Built in an era when no one bothered about “numbers matching” and enthusiasts building custom cars only cared about following the latest and craziest trends and outdoing the next guy, The Beast was even recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most powerful car in 1977.
Famous for its monstrous 27-liter (1,650 cu in) V12 Rolls-Royce Merlin engine - the same used in the Spitfire and Hurricane fighter aircraft that played a crucial role in the air victories in the Battle of Britain - the car also impresses with its unusual looks and elongated proportions.
The Beast you see in the photos attached to this article is actually the second iteration of the one-off car. The original one suffered extensive damage to the body and engine in a fire in 1974 whilst Dodd was returning from a visit to the King of Sweden, who wanted to see the bonkers vehicle in person.
The Beast started life in 1966 as a custom rolling chassis created by fellow engineer Paul Jameson and initially featured a Rolls-Royce Meteor tank engine. Dodd was the man contracted to build an automated transmission for the car, and he ended up buying the project and finishing the vehicle himself.
He endowed it with a huge fiberglass body made by a company named Fibre Glass Repairs and painted it red, along with a Rolls-Royce Corniche grille and emblem. Because the engine and the grille up front were bearing the Rolls-Royce brand, Dodd called the resulting car a Rolls-Royce (what else?), which didn’t sit well with the luxury car maker who later filed a lawsuit against him.
When Rolls-Royce won the court case, Dodd flew to Spain. His beloved creation joined him a few years later, and that’s when the grille was changed to what you see on the car today, with John’s initials front and center.
Equipped with the new Merlin V12, the car was rumored to be capable of making between 750 hp and 1,000 hp (761 and 1,014 ps), with 760 lb-ft (1,030 Nm) of torque. It is also said to be capable of double that amount if refitted with the original supercharger. When the Guinness Book of World Records named it the most powerful car in the world in 1977, it said The Beast “exceeded 200 mph [322 kph] on many occasions on Continental roads.”
What we know for sure is that the RAC measured the car at 183 mph (295 kph) in 1973, but there are reports claiming it could hit a maximum speed of 260 mph (418 kph). The exact performance in its current state is not known.
John Dodd passed away at the end of last year, and his family is now looking for a new home for his beloved car. Showing just over 10,000 miles (16,093 km) on the odometer and in full running condition, The Beast is scheduled to roll across the auction block on March 9. We certainly wish the highest bidder would regularly use it on the road as John Dodd did, but we can’t help but pity them for the dent gas expenses will put on their finances.