Two 7.0-Liter LS7s Make Up This Australian Hypercar's 1,400 HP W16 Engine

If fusing two engines together was easy, we'd probably see a lot more cars with W-something configurations. As it stands, though, the only ones that come to mind are a few top models in the extended Volkswagen Group portfolio.
Giocattolo Marcella 8 photos
Photo: Giocattolo
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The most famous of them all are the two modern Bugatti models, the Veyron and the Chiron, but the Volkswagen Phaeton, the Audi A8, and the Bentley Continental GT all had a W16 engine under their hoods at some point. Still, no matter how great these other cars may be, it's plain to see why it was the 1,500 hp Chiron hypercar that stole the thunder, and not the more comfort-oriented limousines.

Now, though, a new model with this rare engine layout emerges, and it has absolutely nothing to do with Volkswagen. In fact, if it weren't for that very engine, it would have very little connections with any established automotive brand since it's built in Australia under the obscure name of Giocattolo.

If you spent most of your time during the 1980s Down Under, the name might seem a little familiar. Giocattolo is the creation of Paul Halstead, a man who made his money in the computer business but invested it in various car projects, including a mid-engine Group B model based on an Alfa Romeo Sprint. It didn't go well for Paul, but even though most of the money went away, his passion for fast cars did not.

Now, Paul is ready to make a comeback, and he seems determined to make it grander than anyone could have expected. The Giocattolo Marcella is a three-seat open-top hypercar designed from scratch that Paul hopes will be ready just in time for the 2022 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

The design is a mix of modern lines and retro-futuristic elements, with the former being very obvious in the front half (which has definite McLaren vibes), and the latter taking over the vehicle's rear (which has 1950s Cadillac written all over it).

However, it's the engine that will most likely steal all the headlines, and for good reason. The Giocattolo Marcella (named after Paul's wife) uses a monster 14-liter W16 engine made by mating two LS7 units together. The power output of the gargantuan rig is said to deliver 1,400 hp, which meant a special gearbox was required. A six-speed sequential unit from Albins was selected, with the motorsport specialist also providing a limited-slip differential to complete the package.

In the end, this setup not only gives the Giocattolo Marcella incredible power but also keeps the center of gravity low while somehow managing to comply with emissions regulations. The endgame for Halstead is to sell the Marcella on the US market, and even though no price was mentioned yet, you get the impression you'd know if you could afford one.

Like it or not, we think it's great things like this still happen while the whole of the industry only seems busy with pushing for the development of EV technology. If they turn out to be successful, exotic projects like this might end up being the only applications left for internal combustion engines, but let's not conclude on a pessimistic note.

The visionary man calls it a "Hyperod" and, anticipating you would ask, he came up with a bullet list of the requirements (via Caradvice):

• It must be mighty powerful and sound intimidating
• Visually, it must be sexy and make adults swear appreciatively
• It must have visual links to American Hot Rod history
• Unlike hot rods, it must be mechanically sophisticated
• All mechanicals including the engine must be visible, polished and be exceptional in their execution
• The wheels must be super wide
• It must be impossibly low
• It’s a roadster, okay
• It’s analog in its instrumentation and operation
• It must make occupants feel like rock stars!
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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