The Speed 12 is the car that was too bonkers even for TVR, a brand that made a name for itself with lunatic-spec machines that were tricky to drive. Then-boss Peter Wheeler is said to have gone out in a prototype and quickly decided it was simply too much for the road. Too powerful, and too much of a handful.
The road car part of the project was duly binned, while the GT racing effort didn’t fare much better. The racer was fast, but unreliable. It didn’t stick around in the sports racing car world for particularly long. But the motorsport programme did provide unused bodywork for TVR to complete a one-off road-going Cebera Speed 12, which is the car you see here.
The buyer had to meet Peter Wheeler himself for a vetting process - TVR really didn’t take handing this thing over to a member of the public lightly. And rightly so - this is a car that was so powerful its 7.7-litre engine reportedly snapped the input shaft of a dyno machine. The road version was detuned a little bit - a figure of 880bhp is often given, although Silverstone Auctions currently puts it at 840bhp. So, y’know, still quite a lot.
It’s an especially silly figure considering that Speed Six-derived unit only has to propel around 1000kg of car. The racer’s bodywork was made from carbon kevlar, and underneath it, there’s, well, not a whole lot. The interior is a pared-back, racing car-like deal, and judging by onboard videos that have been published over the years, TVR didn’t bother fitting any soundproofing.
Shift gears fast enough (yep, this thing uses a six-speed manual gearbox), and 0-60mph will happen in under three seconds. As for the top speed, that was estimated at 240mph, although as far as we know, no one’s ever tried to achieve that IRL. We get why.
The Speed 12 will go under the hammer via Silverstone Auctions at its 20 May sale. There’s no estimate just yet, but we can imagine it selling for a rather large figure. After all, as Silverstone puts it, this represents: “An opportunity to own an exceptional and unique motor car, fully sanctioned by the marque and coming from diligent enthusiast-ownership.”
Let’s hope the owner will use the thing, and not hide it away in a collection as some sort of investment piece. Keep those fingers crossed.