TVR Cerbera safety – how safe is a Cerbera?

High powered, light-weight, pure British plastic sports car with no thought given to safety, built in a shed by a guy called Nigel – right? TVRs are often portrayed as red-blooded sports cars without any namby-pamby safety devices to get in the way of enjoyment. Was it really that no thought was given to TVR Cerbera safety?

Active Safety protection

Peter Wheeler, the chairman of TVR in the 2000s is often wrongly quoted as dismissing safety, whereas in fact his stance on ABS has some logic in it- in that a car without anti-lock brakes was proven to out-brake one with. And Airbags in a convertible can actually be dangerous. Traction control was also negated apparently with a very long pedal throw, as can be seen in the Cerbera.

For a deeper dive in to this, take a read of an interview he did in 2004.

Producing cars without active safety aids would certainly save TVR money, so was it as Peter described it, that he genuinely believed it was safer without, or cynically, was it just a smoke-screen to save money?

Passive Safety protection

TVRs also lack crumple zones. As Peter says, he wants cars to stay in one piece in the case of an accident, and a GRP single piece body lends itself to that.

So what safety features does a TVR Cerbera have?

TVR Cerbera safety - TVR Cerbera roll cage

One example of TVR taking safety seriously is the integrated roll cage that is bolted to the chassis, fitted to Cerberas.

From inside the cabin above your head, part of it is visible (mine is covered in Alcantara)

TVR Cerbera safety - TVR Cerbera side impact protection

Another example is side-impact protection found in the doors.

This is British Comedian Lenny Henrys Cerbera after a smash. You can see the side-impact protection inside the door.

TVR Cerbera safety – Conclusion

It should be noted that not all TVRs have the passive safety mentioned above. The Chimaera for example doesn’t have a roll cage nor (I believe) side impact protection- I’m not sure how that would fare if flipped upside down.

As an owner of a Cerbera, I can’t say the lack of active safety protection has ever bothered me. You certainly do need to keep your wits about you, but that’s part of the adrenaline rush. If I was using it as a daily, and was regularly driving on wet roads, maybe I would feel different about that.

The Cerbera was designed as a race car, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that it does have a roll cage. The Cerbera was also designed to take children in the back, so while it may lack those active safety features, it doesn’t lack the passive features.

It may not have much in the way of preventing accidents, but it does mitigate should it occur.

For what it’s worth, the TVR Cerbera safety record is good, I’m not aware of any fatalities to date.

One thought on “TVR Cerbera safety – how safe is a Cerbera?

  1. Simon

    Maybe a need for a minor amendment above?

    ABS is design to assist with steering under heavy braking rather than reducing straight line braking distance. So a comparison of straight line braking distance is not a deeply meaningful one.

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