Project 7/12 (TVR Speed 12)
In 1996 TVR unveiled a concept car called Project 7/12 at the Birmingham motor show. This was the first of several prototypes for the most extreme TVR ever built. The Speed 12 was to be developed as a road car so TVR could enter a race version in the GT1 race series. TVR boss Peter Wheeler felt the car could win races and sell as a road car.
“I knew within 300 yards that it was a silly idea. Over 900bhp in a car weighing just over a ton is plainly ridiculous on the road” Peter Wheeler
The TVR Speed 12
The name Project 7/12, referred to the capacity and cylinder count of the new beast. The engine was two Speed Six engines joined together to form a 90 degree V12 with 7.7 Litre capacity. The engine was officially said to produce about 800bhp but broke a 1000bhp dyno during testing, implying that the car was capable of far more. The car was also too powerful for Le Mans too, as the FIA limited output to 660bhp. It raced a few times in the Britcar championships, with air restrictors to limit the power of the engine. A rule change in GT1 race series meant cars could be purpose built for the race instead of being based on a road car, this made the Speed 12 obsolete.
W112 BHG / W312BFV / W312 BHG
Three road cars were produced during the testing stage, but after driving the Speed 12 home one night TVR boss Peter Wheeler found the car too extreme for production. Eventually one Speed 12 (Registration W112 BHG, the other two were: W312BFV and W312 BHG) was produced from the best parts of the 3 prototypes.
The Speed 12 included various special equipment:
- Carbon bodywork
- Heater blanket to warm engine (as part of the 30mins start procedure)
- 6 Speed sequential gearbox
- Integrated (some might say intrusive!) rollcage
- Full rose jointed race suspension
- Water cooled brakes
This car was sold 7 years after the concept to a buyer in August 2003. The customer was personally interviewed by Peter Wheeler prior to the sale.
The finished road car weighs less than 1000kg and has around 880bhp giving the car a scarcely believable 880bhp+ per tonne power to weight ratio. This car was tested by EVO magazine issue 079 and John Barker referred to the cars acceleration as “Terrifying”. The review marked the car 11.5 out of 5!
“Perhaps an aspiring Speed 12 owner should strap himself into a racing seat and arrange to be ejected from the top of an erupting volcano” Autocar 1997 Extract from Press release.
The Cerbera Speed 12
The Speed 12 was always going to be an iconic TVR. Loosely based on the Cerbera platform, the power, performance and styling of the car left jaws wide open. There are so many quotes, sound bites and stories surrounding the car, it’s easy to assume the car was just a cartoonish monstrosity, built for amusement. In some ways it was, but the Speed 12 was perhaps the ultimate expression of TVR’s philosophy.
Given that the project was scrapped by TVR, it’s amazing that there is a Speed 12 on the road at all! The car also features in the Gran Turismo 5 racing game even though the car does not officially exist!
This is testament to the cars mythical & popular status among enthusiasts, perhaps earned for being the ambitious, world beating and most extreme of all the cars produced by TVR.