exciting all new in-house constructed AJP8 engine. These plans however were laid to rest due to development issues – it’s the type of setback so typical of the way TVR operated, but as ever they found their way forward, somehow.
Unusually, at the unveiling, the general look of the prototype was pretty much the finished article and that proved enough for many suitors to sign on the dotted line there and then.
We took in this 1995 5-litre V8 edition for pre-sale preparation, with the dealer advising us that prior to arriving to us, there was an enormous amount of decontamination they had already spent time removing.
The Chimaera had been sitting still for the best part of 10 years and in that time faced exposure to a thick layer of mud, leaves, grime and other contaminants along the way. We would obviously be carrying out a thorough pre-wash and wash of our own as we do with any detailing service to ensure remaining contaminants were fully wiped out.
It’s not just the exterior which required treating either. Inside the Chimaera things are really in need of attention – most of which being superficial cosmetics. The 2-seater Chimaera is kitted out with a snooker baize green, currently home to plenty of dust and dirt collected down the years.
The TVR wears the beautiful Starmist green which features a lovely metallic flick and prior to beginning, there was already a nice preview of what the paint had to offer with a pretty bead evident from an existing wax. We were excited to get this under the lights and into the studio with great anticipation for the final results.
Safe washing with a BigBoi WashR
Our detailing process begins with a pre-wash. This involves contactless washing of the vehicle, ensuring we loosen and remove as much contamination as possible before grabbing our wash mitt for the wash stage. In doing this we ensure that any potential risk to paintwork is eradicated as much as possible, with surfaces smooth and clear.
We would be using the new BigBoi WashR Flo pressure washer on the Chimaera, an excellent test to see how the new machine performs for both jet washing and snow foam delivery.
Before we snow foam though, we apply a ferrous contamination remover liberally around the vehicle. In doing this we break down contaminants created under the pressures of braking without the need to use a brush to agitate. The ingredients in the fallout remover shrink ferrous particles and break the bond of the substrate enabling the safe rinsing away of the formula.
We always put a huge emphasis on the importance of using this type of method during pre-washing and the dangers of using alternatives such as a brush or mitt are that you may well move debris, but not fully dissolve them, leaving yourself open to moving big particles of dirt around on the surface and thus inflicting lasting damage.
Once our pro-detailer was happy with the initial contamination treatment, snow foam can be introduced. The WashR comes with a snow foam cannon as standard and we load it up with Ultimate Snow Foam at a ratio of 1/1. Depending on the severity of the dirt in place on a vehicle, you can adjust your dilution ratios accordingly. We cover the vehicle in a thick blanket of foam and leave to settle for approximately 5 minutes before blasting away.
When a car has spent so many years without proper care and faced exposure to the elements too, the benefits of snow foaming really are huge. Whilst those visible layers of thick mud and dirt were clearly removed already, it is the unseen particles which still remain that the snow foam can literally get its teeth into and target.
Using the two-bucket method, the Chimaera’s contact washing begins courtesy of an Ulti-Mitt Double Sided Merino Wash Mitt and UF Pure Shampoo. Once the car is suitably covered, we rinse off again using the BigBoi.
Although much cleaner, the paintwork still does not feel as smooth as it could be, so we introduce a clay bar as the next step. It is always a good idea to clay the vehicle at this stage, irrespective of whether you can feel any contamination or not as you could have a car that feels fine, but claying can show removal of bonded contaminants.
With the shampoo working as the lubricant for the Bilt-Hamber Auto-Clay Original Bar and using the wash mitt again to cover each panel, the clay bar is worked across. The soft clay collects the remaining pollutants which cannot be removed by washing and provides the ideal preparation prior to wax application.
Polishing & protection
With the Chimaera cleaned, dried and ready for machine polishing, we turned to Herrenfahrt’s quick-step compound. The 1-Step Polish X-Cut 2000 is applied to a RUPES Green Foam Medium Polishing Pad and provides the ideal treatment to cut and finish the Starmist green paintwork on the fibreglass TVR in a single step.
Using a Rupes LHR 15ES Dual Action Machine Polisher, the compound is worked onto the TVR in small sections evenly until the polish becomes partially transparent in appearance. It is then a case of wiping away the misty residue with a Microfibre Buffing Fleece which results in a beautiful high gloss finish.
We were already very pleased with how the Chimaera was shaping up after the machine polishing – the finishing results after the application of Herrenfahrt’s Premium Carnauba Wax would really be the icing on the cake though.
The wax is applied using a Herrenfahrt Polishing Foam Applicator and left on to set for around 35 minutes. The wax is a bio-hybrid of Carnauba (grade one) and boron-nitride compound, with the combination of the pair enabling a hardening of the surface, whilst also delivering protection.
Glass, interior & trim treatment
Once under our high intensity studio lighting, the windows on the Chimaera were some of the dirtiest we have ever seen – we were guaranteed some fantastic fifty-fifty shots for you here! Herrenfahrt’s Glass Cleaner uses a non-drip gel formula, combining with the carbon fibre cloth to clean, shine and protect the glass leaving a non-streak finish.
The Chimaera’s cream interior is transformed using Herrenfahrt’s Deep Cleansing Leather Tonic and it is only when we begin to treat sections where it really becomes apparent just how 25 year’s worth of dirt and grime has made itself at home. The tonic is worked in using a leather applicator pad, the dirt is lifted and at the same time the wrinkly, cracked leather is nurtured back to appear healthy once again. As a final enhancement, Herrenfahrt’s Leather Conditioner is also applied. The leather soaks up the conditioner and acts as a preservative to ensure any future cracking is kept at bay.
We apply SANSOM’s Voodoo Black Gloss Tyre and Trim Gel using a hard applicator pad for the tyres and a microfibre cloth for the trim as the finishing touch. With a lovely gloss finish now in pace, it really sets the Chimaera off nicely and at the same time provides a durable and waterproof coating.
With the classic TVR’s 1-Stage Gloss Enhancement now completed, the results are certainly eye catching. Arriving tired and mucky, the Chimaera rumbled out of our studio at the top of its game once again and you can be sure it wouldn’t just be that thunderous V8 causing heads to turn anymore – the Starmist green paintwork was glistening.
Featured Products Used
BigBoi WashR Pressure Washer £249.00
- Compact & quiet with Total-Stop system
- Draw water from a tank or feed via mains tap
- Includes detergent / foam dispenser
- 8m hose
Bilt-Hamber Auto Clay Original £11.50
- Removes potentially harmful bonded contaminants
- Prepares paintwork for polishing & wax layers
- Uses tap water as a lubricant
Herrenfahrt Ultimate Glass Cleaning Kit £26.00
- Unique gel formula stops product run
- Innovative carbon fibre cloth
Herrenfahrt Premium Carnauba Wax £185
- Easy to apply and buff off
- Protects surface against UV, acids and contamination
- Contains boron-nitride, a diamond molecule that hardens the wax surface adding durability
SANSOM VOODOO Black Gloss Tyre & Trim Gel £6.95
- Delivers a crisp, high gloss finish
- Durable and waterproof
- For exterior rubber, vinyl or plastic that’s looking tired, weathered or faded
Want your vehicle’s appearance cosmetically enhanced or protected? To discuss the most appropriate detailing treatment call 01474 360 360 or complete the online enquiry form here. We provide a bespoke, no-obligation quote via email.
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