It’s said in the realm of project cars that you can make anything work if you have enough money. Australian IT guru Paul Halstead has that money, and he’s willing to stick two V8s together in a brand new supercar to prove that yes, just about anything is possible.
Paul’s delightfully psychotic project doesn’t have a name yet, and it’s still in the mock-up stage, but it’s worth exploring now, chiefly because of what will be under the bonnet. Behind the cockpit will crouch a gemini of 7.0 V8s. That’s 14 liters of astonishing displacement. Unlike other twin V8 projects (and we can really only think of a couple), Paul’s engines are canted, opposing each other by 45 degrees, and he says they’ll fit.
It’s a slightly different, but much less expensive, setup than the Bugatti Veyron, whose 16 cylinders share a single crank. Paul’s setup uses one crank for each of the V8s, both of them running into a single, heavy duty transfer case, and then on to a 6-speed sequential transmission and a limited slip diff. And unlike the Veyron, all the power is presumably going to the rear wheels.
How much power, you ask? Only 1,200 horses. We’re not sure whether or not to be facetious about that “only.” On the one hand, 1,200 hp is already insane, shouldering into the territory of highly-tuned drag stip monsters. On the other hand, that’s 14 liters we’re dealing with, and a built Nissan GT-R can get that power out of just 3.8. But we’re in the realm of the titans, here.
Getting back to earth, we know that the car will be made mostly of carbon fiber, which is a positive, as those two mills can’t be featherweights. Nor will Paul skimp on rigidity. The new project won’t have any doors, opting instead for an overhead canopy that slides back and forth like the Batmobile’s. This, Halstead says, will cut weight and improve stiffness.
And despite this setup, climbing in shouldn’t be too tough, because the car is only 43 inches tall, approaching the Ford GT40. This low COG will undoubtedly assist F1 designer Barry Lock in developing the suspension. Paul says the control module, including the steering wheel and gauges, will swing up and away to allow for easy access, before locking back into place when the driver is in.
He’ll be seated, of course, right in the middle of the cockpit. Like the McLaren F1, this new project will have “1+2” seating, with a seat on either side of and behind the driver. Paul says he won’t skimp on the modcons, either, with A/C and plenty of safety features included.
This isn’t Paul’s first foray into the great Australian mid-engine sports car, either. In 1986 he developed, together with Lock, the Giocattolo, an Alfa-Romeo Sprint with the 4-pot pulled from under the hood and a 5.0 Holden V8 bolted in behind the driver. It made 270 hp, which, for the time, wasn’t bad in a 2,400 lb car.
Sadly, the Giocattolo never caught on. Only 15 were made before the company shuttered in 1989. Even more sadly, 29-year-old racing driver Todd Wilkes was piloting one in 2001 when he was killed in an accident.
Paul lost $4 million in the venture, and it’s a mistake he won’t make again, capping this new project at $1 million. Unfortunately for us, that means it will be a one-off. Paul plans to show it at the 2016 Ridler Hot Rod Awards here in the States.
He isn’t however, opposed to the idea of someone else producing it in larger scale. Neither are we.
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.