27 Litres And 12 Cylinders, With A Practical Station Wagon Body

If you were to name one of the most famous individual road cars in the world, what would it be? If you’re British and of a Certain Age, then it’s possible your nomination is for sale, because “The Beast”, the one-off creation of [John Dodd] using a 27-litre Rolls-Royce Merlin aero engine, is up for auction. The Late Brake Show’s [Jonny Smith] has given it a drive, and we’ve pasted the resulting video below the break.

A second-hand motor isn’t usual Hackaday fare, but it’s the manner of this car’s building which we think will draw you in. [John] originally acquired somebody’s failed project featuring not a Merlin but its de-tuned derivative intended for tanks. He solved the problem of finding a transmission able to handle the immense power, and built it up with a pretty 1970s coupe body. After a fire a few years later he commissioned a new body from a dragster manufacturer, which is the wildly period estate car you’ll see in the video. It famously originally had a Rolls-Royce Cars grille, for which he ended up in court in the 1980s as the carmaker sought successfully to have it removed.

The tale of this car is one of epic scale hackery, as there is quite simply nothing else like it. It was once the world’s most powerful road car, and remains capable of well over 200 miles per hour. Sadly we couldn’t afford to buy it even if we could fit its immense length in our parking space.

Hungry for more epic British car hackery? Have we got the roadster for you!

39 thoughts on “27 Litres And 12 Cylinders, With A Practical Station Wagon Body

      1. From other videos, the noise is dominated by singing gears, and clattering engine bits.
        They’ve removed the silencers so outside the car the engine is now audible, but the exhaust note is not spectacular.

  1. I agree. youtube is full of engine swapped vehicles like this. It might have been unusual at the time, but not anymore, and it doesn’t show in detail how the hack was accomplished.

    1. > It might have been unusual at the time, but not anymore

      So you believe we should just forget about the people and builds that went before?

      Presumably, we should just also all stop reading about *any* build on Hackaday because in the future it will either become commodity and therefore boring or it’ll die out and prove to have been a waste of time.

      1. Of course we shouldn’t forget, but the top gear video has dust on it and no hacks. The current video covering the sale is merely advertising material. It’s like if someone had a steam engine from the 19th century and wanted to sell it so they posted it to hackaday. Do you honestly think that would belong here too.

        1. A little smoke is not gonna kill you, 2-stroke motorbikes are as bad.

          Just because you can’t see the emissions from all the other vehicles on the road doesn’t mean they’re not doing exactly the same.

    1. Can’t be, it’s ULEZ compliant, either that or John Dodd acidentally proved the entire ULEZ is BS that has nothing to do lowering emmissions and everything to do with raising cash.

      ULEZ is the London Ultra Low Emissions Zone for anyone who doesn’t know. A concept I was far less against till I just found out this passes.

      1. No idea about this particular case, but emissions laws sometimes have exceptions for vintage cars. And really, it’s no harm done, these things are driven for one afternoon every summer.

      2. I visited your country a while back. You people really let yourselves get SCREWED. I mean you’d be better off if you got invaded by a foreign country and lost. What happened?! Why suffer such abuse?

      3. In the UK, old vehicles (typically >40 years) are generally exempt from modern regulations, that’s mostly because there’s very few vehicles that old on the road.
        So not only is this car ULEZ exempt, it’s road tax and MOT exempt as well. It also only has to adhere to the vehicle laws from when it was registered (eg, seatbelts were optional in 1972, so it doesn’t need any).

  2. I’m not sure whether I’d call spending probably more than a million of whatever bucks on building a one-off car.
    Given enough money in your pocket you can have people build almost whatever you dream up.
    I’d definitely call it “Advertising” when someone presents such car to the public in order to sell it.
    Whether that should be the purpose of Hackaday is left to be assessed by the reader.

    1. The car itself is a hack, pulling together disparate components and making them do things they were not intended for.
      It’s cool enough to warrant a post, even if the current spate of videos were done to support the effort at selling it.

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