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”
Top Gear 1998 coverage of The Beast:
Prime example that money not always can buy taste.
But if you have enough money you don’t have to care.
Add wood paneling and an avocado green paint job and you nearly have National Lampoon’s Vacation station wagon.
That thing looks 10,000x better than your car that looks like a half used-up bar of soap made love to a gaming mouse and then got painted slightly metallic gray
DON’T CARE – HAVE FUKKEN SPITFIRE ENGINE IN CAR, CANNOT HEAR YOU OVER THE AWESOMENESS
It was the 70s, man.
what a way to ruin a video. loud obnoxious guy talking all the time and loud music. i wanted to hear the engine… couldn’t. bleh
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.
It was legendary.
Thanks for reminding me.
I’d rather have the Rover SD1.. http://omextechnology.co.uk/page40.html
+1 in part because it looks like a normal car and I like sd-1’s
This is also epic, Practical Performance Car did a whole build series on it.
Is it me or is that car being followed by a trail of dark blue smog?
the engine was build to win a war, not to save the polarbears
The question is: WTF is it doing on the road? Anybody following this thing on the road is going to get gassed.
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.
If it’s lacking seat belts, then it’s probably lacking emission controls.
With no seat belts, and all that torque, I would need some emission control. Or failing that, brown trousers.
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.
AFAIK vintage/historic cars generally are excepted, since such zones are meant for the “daily driving” traffic and not predominantly garage decorations on wheels.
I’m guessing signed integer wrap around. Blue smoke, 27 litre engine, emissions <0 hence ULEZ compliant :)
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.
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?
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).
Pleased to meet you Miss Thunberg.
Driver seat seems to be out of a Lotus Europa from the early seventies.
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.
Calling it a “hack”, that is.
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.
If you read the video’s description on YouTube, you’ll find a link to the auction site where you could own this very car.
So what you’re saying is basically “this is not advertising because you can actually buy the advertised car” or did I get your comment wrong?
You got his comment wrong, never said a single thing about advertising
Reminds me of the car in National Lampoon’s Vacarion.
May have also inspired the car Homer designed on The Simpsons
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