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Buyers Guide to:

TVR Cerbera

Useful Info


1996 to 2003

Fuel Type


Engine Sizes

4000cc, 4200cc, 4500cc

Engine Type


Drive Configuration


TVR Car Club

TVR Owners Club

Just Kampers

01256 862288,


TVRs have always been about style and performance, and the Cerbera that was launched in 1996 was hugely impressive on both counts. It had been unveiled at the London Motor Show three years earlier, and the sleekly futuristic styling – both inside and out - certainly stood out, but it was what lurked beneath the bonnet that was of interest to many potential buyers. There, they’d find a brand-new 4.2-litre V8 with 360bhp that provided the new car with shattering performance and a wonderful soundtrack. Over time that would grow to 4.5-litres and 420bhp while buyers could also opt for a six-cylinder engine although it was the V8s that made the biggest impression. And with 2+2 seating you could even share the experience with friends.

  1. See checklist below.

The Checklist

  • Every inch of the glass-fibre bodywork looking for any signs of damage. Cracks and sinking in the paintwork could indicate previous repairs; they aren’t cheap to do properly and panels may have been bodged with filler rather than repaired correctly
  • The chassis for signs of corrosion, with the car on a ramp if at all possible. If there’s evidence of rust on the tubing – it’s visible at the rear of the front wheel arch – expect things to be much worse beneath. Replacement means a hefty four-figure bill so get it inspected by a specialist if you’ve any doubts
  • The service history as these cars can’t be run on a shoestring. Conscientious maintenance is vital and some jobs – such as valve clearance checks every 12,000 miles on V8s – are time-consuming and expensive, and may have been ignored.
  • A rebuild will exceed £6,000 at a specialist so walk away from anything lacking a detailed maintenance record
  • For any noises from the Borg Warner T5 transmission, especially crunching synchromesh on fifth gear. It’s generally considered bullet-proof unless abused but rebuild costs are high. And check the condition of the differential mounting bushes as badly worn items risk serious damage to the mountings; they aren’t expensive to replace so there’s little excuse for items in poor condition
  • That the clutch isn’t slipping. Expect 25,000- 30,000 miles before replacement is needed at a cost of around £1,000. Difficulty engaging gears could be a failed clutch slave cylinder; it’s inside the gearbox bell-housing so replacement means a high labour cost
  • The power steering system as the pipework is prone to hydraulic fluid leaks
  • For any evidence of brake wear, and examine the discs for cracks or scoring. They’ll wear quickly with hard use and replacements are pricey
  • The suspension for worn or perished bushes, especially those for the wishbones. Polyurethane replacements are available but some specialists recommend sticking with original parts
  • All of the electrics very carefully, especially items such as electric windows, the ventilation fans, and the door release mechanisms. In fact, try every switch and knob as niggling problems are common and the cost of diagnosis and repair will soon mount
  • That the controls and gauges on the steering wheel work properly; faults here will need specialist repair
  • The condition of the interior, looking for signs of water leaks and shabby leather trim on the seat bolsters and arm rests. A complete refurbishment isn’t cheap so budget accordingly if things are tatty

Everything Check Out?

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