London Concours Announces Special V12 Celebration

A lineup of legendary V12 models will be on display for the concours weekend...

The London Concours announces this June’s show will feature a celebration of that most evocative automotive ingredient: the V12 engine.

Running June 4-6 at the Honourable Artillery Company in the heart of London, the class will look back on the history of the V12, the beating heart of some of the greatest and most famous cars to grace the roads over the decades.

At the center of the V12 display will be the priceless, one-off, Jaguar XJ13 prototype. Designed by lead Jaguar engineer William Heynes, the XJ13 was conceived to take the fight to Ferrari and the other established names at Le Mans in the mid 1960s. It was advanced in terms of its construction, a true featherweight, tipping the scales at just under 1000kg, despite having a substantial, 5.0-litre V12 mounted behind the driver.

London Concours Announces Special V12 Celebration | THE SHOP

The motor was incorporated into the chassis as a stressed member and produced 502bhp at a heady 7600rpm, driving the rear wheels through a five-speed manual ZF transmission. By the time the prototype had been completed in 1966, Jaguar was in the midst of merging with BMC, and top-level racing had fallen down the management team’s agenda. As a result, the ground-breaking XJ13 sadly never raced.

Also on show will be another unique machine that takes the concept of a V12 engined road car to its absolute extreme: a 27-litre V12 Rolls-Royce. It is, of course, John Dodd’s legendary ‘The Beast’ – dubbed the ‘Super Rolls’ by the BBC.

With a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine under the bonnet, it was rumored to pack between 750 and 1000bhp, and was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records aa the “the world’s most powerful car” in 1977. Dodd was known to have extensively exercised ‘The Beast’ on Germany’s Autobahns in period, presumably surprising a few drivers of potent BMWs and Mercedes in the process. The RAC recorded it hitting 183mph in the hands of a very brave test driver, although it was believed that it was a true 200mph car.

The wild Lamborghini Diablo will also be in attendance, bringing a dash of ‘90s excess to proceedings. For a generation of car enthusiasts who came of age in the ‘90s – remains the ultimate poster supercar. Introduced in 1990 as a successor to the Countach, the Diablo featured a more futuristic design – low, wide and outrageous – penned again by master designer, Marcello Gandini. A V12 Sant’Agata icon that acts as a bridge between the fearsome old-school Lamborghinis, and the brand’s marginally saner, 21st century creations.

London Concours Announces Special V12 Celebration | THE SHOP
Jaguar XJ13

A British V12 supercar created for the new millennium will also be on show: the wonderful Ian Callum designed Vanquish. Introduced in 2001, it combined the elegance and style of a traditional grand tourer with thoroughly modern V12 muscle. It featured a sonorous 460bhp 6.0-litre V12 in standard form and up to 510bhp in the evolved Vanquish S that would come later.

The Vanquish will be joined by its younger, more pugnacious sibling, the V12 Vantage. Arriving in 2009, it delivered what Aston enthusiasts had been calling for: a version of the beautifully handling Vantage, with added performance punch. It was wonderfully ‘over-engined’, with a 6.0-litre V12 crammed into the smaller Vantage body, driving through a six-speed manual box.

This is just one part of this summer’s event, which will assemble some 80 machines – from classics to modern hypercars – in an oasis of green in the heart of the city of London. Stay tuned for further class announcements in the weeks and months ahead as we approach the anticipated 8th edition of London Concours.

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