The now legendary TVR Cerbera became an instant hit with both old and new TVR fans alike when it first broke cover in 1994, and continued to be a phenomenal success throughout its decade-long lifespan, which ended officially in 2004.
Launched at the British International Motor Show, as it is now known, its original power unit was TVR's very own 4.2 litre AJPV8, developed in conjunction with engine oracle Al Melling. It was capable of some 360 bhp and of accelerating the Cerbera to 60 mph from standing in a little over four seconds.
This was TVR's first proprietary engine, having previously installed bought-in units from the likes of Rover. The AJPV8 was a normally aspirated, 75 degree V8 with a flat-plane crank, and remained TVR's flagship engine until the discontinuation of the Cerbera, with which the engine also ceased production.
The original concept car caused quite a stir at the time, and the company's order book soon became full. It had the looks and performance of cars more than twice its price, and the exclusivity of very few models of any price. But it was almost two years later, after further production refinements, that the first Cerbera left the factory.
Another two years later in 1998, the original Cerbera was joined by the awesome 4.5 litre AJPV8, boosting the Cerbera's power to a frightening 420 bhp and its performance figures to 60 mph from standing in under four seconds and to 100 mph in just 8.3 seconds. It was the Cerbera 4.5 that won the car its reputation as a supercar-slayer and really shook the motoring establishment.
The following year, the 4.0 litre straight six-powered Cerbera Speed Six also joined its brethren. Sporting the first ever version of TVR's own Speed Six engine, it offered a more gentlemanly road-going ride, with a smoother gearing and chassis set-up to go with the reduced power output of 350 bhp.
The Speed Six has gone on to be installed in all of the current TVR range, albeit a much more refined and sophisticated engine today. Despite the success and longevity of the Speed Six, however, it is the AJPV8 that remains the hallmark of the Cerbera because it was installed in no other road-going car.
The now famous 2+2 Cerbera design was a relatively new concept at the time of the car's launch, and it opened up a new market of sports car fans with the need for extra, small rear seats. It remains TVR's only 2+2 in recent times and proved hugely successful, especially with TVR fans that had gone on to have young families.
In 2000 the Cerbera underwent a facelift, with a modified headlamp arrangement, a slightly reworked interior and a lightweight version of the 4.5 litre derivative. This helped bolster sales again and the Cerbera went on to enjoy another four successful years before it was discontinued in 2004.
The Cerbera has become not only one of TVR's iconic cars, but one of the British sports car industry's. It represents everything that's important about British sports car heritage: classic lines that disguise Earth-shaking power and performance.
Perhaps that formula is why those who try the Cerbera never forget it. Its name is aptly derived from the Greek legend of Cerberus, the three-headed beast that guarded the entrance to Hades; if it's true that the fearsome Cerbera frightened some away from the marque, it's also true that it kept those in who ever dared enter.
The TVR Cerbera is a car with a dual role: on the one hand it's an extremely competent 2+2 grand tourer that can be used on any journey, through towns or across countries; on the other hand, it boasts the break-neck performance for which it's both famous and feared.
Since the Cerbera broke cover in 1994, it has become an iconic British sports car, its suave shape standing the test of time to become a true classic. One would never guess the ferocious power that lurks beneath the Cerbera's gentlemanly exterior.
Underneath its elegant fixed-head coupe styling, it has a built-in roll cage that combines with high-impact absorbing composite bodywork to form an extremely safe car. TVR's own 4.5 litre AJPV8 rockets the lightweight Cerbera from naught to 60 mph in under four seconds, and is one of the most revered sports car engines. Its rigid chassis and carefully balanced geometry give the car surprising poise considering its monstrous power.
Production of the Cerbera was discontinued officially in 2004. But this Cerbera, the last that will ever be made, was commissioned and specified personally by TVR's owner and chairman, Nikolai Smolenski, bringing the car out of retirement for one last time in TVR's true tradition of producing one-off 'specials', and paying homage to this beautiful but brutish bygone British sports car.
- Model: TVR Cerbera 4.5 LW right-hand drive
- Bodywork: Pepper white special paint
- Trim: Prussian blue full hide leather trim with contrasting stitching throughout. Stone leather to gaiters, central console armrest, inner steering wheel, rear speaker surround and inner doors
- Mechanical: adjustable pedal box, central locking with remote operation, electronic alarm system with engine immobiliser, remote window closing
- Exterior: 18 inch seven spoke anthracite alloy wheels, electric boot and door releases, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, heated rear window, variable intermittence windscreen wipers
- Interior: air conditioning, analogue instrumentation, colour-coded boot carpet, dashoboard and door panel storage pockets, electric door releases, electric windows, emergency tyre inflation kit, front central console with storage, full hide trim, leather trimmed steering wheel, lamonta headlining, machined aluminium trim finish, manually adjustable lumbar supports, manually adjustable steering column (reach and rake), polished aluminium gear lever and handbrake, stainless steel kick plates
- In-car entertainment: AM/FM radio and CD player with removable front
- Displacement: 4,475 cc
- Hand-built proprietary eight-cylinder 75 degree with flat-plane crank aluminium alloy engine with two valves per cylinder and wet sump lubrication
- Single overhead camshafts with direct cams actuating direct acting followers
- Forged aluminium pistons and forged steel con rods
- Individual port throttles on tuned inlet tracts with multipoint fuel injection
- Fully mapped fuel injection system with adaptive Lamdba control
- Double close-coupled three-way catalytic converters
- Maximum power at 7,500 rpm (estimated): 420 bhp
- Maximum torque at 5,000 - 5,500 rpm (estimated): 380 lb ft
- Maximum speed (estimated): 160+ mph
- 0 to 60 mph (estimated): 3.9 seconds
- 0 to 100 mph (estimated): 8.3 seconds
- Front-mid engine, rear wheel drive
- Transmission: five-speed manual with hydraulically operated clutch and limited slip differential
- Steering: electro-hydraulic power-assisted rack and pinion, two turns lock-to-lock
Brakes, wheels and tyres
- Front brakes: power-assisted ventilated 322 mm disc brakes with four piston alloy callipers
- Rear brakes: power-assisted ventilated 306 mm disc brakes with two piston alloy callipers
- Wheels: 18 inch seven spoke aluminium alloy wheels
- Front tyres: 225/35 ZR18
- Rear tyres: 255/35 ZR18
Chassis, suspension and body
- Chassis: powder-coated tubular EN36 steel backbone chassis with integral roll cage
- Suspension: all-round independent double wishbones with coils over gas hydraulic dampers assisted by anti-roll bars
- Body structure: hand-laid composite GRP with integrated steel side impact protection bars
Weights, dimensions and capacities
- Kerb weight: 1,100 kg
- Length overall: 4,280 mm
- Width overall including mirrors: 1,865 mm
- Height overall: 1,220 mm
- Ground clearance: 130 mm
- Front track: 1,464 mm
- Rear track: 1,470 mm
- Wheelbase: 2,566 mm
- Fuel tank capacity: approximately 65 litres of 95 or 98 octane unleaded fuel
Source: TVR Cars Ltd. 2007