Back in 1998, TVR was dreaming. They wanted to create a faster and more outrageous supercar than the mighty McLaren F1. While they didn’t succeed with the former, TVR definitely created a beast, one that looked like it wanted to eat Mini Coopers for brunch.
When it was made, the Speed 12 was a departure from TVR’s usual ways. It didn’t share much with any existing models, and certainly didn’t look like them either.
This car gots its name and from a concept engine which was so looney, TVR will never try it again. They decided to mate two of their potent Speed Six engines to a common crank and modify the each to full race specification. The resulting 7.7 liter, 1000+ bhp V12 was so powerful, it broke TVR’s dyno. This immense power, and the expensive costs to utilize it, was the main reason why only very few cars were built. As little as five engines were created!
The original intention of the Speed 12 was to contest the GT1 class of FIA GT motor sport and go to LeMans. Unfortunately, before the Speed 12 was sufficiently developed to win races, the regulations changed and made the few race cars obsolete. Instead, they contested the British GT championship with a huge rectrictors that limited power to around 700 bhp. Despite this, the drivers had still had trouble keeping power to track and any unrestricted car would have been even worse.
In 2000, TVR was determined to keep the project going and launched a road-going version called the Cerbera Speed 12. A single example was shown for the British Motor Show that year, built from the racing cars but with with an unrestricted engine and huge Goodyear Fioranos. Orders were taken for a 160,000 GBP, ”McLaren-beating supercar” that was going to be TVRs most expensive to date. Peter Wheeler who owned TVR at the time, took the prototype for a drive hime and he ”concluded that the car was unusable on the road”- all orders were cancelled.