Watch The Beast In Action

Apr 7, 2023 2 min read
Watch The Beast In Action

This documentary is quite the time capsule…

Not that long ago we profiled the online auction of The Beast but learned not everyone has even heard of the bespoke British car. To help everyone understand why the ridiculous-looking thing is significant and not just another cringe-worthy backyard build, we dug up this old BBC spot profiling it.

Learn when Rolls-Royce will go all-electric here.

For those who don’t know, the front end of The Beast looks like it just goes and goes because it houses a huge 27-liter Merlin V12. That’s the same engine used in Spitfire fighter planes during WWII, so to wedge something like that into a car is quite the feat. John Dodds, the eccentric builder of this creation, got the idea to use such a ridiculous engine when a customer of his requested that he build a three-speed automatic transmission which would bolt up to an airplane engine.

Since there wasn’t an existing vehicle which would accommodate such a setup, Dodds decided to custom build one. He recruited Paul Jameson, a car customizer, to create that strange body one could argue is a shooting brake, although unlike any other in existence.

The Beast isn’t just a lot of engine and bravado. Top speed for the build was about 300 kmh, as certified by the Royal Auto Club, or about 186 mph. That’s a crazy speed for something which looks more comfortable in a Brady Bunch episode than on the Bonneville Salt Flats!

Also, The Beast was certified by Guinness as the “World’s Most Powerful Car” with between 700- and 800-horsepower on tap. Today that might not seem like much, but back in the 70s it was almost unthinkable for a passenger vehicle.

For all his work, Dodds was essentially chased out of the UK by Rolls-Royce for using one of its front ends on the build as the automaker sued for damages. Dodds ended up in Spain and didn’t have the fairytale ending to his life perhaps some thought he deserved. It’s crazy how often that happens with those who really push the envelope.

Images via YouTube

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