London Concours to celebrate the V12 engine


London Concours has announced that this June’s show will feature a celebration of that most evocative automotive ingredient: the V12 engine.



Running from June 4th to 6th, 2024, at the Honourable Artillery Company in the heart of London, the classic show will look at the history of the V12: the beating heart of some of the most famous cars to grace our roads over the decades.

At the centre of the V12 display is the priceless, one-off, Jaguar XJ13 prototype. Designed by Jaguar engineer, William Heynes, the XJ13 was intended to take the fight to Ferrari and the other established names at Le Mans in the mid-1960s. 


It had advanced lightweight construction, tipping the scales at just under 1000kg, despite having a substantial, 5.0-litre V12 mounted behind the driver. The engine was incorporated into the chassis as a stressed member and produced 502bhp at 7600rpm, driving the rear wheels through a five-speed manual ZF box. 

Unfortunately, by the time the prototype had been completed in 1966, Jaguar was in the midst of merging with BMC and top-level racing had fallen down the management team’s agenda. As a result, the XJ13 never raced. It offers a tantalising glimpse of what might have been for Jaguar.


The Beast – Airwolfhound


Also scheduled is another unique machine that takes the concept of a V12-engined road car to its absolute extreme: a 27-litre V12 Rolls-Royce. It is, of course, John Dodd’s legendary ‘The Beast’; dubbed the ‘Super Rolls’ by the BBC.

With a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine under that long bonnet, it was said to produce between 750 and 1000bhp and was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘the world’s most powerful car’ in 1977. 

Dodd was known to have exercised ‘The Beast’ on Germany’s Autobahns, presumably surprising a few drivers of potent BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars in the process. 

The RAC clocked it at 183mph in the hands of a very brave test driver, although it was believed that it was a true 200mph car. 

A wild Lamborghini Diablo brings a dash of 1990s excess to the lineup. For many car enthusiasts who came of age in the 1990s it remains the ultimate poster supercar. Introduced in 1990 as a successor to the Countach, the Diablo featured a more futuristic design – low, wide and outrageous – penned by master designer, Marcello Gandini.


Lamborghini Diablo –


The Diablo featured a mid-mounted V12: initially a dual overhead cam 5.7-litre unit, with four valves per-cylinder. It put out 485bhp and was good for 202mph, which was very brisk in 1990. 

The Diablo remained in production until 2001, tamed only slightly following Audi’s takeover of the company. The V12 Sant’Agata acts as a bridge between fearsome old-school Lamborghinis and the brand’s marginally saner, 21st century creations.

A British V12 supercar created for the new millennium is the wonderful Ian Callum-designed Vanquish. Introduced in 2001, it combined the graceful elegance and style of a traditional grand tourer with thoroughly modern V12 muscle. 

It featured a sonorous 460bhp, 6.0-litre V12 in standard form and up to 510bhp in the Vanquish S that followed. It provided one of the best automotive soundtracks of the noughties – a baleful howl – and could propel the sleek coupe to over 190mph.

The Vanquish had a younger, more pugnacious sibling: the V12 Vantage. Arriving in 2009, it delivered what Aston enthusiasts had been calling for: a version of the beautifully handling Vantage, with added performance punch. It was wonderfully ‘over-engined’, with a 6.0-litre V12 crammed into the smaller Vantage body, driving through a six-speed manual box. 

With 510bhp – a useful gain of 90bhp over the torque-light V8 model – the V12 could surge toward the horizon with relentless ferocity. 



The V12 show is just one part of this summer’s event, which assembles 80 machines – from classics to modern hypercars – in an oasis of green in the heart of the city of London. 

Andrew Evans, Managing Director, London Concours, said:

“At the heart of countless exotic machines over the decades, the V12 has long been associated with glamour, performance and of course: a spellbinding soundtrack. 

“It is sure to further enhance our show this June, which is set to be our most exciting automotive summer garden party yet.”

Beyond the cars, guests to the Honorary Artillery Company will be treated to a decadent range of food and drink options, including the all-day Club Concours hospitality experience, engaging live-stage discussions, as well as a carefully selected line-up of luxury brands and boutiques. 

London Concours 2024 is set to be another unforgettable occasion of automotive indulgence.

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