Until its demise in 2006, TVR (from founder TreVoR Wilkinson) manufactured powerful sports cars renowned for their individualistic styling.
At the heart of the Speed 12 was a landmark TVR engine, a 48-valve V12, with a steel block created by joining two six-cylinder engines together on a single crankshaft. With a six-speed gearbox driving the rear wheels, it was installed in a modified TVR race track-only Tuscan chassis.
Known as Project 7/12 (7 liters and 12 cylinders), it made an enormous impact at the 1996 British motor show. On the track, the TVR also gave a stunning performance, allegedly hitting 60mph (97kph) in under 3 seconds. But the car was a brute to drive, immensely demanding at speed.
TVR attempted to tame the beast, and by 2000, a new car was ready. Weighing just 1 ton (1,000kg) to keep the 231mph (372kph) McLaren F1 within its gunsights, it was renamed Speed 12, and restyled to resemble a pumped-up TVR Cerbera with aerodynamic additions. At £188,000, it would have been the costliest TVR, if company owner Peter Wheeler hadn’t axed the car because he felt it was too powerful.
“Awesome… terrifyingly quick… Even the seating position was crazy; it’s like getting into a normal car and then sitting on the floor—in the back.”
John Barker, Evo Magazine, 2005
Video: model of the car TVR Speed 12
Specification: model of the car TVR Speed 12
YEAR REVEALED: 2000
PLACE OF ORIGIN: Blackpool, Lancashire, UK
HISTORICAL STATUS: prototype
ENGINE: V12-cylinder, 472ci (7,730cc)
MAXIMUM POWER: 800–960bhp estimated
LAYOUT front-mounted engine driving the rear wheels
BODYWORK: two-door, two-seater coupé
TOP SPEED: 240mph (386kph) (potential)
NUMBER BUILT: one