Friday, 10 March 2023, 01:00
A legendary vehicle, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1977 as 'the world's most powerful car', has been put up for auction following the death of its designer, who had been living in Churriana for more than 40 years.
Affectionately known as the Beast, the 19-foot-long car, which originally had a 27-litre Rolls-Royce Meteor V12 engine, was designed by John Dodd and fellow engineer Paul Jameson.
After buying the entire rights to the project from Jameson for 400 pounds in the early 1970s, Dodd, who was known as a “gearbox guru”, fitted the car with the basics of a 1970s Rolls-Royce, complete with the iconic grille and the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot. The original car was damaged by a fire, but he rebuilt it with a Merlin engine (the type deployed in the Spitfire), a Silver Shadow grille and the iconic Rolls-Royce beige paintwork.
However, Rolls-Royce were not amused by Dodd's creation, which reached a certified speed, according to the RAC, of 183 mph in 1973.
The Silver Shadow grille was eventually replaced with a generic model containing his initials after Rolls-Royce sued Dodd for trademark infringement.
Dodd parked The Beast outside the court in London every day throughout the hearing. On the last day, fearing the car might be impounded, Dodd arrived at the court on horseback and wearing a shirt with the Rolls-Royce logo, which caused a media circus. The court ruled in Rolls-Royce's favour, fining Dodd.
After losing an appeal, Dodd moved to Malaga in the early 1980s and set up home, and a business, in Churriana, where he died 40 years later.
Despite his altercation with the luxurious British car manufacturer, Dodd spent his final years reconditioning Rolls-Royce and Bentley gearboxes in his workshop in Churriana, where he, and The Beast, became local heroes. His business, Caja de Cambios Automaticas SL was the first company created in Spain exclusively for the reconstruction and repair of automatic gearboxes for luxury cars.
Dodd died shortly before his 90th birthday in December 2022. It is rumoured that he was getting The Beast, which is still registered as a Rolls-Royce, ready to take back to the UK with the hope of hitting 200 mph at Santa Pod Raceway.
Dodd's family decided that The Beast, which does around four miles to the gallon, should go to a new home, and so it was put up for auction - with bidding beginning at around 750,000 pounds - with Car and Classic UK from Thursday 9 until Thursday 16 March.
The BBC Top Gear website claims, “The Beast is perhaps the most bonkers road car in existence. Auction listings like this don't come along every day.”
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