In the 1960s, English engineer Paul Jameson embarked on an unusual project to create a street-legal custom car with a tank engine. He designed a custom chassis and installed a Rolls-Royce Meteor tank engine.
Transmission expert John Dodd was intrigued by the idea and took over the project when Jameson put it on hold. Dodd completed the transmission and ordered a custom fiberglass body with a long hood to fit the massive engine.
The car, known as The Beast, was completed in 1972 and featured a unique appearance and impressive technical specifications, including a Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 airplane engine that produced over 750hp and had a fuel consumption of around 2.35 mpg.
The Beast gained popularity and was showcased on television shows and events across Europe. However, disaster struck in 1974 when the car caught fire during transportation and was severely damaged.
Dodd had to rebuild the car from scratch and decided to install a more powerful engine, the Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 that had powered fighter aircraft during World War II’s Battle of Britain. Despite the setback, The Beast became one of the most impressive automotive projects in English history.
In 1977, The Beast underwent a transformation under the hands of John Dodd. He commissioned Fiber Glass Repairs, the company that built the car’s first fiberglass body, to create an even larger one. Dodd also designed a unique custom grille for the car.
The result was an even more impressive version of the car that was named the most powerful in the world by Guinness Records. There were rumors that The Beast could reach a top speed of 260 mph (418 kph), but the exact performance of the car is still unknown.
However, Dodd faced a lawsuit from Rolls Royce for describing The Beast as one of their vehicles. He ultimately fled Britain and settled in Spain, taking his prized possession with him. Dodd never sold The Beast, but unfortunately, he passed away at the end of last year.
As a result, his family has decided to auction off the car, which has just over 10,000 miles (16,093 km) on the odometer and is still in perfect working condition.
“Well, we can tell you first hand that when The Beast fires into life, the earth shakes. No hyperbole, no sales talk, you can feel it shake everything around it. It is LOUD,” the Car and Classic auction house said about the unique car. “The engine is every bit the symphony of mechanical noise you would expect from a war-era engine. It’s exciting, captivating and even a little bit scary, but in a good way. Like a 183 mph rollercoaster if you will.”
The auction for The Beast ended just a few hours ago. The winning bid was £72,500 ($87,800).