Featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most powerful car in 1977, “The Beast” is not your regular custom. And not only because it’s a one-off with a ridiculously long hood. That front clip hides a monstrous, 27-liter (1,648-cubic-inch) Rolls-Royce V12 engine of the Merlin variety. Yup, I’m talking about the same engine that powered Spitfire and Hurricane fighter aircraft.

The story of “The Beast” begins in 1966 when Dodd was contracted to build a transmission for a custom rolling chassis fitted with a Rolls-Royce Meteor tank engine. John ended up buying the project for himself and finished it off with a fiberglass body painted red and a Rolls-Royce Corniche front grille.
That was the first iteration of the car, as “The Beast” suffered extensive damage due to a fire in 1974. Using the insurance money he got after the incident, Dodd rebuilt the body and replaced the Meteor engine with the Merlin V12. He also ditched the Corniche grille for a Silver Shadow one. The body was redesigned from a clean sheet with a longer front end and a shooting brake-like rear end.
Painted beige at the time, the unique car soldiered on relatively unchanged since then. However, Dodd had to drop the Rolls-Royce grille after the British company won a lawsuit against him. He replaced it with his initials in a stylish font.
So, how powerful is this 19-foot-long (5.9-meter) shooting break? Well, John claimed at some point that the V12 delivered a whopping 950 horsepower and 760 pound-feet (1,030 Nm) of torque. Other estimates put it at around 750 horsepower. While specific figures aren’t available because the car wasn’t dynoed, more than 750 horses doesn’t seem far-fetched given that the supercharged factory version of the Merlin engine could deliver 1,500 horsepower.
But how fast is “The Beast?” Again, there’s no precise number to run by, but “The Beast” was described as capable of exceeding 200 mph (322 kph), a benchmark that wasn’t achieved by production cars until the 1980s. In 1973, however, the RAC reportedly verified a top speed run of 183 mph (295 kph). While that’s well below the 200-mph mark, it’s quite impressive for a car that’s 19 feet long and tips the scale at more than 4,400 pounds (2,041 kg).
But the really cool thing about “The Beast” is that it was road-legal and John Dodd used to drive it quite often when he wasn’t fiddling around with the massive Merlin engine.

Now that John has passed away, his family decided it was time to let the ludicrous custom go to a new owner. Given that “The Beast” is a unique car, it’s difficult to say whether £72,500 is a fair price or a bargain, but it’s definitely a lot cheaper than you’d have to spend to put such a monster together.

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