On May 20th, Silverstone Auctions hosted their Supercar Fest Sale at Sywell Aerodrome, Northampton. Among all of the lots available was a very special car – a unique 2000 TVR Cerbera Speed 12. As the winning bid was announced, a new world record for both any TVR model and also the highest price paid for a TVR by any UK bidder was set.
The 2000 TVR Cerbera Speed 12 is a unique vehicle in that it is the only TVR-built road car of its kind. When it was announced that it would be going to auction, it generated a huge amount of interest from potential bidders all over the world.
As one of the rarest and most admired supercars of the last 25 years, the TVR Cebera Speed 12 was used as a model for ‘Gran Turismo’ – one of the most popular and best-selling computer game franchises.
During the auction, there were plenty of interested parties bidding for the chance to own this one-of-a-kind car. Bidders from Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, and America all tried to become the new owner but, in the end, it was a UK bidder who won with the astonishing bid of £601,500
Known as the TVR Project 7/12, the Cerbera Speed 12 was introduced at the 1996 Birmingham Motor Show. The number “7” referred to the 7.7 litre (actually 7.73 L) engine, and “12” for the number of cylinders in the engine. TVR claimed that the engine would have a power output of more than 800bhp and that it would be faster than the McLaren F1.
The record-breaking supercar was prepared by TVR engineers over two years and has been heavily featured in many motoring publications.
The design for Project 7/12 was based on two Cerbera Speed 6 straight-sixes spliced together, utilising a steel block. This was further developed by TVR’s John Ravenscroft creating a 7.7-litre V12. It has been said that the powerful engine snapped the input shaft of the 1,000bhp-rated dynamometer so the engineers had to measure each bank of cylinders separately. When this happened, an output of 480bhp was measured on each side, suggesting a total output of 960bhp! However, TVR said that, when set up for road use, the total figure was 800bhp.
After a short-lived racing chapter, the Speed 12 was seemingly finished. That all changed in 1999 though when TVR decided that they would develop a new car to race in the GT2 class, but there was a lot of interest in a road version and, in 2000, the Cerbera Speed 12 was ready.
Despite the excitement and the huge interest (including paid deposits), the road car never moved into production. When TVR boss Peter Wheeler took one of the prototypes home, he said it was too powerful and too wild to ever be used on the road. It was at this point that production plans were scrapped, all deposits were returned, and all the remaining prototypes were broken up for spares to be used for the race cars. There was one exception to this though – the now record-breaking TVR Cerbera Speed 12 that sold at auction a few weeks ago.
Going Up For Sale
In August 2003, TVR advertised a Cerbera Speed 12 for sale. At this point in time though, a complete car didn’t exist so TVR started the process of creating a road-going Cerbera Speed 12. Three race engineers worked on the project for two years, using the best components from the race development program and the 7.7-litre ‘bucket-head’ V12 to make a road-legal supercar for the ages.
After new components such as the gearbox, transmission and brakes, and carbon-fibre/kevlar bodywork were added, the engine was remapped and the finished product was a car that weighed 1000kg and produced 850bhp, and over 900lb/ft of torque.
A Record-Setting Auction
£7.5 million worth of bids were successful at Silverstone Auctions Supercar Fest Sale. In addition to the impressive TVR Cebera Speed 12, a 1996 Ford Escort Cosworth Lux 2.0 sold for £163,125. This set a new world record for a standard production car sold at auction.
Another exciting sale was the last regular production Jaguar E-Type to leave Browns Lane Production Line – a 1974 Jaguar E-Type Series 3 V12 Roadster which sold for £180,000.
Auctions like this tend to be full of very exciting cars and the new owners are no doubt extremely happy with the new additions to their garage.