When the TVR Griffith was new, I thought it was the bee’s knees. All those smooth and delicious curves, plus a burbling Rover V8, was a heady mix of Britannia brawn. Which, I suppose, is why it went down a storm. But just the other day I was looking at a Griffith – a very clean one at that – and found myself feeling the design had aged. Not ungracefully, I might add – it’s still a looker, no doubt about that – but it didn’t have quite the ‘no questions asked’ beauty I remembered. It looked like a handsome but slightly dated car.
The TVR Cerbera, on the other hand, just gets better with every passing day. A point I was reminded of when I fell upon this absolutely stunning Speed Six on offer at TVR specialist Str8six. Where the Griffith’s butchness seems to have wilted a little with the passing of time, the Cerbera looks like it’s been pumping iron and downing protein shakes ever since its inception. It has curves, but not dainty ones. These curves give it a Rottweiler's presence and more than a degree of malevolence; it looks pumped and quite up for a quarrel.
Damian McTaggart’s design is astonishingly good. Personally, I reckon it deserves to go down as one of the greats. It hits all the right visual sports car notes: low and wide; long bonnet; cabin stretching back towards the rear axle; small overhangs with wheels that fill the arches perfectly. The interior is just as beguiling. Unusually for something so left field it still seems contemporary even now.
The way the dash weaves its way into the centre console, for a start. There's something organic about that, and reminiscent of taut muscles twisting around a skeleton. The placement of the dials and vent underneath the steering wheel must have been inspired by an acid trip, but even so it manages to work ergonomically. The only thing that dates it is the head unit, which is very early noughties.
Then there are the engines. The AJP8 is a bit of a favourite of mine, but I’ve always been fond of a straight six and the Speed Six 4.0-litre is something of a gem. Dry-sumped and slanted to get its mass as low as possible to reduce the centre of gravity, it has separate throttles and equal-length tubular manifolds that give it an appetite for revs. And 355hp at 6,800rpm means it’s potent, too, especially considering the Cerbera weighs just 1,100kg. Early on in the engine’s life, there were problems. Most dramatic was oil starvation to the valve train. This led to premature wear, but there are a number of fixes that have since solved the issue and, with regular servicing, the Speed Six has proved itself durable.
Which brings me neatly to this example. It had an engine overhaul at 36,000 miles, which ‘brought [it] up to latest spec’ and it’s rarely gone more than 5,000 miles between services. The Starmist Blue paint is what sells it, which looks quite frankly stunning alongside those pretty seven-spoke wheels. With a great history to account for its total of 46,000 miles, and the backing of renowned TVR specialist for peace of mind, this is surely one to look at and an awful lot of car for bang on £33,000.
1 / 5
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