Why, oh why, would we bother showcasing a supercar going up for auction that is probably going to sell for seven figures? It wasn’t owned by someone of note, so it isn’t like Ken Miles’ actual race-day GT40 is up on the block. It isn’t the halo type, so we can count off CSX2000, the first Shelby Cobra. And it isn’t any of the mid-1960s Ferraris that sell for the asking price of your own personal island. So why are we bothering wasting digital ink on it? And for the record…what the hell is it?
What you are looking at, readers, is the only road-going TVR Cerbera Speed 12 ever constructed. There were others that were built…they were factory race cars and nothing more. TVR was Britain’s answer to the question, “How badly can the customer scare themselves in our cars?” No airbag, no ABS, no traction control, no F’s given. If you bought one, you had better bring ‘nads the size of basketballs and your checkbook. The standard road-going Cerbera wasn’t anything to ignore…in a famous moment, Jeremy Clarkson pitted the “normal” one against a field of early 1990s supercars from the likes of Porsche, Aston Martin, Caterham and the Cerbera walked them all…badly.
Think of the Speed 12 as the rival to the Mercedes CLK-GTR of the late 1990s. This was to be the race car for the street, the homologation special. But before production really kicked off, TVR boss Peter Wheeler took home a prototype home one night. Details are scarce on what actually happened, but by the time he brought the car back to work the next morning, the driver’s seat was freshly cleaned, he was in brand-new brown pants, and the project was killed off with prejudice. Apparently the V-12 engine breaking the dyno during testing wasn’t enough of a clue as to how psychotic this thing really was. Officially, the “800 horsepower” claim was created by measuring individual inline-six engines the V-12 was based off of, then accounting for de-tuning that had taken place.
A one-of-one machine that scared the shit out of the guy who was anti-airbag, anti-ABS, who was used to building the kinds of cars that any real enthusiast would love to at least take a lap in…yeah, it’s worthy all right. Shame we haven’t won one of those multi-million lottery drawings. We’d stuff Chad in a suit, ship him to Europe, and would be making our reservations for Bonneville in the same breath.