Ride Drive > Classic Cars > History of TVR Cars

27 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Ride Drive > Classic Cars > History of TVR Cars

The TVR Cerbera

In November 1994, with sales of the TVR Griffith and the TVR Chimaera doing well, the sports car manufacturer added a third car to the range, the TVR Cerbera.

This car represented a landmark in TVR production as it was the first in the history of TVR sports cars to be powered by an engine not bought in from another car manufacturer.

About the Engine

This was the AJP8, a light weight V8 unit designed by Al Melling’s company, Melling Consultancy Design (MCD), and specifically for TVR.

This engine was unique in that its kgs⁄bhp rating was of a class only seen is topend motorsport contests. The crank case was also so strong it was capable of being used as a stressed member.

Melling Consultancy Design (MCD) had some heritage as the company that was responsible for the design the V12 engine supplied to Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) and which took their Jaguar car to four consecutive wins at Le Mans.

Initially, the TVR Cerbera was powered by the 4.2litre AJP V8, producing 360bhp. In July 1997, a 4.5litre V8 version became available, and which produced 420bhp. In April 1998 a third AJP engine appeared in the Cerbera, this time a 4litre straightsix cylinder unit, which TVR developed as the SpeedSix.

Hence the name of the TVR Cerbera SpeedSix.

All TVR’s to Have AJP Power

The Cerbera represented Peter Wheeler’s intention for all future TVR’s to be powered by engines that were designed and built by his company. He didn’t want to be reliant upon thirdparty engine suppliers and so have more control over what went into his cars.

True to normal practice in engine testing and development, the AJP units were first tested on the race track. Race prepared AJP V8 powered cars soon established their superiority over the Rover V8 versions in the TVR Tuscan Challenge series.

TVR even set up a works team to compete in the National GT series with a Cerbera GT. This car showed promise and speed, but suffered from poor reliability due to lack of development.

The SpeedTwelve Engine

TVR’s commitment to motor sport was reinforced when the company once again caused a Motor Show sensation with an awesome looking prototype, a car that was codenamed 12⁄7. This was a beast of a car that promised 660bhp from a new 7.7litre TVR built V12 power unit.

The engine was actually built from the design of two recently launched AJP SpeedSix engines, but in a Vconfiguration.

There was talk at the time of a 200mph top speed and a Le Mans entry. Although Le Mans never happened for this car it did hit the racetracks during the 1998 British GT Championship, by which time it had been named the TVR SpeedTwelve.

By the time production of the TVR Tuscan SpeedSix had got underway in the year 2000, the Speed12 prototype car had been mothballed. But the power unit was applied to a newer chassis, this being based on the TVR Cerbera.

There was even an outrageous road going version of the Cerbera SpeedTwelve, which boasted potential power output in excess of 800bhp, and called rather predictably, the TVR Cerbera SpeedTwelve.

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