Buying a well-sorted TVR Cerbera

ps4 gran-turismo tvr cerbera speed-sixMaybe it’s my continuing mid-life crisis, but I’ve wanted a TVR Cerbera for as long as I can remember. I remember them vividly in the 90s, and I remember them being the crazy car of choice in Gran Turismo in the 2000’s. And I certainly remember the noise from past encounters.
 
 
 
So when the stars align in life, it’s one of those things on your bucket-list that you just have to do when the means allow.
 
This blog post isn’t masquerading as a buyers guide; rather just my first hand experience that you may find somewhat interesting.
 
 

So you want a TVR Cerbera?

Let’s start at the top. Why do people buy TVRs? No doubt some will tell you it is their choice of car over ALL others.
Others will tell you (and I suspect the vast majority if they’re honest), that actually, their 1st choice of car would be something Italian, something exotic and something that they could never afford ever. AKA a lottery winners car.
 
What if there was a way to experience the drama and all the thrills of acceleration, drop-dead looks, noise, top speed, outrageous interior and rarity – but not need a lottery win? This is the space TVR fills.
 
You know you’re buying something special when you open the owners manual
 
Cerbera manual page 1:
slow in quick out
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

What’s the catch?

TVR and reliability are rarely two words you hear in the same sentence. But here’s the thing: yes there are lemons out there, but there are also strong reliable cars out there today. If maintained well, there is no reason why your TVR cannot be a reliable bundle of fun. The price for this outdated kit-car-type rumour is the reason you can experience supercar thrills if you buy wisely.

Which TVR

I’m not even going to open this topic, other than to say there is no right or one answer to this, but the right answer for me, was the TVR Cerbera. Made between the late 90’s and early noughties, for me, the Cerbera epitomises everything TVR aspires to – a road legal race car that delivers huge bang for your buck.

So which Cerbera

There are 3 variations of Cerbera, 4.0L straight six (known as the Speed Six), a 4.2 V8 and 4.5 V8.
 
Q. which one? A. Buy on condition.

What colour Cerbera

There are lots of colours out there from the subtle to the outrageous
 
Q. which one? A. Buy on condition.

Buying a TVR Cerbera

Yes there’s a theme developing here.
You’ve let your heart rule so far; now it’s time to let your head rule.
Buy on condition.
 
I had to kiss some frogs before I found my Cerbera. But I bought on condition. It looks immaculate, inside and out. It has a full TVR service history. It has had an engine rebuild to remedy the production short-comings. The chassis is in good condition. It is low mileage. It has had no expense spared.
 
My Cerbera of choice is a Straight Six, and while not as powerful on paper as it’s V8 4.2 & 4.5 siblings (a couple of tenths on the 0-60), in real life unless you are an experienced racing driver and trying to squeeze every last ounce out of it on a track, you will not notice any difference whatsoever. When I first started my hunt for a Cerbera, I immediately gravitated towards wanting a V8 – but here’s the thing, a V8 Cerbera does not sound like a V8, and this is in part due to the flat plane crank configuration of the engine.
 
All 3 varieties are crazy quick and will be more than you could handle anyway 🙂 Fitted with a sports exhaust, any model will live up to the noise you expect.
 
I had a pre-purchase inspection carried out on mine before I bought it.
 
The inspection flagged up a bunch of items not uncommon on a car approaching 20 years old:

  • Misfire under load
  • Weeping drive shaft gator
  • Clutch wear
  • Intermittent starter motor
  • Indicators not cancelling
  • Wipers not parking
  • Radiator fins collapsed

In my quest for a truly well sorted TVR Cerbera, you can read my blog posts as I make my way through the above list and more.