Forbidden Fruit: 1997 TVR Cerbera

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While I am not a British car nut, I absolutely love the TVR brand. This boutique British company is one of my personal favorites, and despite this, I have never owned one of their brawny, hand-built cars. That may change as it becomes easier to import this piece of forbidden fruit, and the Cerbera is just one example of the company’s lineup of well-mannered muscle cars that are a rare sight on American roads. Find the Cerbera here on eBay with bids to $35,000 and the reserve unmet.

Now, the Cerbera is likely still out of reach for yours truly, as the Buy-It-Now on this one is $90,000. While many of the 1970s and 1980s TVR products can be had for paltry sums, this has to do with their build quality (or lack thereof) and poor spare parts supply. The older TVRs made use of European-market engines like the Cologne V6 from Ford, and those mills are still surprisingly easy to find parts for. It’s the rest of the car that can become a problem, as body panels and trim pieces are certainly obsolete.

The Cerbera, however, is a modern muscle car in every sense, with a jewel-like interior that has been painstakingly assembled. When the Cerbera was built, TVR was likely trying harder than it ever has to stay relevant, especially after years of fits and starts and brushes with financial ruin. You can see the effort played out in the Cerbera, and this example is a testament to this given how well-preserved the interior remains. Most older TVRs look absolutely trashed once they’ve been around the block a few times; it’s not unlike the ill-fated Maserati Biturbo of the same era.

What’s incredible is despite their financial shortcomings, TVR managed to create the 4.2-liter AJP8 “Speed Eight” V8, which was rated at 360 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. Power got shuttled down to the rear wheels via a BorgWarner five-speed manual, which you can see here is cloaked in beautiful white leather. The seller notes lots of significant recent maintenance, including head gaskets and rear shock replacement along with throttle and ECU calibration. This is a piece of forbidden fruit you can actually own, and likely for less than the cost of a new Corvette.

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  1. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    What a beautiful TVR ! Love the color and interior. I am a car guy and most importantly is the ENGINE! No photos really!!! Did something happen to it? Big bucks lack of important photos. Good luck…🐻🇺🇸

    Like 11
    • Paul

      I had the same thought. New head gaskets at 17K in concerning…

      Like 0
  2. Andy EVANS

    I owned a Cerbera Speed 6 (the four liter, six cyl version), 4 valve per cylinder with valve gear and cams straight of the the current F1 designs. It revived to 8500, we dynoed it at 412bhp!. What you don’t see here is the the lack of driver aids, anti-lock brakes, traction control…but it does have a LSD…But no airbags….AND, the incredible light weight 2200-2400lbs. The most exciting car I have ever driven.

    Like 10
  3. Mike76

    It’d be kinda fun to see how long it takes to get the left hand shifting down. I’d still probably be thinking “right” and pulling at the steering wheel every time. Pretty cool car. Outta my tax bracket though.

    Like 4
    • AKRunner

      I have a Japan market Toyota Hiace that’s right hand drive with a five speed and had wondered how long it would take me to get used to left handed shifting. As it turned out it took no time at all and came naturally with one exception. In town shifting through all five gears is easy and smooth, it was on the highway that was challenging to shift to fifth gear. First through fourth are easy but in the van, which is a camper package with full-time 4wd and a diesel, the shift to fifth is the one gear that requires practice. There is something about pushing the lever forward and toward your leg to get to fifth gear at highway speeds that is harder than the other gears. A car like this with a much tighter shift pattern might not be so bad but the Hiace has a long throw on the shifter and it takes concentration to get fifth gear smoothly.

      Like 2
  4. Timmy VMember

    Proceed with caution. Wheeler Dealers had an episode on one of these. The chassis was rotten and had to be completely refabricated. This was a while ago but I remember them saying this was a very common problem, as in it happens to every single one of them eventually.

    Like 8
  5. Howie

    You need parts for a what?

    Like 9
  6. mike

    Just don’t understand that dash surround around/under the steering wheel.

    Like 4
    • Steveo

      Who could have thought that was a good idea?

      Like 4
      • Martin Horrocks

        Most journalists who tested the car liked the feature.

        Like 2
  7. Martin Horrocks

    Price in UK wld be $35-50K, so this is an ambitious BIN!

    Glorious car with a reputation for unreliabilty and spinning out. Handle with care and most owners love them.

    Like 0
  8. PairsNPaint

    When I first saw the pics of this I thought it was a customized Viper.

    Like 2
  9. Upchucked

    Never learned to drive well with the steering on the wrong side.

    Like 0
    • ChingaTrailer

      If you can’t drive RHD, you shouldn’t drive LHD either. No difference except for a slight bit of different thinking involved.

      Like 2
      • Upchucked

        It isn’t a matter of shifting or steering, it is a matter of forward visibility when traffic is heavy.

        Like 2
  10. scottymac

    Like you, Jeff, I’ve been smitten with TVRs for a long time, Cerbera, one of my favorites. As been mentioned, asking price seems awfully optimistic. Peter Wheeler had grand plans for the marque, too bad the market didn’t follow them. OK, Jeff, here’s a test of your enthusiasm for TVR; say you get a chance to get a test drive this example – how do you get in the car?

    Like 0
  11. Paul Y
  12. Jimbosidecar

    I liked TVRs up to about 1972, but especially throughout the 1960s.

    Like 0

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