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John Dodd's "The Beast"


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#1 OFFLINE   Station

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 11:41 AM

A thread keeps reappearing on a forum I use about this car. It was a Capri with an elongated bonnet with a Rolls-Royce-esque front end (until Rolls-Royce themselves tooks legal action to remove the RR grille).

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It had a 28-litre Spitfire Merlin (or "Meteor" without supercharger) engine with a bespoke automatic transmission. This is probably around 1,500bhp.

"In the 1960s John Dodd of Kent, England put a Merlin engine (some say it actually was a Rover Meteor tank engine, but then this is a Merlin minus superchargers) 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 himself he once drove by a Porsche driver on the autobahn and this person 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 and gave 1262 bhp (941 kW) at 8500 feet (2,600 m). In the car the supercharger was removed so it "only" gave about 850 bhp (630 kW). The chassis was custom made with a fibreglass body and used a gearbox from a GM 400. The car was later restored by John Dodd's son Paul Dodd and he also has a 2050 bhp (1530 kW) twin-supercharged Rolls-Royce Griffon 37 litre engine from a late-model Spitfire he is willing to put in a car if somebody would be interested in buying it."

My mate Tony Lauder used to live opposite John Dodds house in Links Road, Epsom during the 70's. I saw the car often, as it wouldn't fit in the garage. The back end used to stick out from under the door.

Whenever he fired it up we would go out into the road and watch, sometimes he was just moving it, other times he went off in a cloud of smoke. It would do 70mph in reverse.

He was an independent Rolls Royce gearbox specialist (That's what was on the side of his van anyway). The original body was Ford Capri, and was really rough inside, the re-incarnation (after the fire) I think was from a Scimitar, also glass fibre.

The pics above were taken at Santa Pod, I was there and couldn't believe the distortion of the chassis as he gave it full power - great sound though.

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#2 OFFLINE   seth

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 11:42 AM

Still alive and in a retirement villa in Spain I believe?

#3 OFFLINE   VWPowered

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 11:52 AM

yes theres a site with a page dedicated for it :D

#4 OFFLINE   FredTransit

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 11:55 AM

I can't decide if I like that or not, it's a living photoshop!
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#5 OFFLINE   nigel bickle

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 12:01 PM

Used to live very close to it. Saw it often, till I moved away.Clearly remember him parking in Epsom High Street to pop into WH Smiths.Side exiting multiple exhausts made a beautiful noise on fire up!!
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#6 OFFLINE   colc

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 12:03 PM

Not as impressive as Charlie Broomfiled's 27 litre SD1 in Practical Performance magazine.........................
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#7 OFFLINE   Station

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 12:35 PM

yes theres a site with a page dedicated for it :D

Do you know the website address?

#8 OFFLINE   pogweasel

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 12:46 PM

Here's some youtube about it: So someone on here could enlighten us about what it's like to drive, if they felt so inclined... :wink: :wink:

#9 OFFLINE   colc

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 01:35 PM

Read an article on it some time ago, apparently it was a bit of a bugger to drive, not that quick off the line, and scary at high speeds [I don't think that the aerodynamics were thought through exactly...] also had a liking for overheating, and catching fire, often at the same time. The turning cirlce was also heroically comical.
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#10 OFFLINE   VWPowered

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 01:50 PM

http://www.spainvia.com/Merlincar.htm :lol:

#11 OFFLINE   VWPowered

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 01:53 PM

although, it looks like thats copied from wiki :roll:

#12 OFFLINE   M'coli

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 01:57 PM

That featured in a magazine inside the last 6 months, but I can't remember offhand which one!

#13 OFFLINE   55bloke

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 03:49 PM

I've seen that car several times at various shows and at Santa Pod back in the day- there's some pics of it on my Blasts From The Past thread, I think! The body was all fibregalss, though perhaps the windscreen and rear quarter windows came from a Capri?

#14 OFFLINE   AnthonyG

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 08:22 PM

Yes the body was custom built, the roof/windows of the earlier version came from a Capri though.

#15 OFFLINE   pompei

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 08:26 PM

Maybe the resident tester will tell us more .... :wink:
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#16 OFFLINE   Barry Cade.

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 10:09 PM

That featured in a magazine inside the last 6 months, but I can't remember offhand which one!

Classic and Sprtscar, I have the issue somewhere,was maybe Dec/Jan

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#17 Guest__*

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 08:59 PM

It was also in Evo, they were surprisingly complimentary about it considering it wasn't a Porsche.




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