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TVR Cerbera: The Sinister Villain

[dropcap style=”style1″]S[/dropcap]inister. A word often associated with the most evil of evils; sinister, often the villain the hero fears most. A sinister villain is a smart and diabolical villain, capable of destruction on the level of massive, but not before the coldest of calculations and the most passionate of planning to brilliant execution. Sinister is a word seldom if not at all used in the automotive industry. Cars can evoke many a passions and emotions when we control them, they leave sediments in our hearts and often we describe those feelings. Cars have been brutal, cars have been charming, and cars have been brilliant. Sinister? Sinister is the TVR Cerbera.

coDerived straight from the gates of Hell, the Cerbera is every bit intimidating as the tri-headed guardian beast. So naturally fitting for an automobile that represented such a huge leap for the small British sports car maker. The Cerbera was a first for many things at TVR. The F1 derived AJPV8, for instance, built in house for the first time. The outlandish, yet curvaceous styling that never looks out of place whether it’s at a race circuit or in a drug lord’s garage.  The interior is straight from science fiction, with gauges on the bottom of the steering wheel and the form fitting dashboard. Radical couldn’t come close to describing the Cerbera when it came out in 1996. The Cerbera made the brash Dodge Viper as sedate as a grandmothers Camry.

Speaking of Vipers, the Cerbera was faster too. So fast, in fact, that back in 1996 Top Gear did a standing mile drag race with the fastest cars of the time, including a special twin-supercharged Aston Martin and a 911 Turbo. The Cerbera despite being the cheapest car, put so much shame on the other cars it was simply amazing. Even more amazingly, it was only the 4.2 engine. Fast doesn’t even begin to describe how the Cerbera devours its prey. Cerbera is capable of not to sixty in four seconds flat, with 360bhp in 4.2, and over 420bhp in 4.5 forms.

Power figures only gloss over what has to be one of the most amazing engine designs of recent history.  Known as the Speed Eight, it boasts a 75 degree Vee and an F1 style lubrication system. The block is so strong, it can be used for chassis stress member. SOHC design was purposely built into the Speed Eight to retain useable midrange torque on a road car, an impressive decision on behalf of TVR and contributor to another massive factor of the Speed Eight: its weight. At 121kg’s, or 267lbs, this rocket of an engine weighs less than a large majority of people.

co2The best part of the Cerbera though, is how it dresses that monster of an engine. Styling is curvaceous and handsome. The long nose with pontoon fenders, the low swooping roofline, and the handsome tapering tail make the Cerbera a true gentleman. It makes the Cerbera the type of gentleman who smokes imported cigars, wears only the trimmest of suits, and drinks the strongest of scotch. Like Scarface, the Cerbera is the car that will break your kneecaps in the back alley for looking at his lady funny, and has no qualms about getting his hands soiled.

The TVR Cerbera is such a visceral beast that changed the world when it came out. It put TVR back on the 2+2 map, and made TVR a force to be taken seriously. It ushered a new era of high horsepower sports cars, while adding a new definition of what a car can be. Sinister is a word seldom used for a car. Sinister is the TVR Cerbera. Just don’t go down that alley at night.

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