The Cerbera marks the point in history at which things got rather serious at TVR. This, after all, was the company's first car to feature not just a home-grown chassis and interior, but also a home-grown engine.

And quite some motor is was too. It had eight cylinders in a vee but with a flat plane crank, just like that of a Ferrari V8, and an appropriately spine-chilling soundtrack.

To begin with the V8 was a 4.2, but it was soon stretched to 4.5-litres. Not that this mattered much when it came to horsepower - in whatever guise, the Cerbera always had plenty.

I'll never forget the first road test example that came in the direction of Autocar. Within 12 hours of its arrival it had deposited its rear screen - whole - onto the M4 at 85mph. Yet even this was not enough to put some of us off. Rear screen or no rear screen, the car was so explosively rapid that no one on the magazine could quite believe it had 'only' 350bhp.

So we took it to a rolling road, just to make sure. At 445bhp and rising the car nearly jumped off the rollers, soon after which a call went in to TVR asking for a more representative example to be delivered. Blackpool flatly denied that the car had a special engine and asked us to re-test it on another rolling road. Which we did later that afternoon. The numbers said 350bhp and 320lb ft, bang on the money in other words. We never bothered to go back to the first place to tell them that their kit was out of whack.

And this was how the Cerbera's character was committed to Autocar lore. From then on, it was known as that very exciting, little bit crazy, occasionally unreliable, but also incredibly big performing Lancastrian. Unlike previous TVRs it handled too, albeit in a tattooed forearm kind of way.

The 4.5 proved to be more fail-safe and a little quicker, but it's the 4.2 I will always remember most fondly. I ran one for a year because, as a works driver for the TVR race team, it came with the job. When it ran properly, it was the most exciting car on earth. When it didn't (which was more than occasionally) I wanted to burn it. In the end, when I handed it back, I wiped away the tears and was glad to see the back of it, sort of.

Since then people have asked me whether they should buy a Cerbera and invariably I've advised them to look elsewhere. Now that Cerberas are down to the £10,000 and under mark, however, I'm beginning to wonder. With patience and luck you might even find one that's already had its midlife crisis and which will prove more reliable in later life. On the other hand, you might not. With the Cerbera you can never tell precisely what might happen next.