TVR Cerbera (1993)


TVR Cerbera

The TVR Cerbera is a sports car manufactured by TVR between 1996 and 2003. The name is derived from Cerberus the three-headed beast of Greek legend that guarded the entrance of Hades.

Prior to the TVR Cerbera, TVR had purchased V8 engines from Rover and then tuned them for their own use. When Rover was purchased by BMW, Peter Wheeler didn't want to risk problems should the Germans decide to stop manufacturing the engine. In response, he engaged the services of race engineer Al Melling to design a V8 engine that TVR could manufacture in-house and even potentially offer for sale to other car-makers. In an interview for the television program Top Gear, Wheeler explained "Basically, we designed the engine as a race engine. It was my idea at the time that if we wanted to expand, we ought to make something that we could sell to other people. We've ended up with a 75-degree V8 with a flat-plane crank. The bottom-half of the engine to the heads is exactly as you would see in a current Formula One engine."

Wheeler was quoted at the time of the car's launch as saying that the combination of light weight and high power was too much for a road car, a quote which ensured much free publicity in the press. Enthusiasts still argue about whether this was a typical example of Wheeler's legendary frankness, or an equally typical example of his PR chief Ben Samuelson's knack for saving on advertising costs by creating a story.

The result was dubbed the "Speed Eight" (official designation 'AJP8' after Al Melling, John Ravenscroft and Peter Wheeler, a 4.2 L V8 producing 360 horsepower (268 kW). A larger version of the engine was later offered that displaced 4.5 liters and output rose to 420 horsepower (310 kW). This larger engine was also fitted with a crankshaft that was made of steel for added strength and reliability. The smaller motor allowed the TVR Cerbera to still achieve up to 185 mph (297 km/h).

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