The TVR Cerbera was manufactured by TVR between 1996 and 2006 and the 4.5 litre V8 Cerbera was in effect the flagship sports car for the TVR range during this period. Named after the mythical Greek monster with 3 heads that guarded Hades, the Cerberus, this car was the most powerful TVR produced under Peter Wheeler’s reign at Blackpool.
First shown to the public in 1994 at the Birmingham Motor Show the TVR Cerbera was an instant success with the crowds and represented a change of direction for TVR. It was the first 2+2 fixed from the TVR stable and was also the first TVR to be powered by an in house TVR designed and created engine.
Prior to the TVR Cerbera all TVRs had be powered by mass produced engines from a variety of sources, Rover and Ford being prime examples, but TVR under Peter Wheeler had embarked on the ambitious program of developing not 1 but 2 engine variants. Developed in house by Al Melling, John Ravenscroft and Peter himself the V8 was designated the AJP V8 from the initials of their first names. Based on race engine design the V8 was believed to carry across many aspects of then current F1 design to the strong bottom end.
The TVR Cerbera was first supplied with the 4.2 litre variant of the AJP V8, then the 4.5 litre AJP V8 and finally was available with the TVR Speed 6 which went on to power all of the later TVRs from TVR Tuscan through to TVR Sagaris.
The TVR AJP V8 has one of the highest specific outputs of any naturally aspirated V8 in the automotive world at 83.3 hp/litre for the 4.2 and 93.3 hp/litre for the 4.5. Later models of the 4.5 litre V8 engine were available in 'Red Rose' specification, which increased its claimed output to 440 bhp (97.7 hp/litre) when running super-unleaded fuel.
This TVR AJP V8 engine is very similar to that which powers the TVR Tuscans of the TVR Tuscan Challenge race series with one fundamental difference in that the TVR Cerberas run a wet sump system and the Tuscan race cars run a dry sump variant. In practice this means that the cylinder block, timing cover, and a number of other components are in fact different but fundamentally the engines are very similar.
In reality the power outputs probably never quite lived up to TVR’s claims but nevertheless the TVR Cerbera remains a very powerful sports car.
The TVR Cerbera is one of the fastest sportscars of all time but has a long-legged Intercontinental touring ability that puts it into a class of its own. TVR has long been a byword for towering performance but the Cerbera took this into a different league. At the same time, it was also TVR's first fixed head coupe for over a decade and gives TVR owners with children an extra option as it is also a 2+2. It is available in four different variants each with a quite different character. The refined Cerbera Speed Six is quieter and rides more gently than the others which get progressively more sporting in nature until you get to the immensely powerful 4.5 with Red Rose conversion.
There are few cars as dramatic as the TVR Cerbera. From its optional gas discharge headlights to its twin stainless steel exhaust pipes, the Cerbera is one of those cars that looks like its going fast when it's standing still. Although it could not be mistaken for anything other than a very modern TVR, its bloodline is very much in the tradition of the British sportscars. New for 2002, its lines are even smoother with the headlight housings now being blended into the wings.
The interior of the Cerbera is absolutely unique. The original concept of the Cerbera was to provide TVR owners with the option of a two plus two. The extra length in the wheelbase makes it possible to carry two children in the back or smaller adults over short distances. The leather-trimmed seats reflect the cars dual purpose in that they are supremely comfortable over long distances while providing lateral support when cornering hard. The boot is commodious and can carry an astonishing amount of luggage for a touring holiday or a set of golf clubs. All the instruments are clustered around the steering wheel, perfectly in the driver's line of sight and even the ventilation system has been thoughtfully designed and is able to supply cold air to the driver's face to keep them alert while keeping the rest of the cabin warm.
Towards the end of TVR’s existence in 2006 an online auction was held for the last TVR Cerbera V8 built especially for this occasion. This last car was a 4.5 lightweight right-hand drive car in Pepper white with Prussian blue leather interior trim.