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Meteor 27-Litre V12 Special Registration no. not registered Chassis no. n/a Engine no. n/a

Estimate: £150,000 - £200,000
Lot 457
Meteor 27-Litre V12 Special
Registration no. not registered Chassis no. n/a Engine no. n/a

Meteor 27-Litre V12 Special
Registration no. not registered
Chassis no. n/a
Engine no. n/a

Odometer reading: N/A

*Built by the vendor
*Powered by a 27-litre Rolls-Royce Meteor V12 tank engine
*Jaguar XJ12 running gear
*Automatic transmission
*Has run successfully but needs further development

To view a feature video of this lot please click here

To view a video of this lot please click here


Construction of this unique car was commenced in Cape Town, South Africa around 2001 after the vendor had visited Robin Beech in Sussex and seen his Handlye Special. A gargantuan one-off, the Handlye is powered by an un-supercharged 27-litre Merlin V12 engine making it sound just like a Spitfire. Our client was hooked. After a year's search he found a Meteor engine in Johannesburg, taken from a Centurion tank sent to South Africa in 1952. The Meteor engine is the un-supercharged version of the Merlin.

Unable to find a suitable Rolls-Royce or Bentley chassis, the vendor settled for a double ladder, cross-braced chassis of his own tried-and-tested design. He also chose to use Jaguar XJ12 suspension units, which endowed the Meteor with power assisted ventilated disc brakes and power steering, both vital on account of the car's weight (around 2,200kg). On completion, the weight distribution was found to be almost 50/50 front/rear. According to the vendor, the Meteor handles as easily as an XJ12 Jaguar and the ride is very comfortable.

Having moved to England in 2016, the vendor had the engine rebuilt by Flight Engineers in Leeds, a company specialising in aero engines. The Meteor was tested on their dynamometer and found to develop 631bhp and 1,449lb/ft of torque. Fuel consumption is expected to be 5-10mpg. The fuel tank holds 25 gallons for a range of around 125-250 miles.

The rebuilt gearbox is a GM TH400 automatic from a Jaguar XJ12 (now incorporating drag racing internals), while the step-up gearbox was designed and built in Cape Town using helical gears (although more expensive, they are quieter than the straight-cut type). The car runs on 21" wheels and Blockley tyres, and is geared for a top speed of 204mph (academic, as the tyres' rated maximum is 135mph). Nevertheless, the front of the car has been endowed with as much downforce as is commensurate with the 1930s styling à la the Napier Railton.

The aluminium body panels are supported by a tubular steel framework. A central driving position astride the gearboxes gives lots of space for the driver, while two passengers can be accommodated on the rear bench seat. Carpeting is Wilton.
In February 2018 the vendor was invited to participate in the making of a promotional video for the Saunton Sands Golden Mile event for pre-1955 cars and motorcycles, to be held later that year. This seven-mile run up and down the beach was the first real test of the car, which reached 80mph in 1st gear (the beach limit is 60mph). Subsequently the Discovery Channel of Canada made a short documentary showing the Meteor climbing the steep lane at its home in Devon, which has been shown worldwide. The Meteor has also run successfully at the Bristol & Bath Show where the crowd loved it. Having reached the stage where it can be driven, the Meteor needs only some further development and improvement, plus a final coat of silver paint. The car comes with a photographic record of the build and the vendor's own lengthier and more detailed account of its construction.

Parts being sold with the car are:

Large trailer with manual winch
Full size spare wheel
New unused camshafts still in their box
Spare oil pump
Two spare water pumps (mechanical OE)
Wheel spacers
Socket spanner for undoing inner spark plugs
Alignment tool for aligning gearbox to engine
Waterproof car cover with soft under cover
Spare battery (in side pod)
Tonneau cover

Vendor Score Total: 80 /100

Bidders should note that the automated 100-point Seller's Assessment is provided by each Seller at the point of consignment using the guidelines below, and is not provided, assessed or verified by Bonhams MPH. Accordingly Customers (Bidders) are on notice that each vehicle is offered "as is / as seen" subject to the Conditions of Sale for the auction, and Customers (Bidders) are strongly recommended to view the Lot(s) being offered, before bidding, in order to satisfy themselves as to their condition; Bonhams MPH will not entertain disputes over Sellers' Assessments.

Key for sellers' assessments:
1/5 POOR. A project vehicle | Requires urgent attention | Damaged | Parts missing
2/5 AVERAGE. Useable condition | Requires some attention | Light damage
3/5 GOOD. Drive away | Presents well | Good history file | Drives well
4/5 VERY GOOD. Well restored | Running and driving with no noticeable faults | Sound throughout
5/5 EXCELLENT. Concours condition | Beautifully presented | Driving very well

Body Work: 4
Paint: 4
Glass: 4
Chrome/Plastics/Trim: 4
Wheels/Tyres: 4

Gearbox/Clutch: 4
Axles: 4
Suspension: 4
Brakes: 4

Seats: 4
Dashboard/Door cards/Carpets: 4
Headlining: 4
Trim: 4

Main components: 4
Ancillary components: 4

Starting: 4
Running: 4
Under Bonnet: 4
Mechanical components: 4

Car History File: 4

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  • 3 September 2021, 09:00 - 18:00 BST

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