What strange automotive times we live in. As big, many-cylindered engines drop like flies and manufacturers push towards electrification, the more specialist end of the market has provided us three brand new, ultra high-revving V12s in a short space of time.
First came the Aston Martin Valkyrie‘s 6.5-litre, 11,100rpm-capable unit, then the GMA T.50’s 3.9, which goes one better by topping out at 12,100rpm. These two Cosworth-developed lumped are now joined by an incoming, box-fresh V12 from Reading-based GTO Engineering, and although it won’t rev as high, it has a trump card - weight.
GTO, known for the 250 SWB ‘Revival’ we drove not so long ago, is targeting a weight figure of just 165kg. For comparison, the GMA’s 12-banger tips the scales at 178kg, while the bigger engine in the Valkyrie is 206kg.
Hugely impressive, but interestingly, it’s only a smidge lighter than the Colombo V12s GTO rebuilds for its Revival cars. The company recently weighed one, yielding a figure of 176kg with oil on board and the starter motor attached. “We know we can do even better with our knowledge as well as modern advancements and techniques,” company founder Mark Lyon reckons.
Weight won’t be the only way it improves upon its spiritual predecessor. While the Colombo is all out of ideas at 7000rpm or so, the new quad-cam 4.0-litre engine will rev to 10,000. That’s 500rpm higher than the latest version of Ferrari’s F140 V12 manages in the new 812 Competizione.
It’ll make a lot less power than the F140 with a figure of just over 460bhp quoted, but that’ll feel like plenty in a car it’s set to power. The vehicle in question is the Squalo (previously codenamed the Moderna), a sub-1000kg sports car with styling inspired by the 250 SWB.
It’ll be completely unrelated to the old SWB, though, not least because of the new engine. The Squalo (which is Italian for ‘shark’) will use a newly designed tubular spaceframe structure, to which GTO will attach aluminium and carbon fibre body panels. Unlike the 250s the company works with, it’ll have modern, fully independent suspension - no solid axles or leaf springs going on here. The V12 will be mounted as low and as far back as possible in the front of the frame for better weight distribution, helped further by a transaxle gearbox and a rear-mounted battery.
The car and the engine will be hand-built by GTO Engineering in the UK, with initial customer deliveries due to kick off in 2023. A price tag hasn’t been revealed, but we’d imagine it’d be a figure best described as ‘lots’.