[ROVERNET - UK] Merlin-engined 1955 Chevy

Mike Maher michael.maher at virgin.net
Tue Mar 7 21:02:25 GMT 2006

Automobile use of the Merlin
In the 1960s John Dodd of Kent, England put a Merlin engine (some say it 
actually was a Rover built Rolls-Royce Meteor, which was a de-tuned Merlin 
without superchargers and with steel components replacing some aluminium 
ones) in a car called "The Beast". Originally it had a grille from a Rolls 
Royce, but after complaints from them he had to change it. According to his 
own account he once drove by a Porsche driver on the autobahn who then 
called Rolls Royce asking about their "new model". The Beast was once listed 
in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's most powerful road car. The 
engine came from a Boulton Paul Balliol training aircraft which would give 
1,262 bhp (941 kW) at 8,500 feet (2,600 m). No supercharger was fitted to 
the engine in car so it "only" delivered about 850 bhp (630 kW). The chassis 
was custom made with a fibreglass body and used a General Motors TH400 
automatic transmission.

(Legend has it that he was fined for speeding at something like150 mph in 
the UK in the early1970's!)

Mike Maher

From: "Sands" <sands2005 at home00.eclipse.co.uk>
To: <rovernet at lyris.ccdata.com>
Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2006 8:52 PM
Subject: Re: [ROVERNET - UK] Merlin-engined 1955 Chevy

> There was a guy near Ararat (Victoria Australia) related to or a friend of 
> the Motorcycle champion Wayne Gardner I believe, who built his own bike. 
> The engine was a 2 cylinder affair, but the cylinders were sliced from a 
> Merlin engine with a custom crankshaft machined up (don't ask me how, I'm 
> not an engineer). The motor was in turn attached to a  Ford  Cortina 
> gearbox.
> Starting it was a bugger apparently, but i went like the clappers.
> Sands  820 Vitesse   Norwich  ( formerly  Vanden Plas 3500,  Gawler South 
> Aus)
> Geoff Kirkpatrick wrote:
>>This car was on display at the "Dream Machines" car show in Half Moon Bay,
>>California either last year or the year before, I don't recall which.  It
>>is quite simply the most insane vehicle I have ever seen in my life.  The
>>engine takes up most of the passenger compartment, with the driver sitting
>>more or less alongside.  The workmanship is to Pebble Beach standards. 
>>This guy is the Leonardo da Vinci of hot rodders.
>>>Rod Hadfield from
>>>Castlemaine here in Oz who put a supercharged Merlin V12 in a custom
>>>'55 Chevvy which was supposedly the most powerful road registered car in
>>>world! The website is www.rodshop.com.au/project55.htm. It would be 
>>>interesting to hear of Rover's involvement with these
>>>Ray Wilkins
>>>Melbourne, Australia
>>>1976 P6B
>>"This is the final test of a gentleman: his respect for those who can be 
>>of no possible service to him."
>>- William Lyon Phelps
>>Geoff Kirkpatrick, 382 Riverside Avenue, Ben Lomond, CA 95005, USA
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