The story of this Rolls like no other begins at the end of the 1960s. Engineer Paul Jameson has the idea of creating a car powered by a tank engine! He set his sights on a Meteor engine, built by Rover to equip the Centurion and Conqueror tanks, before moving on to a 27-liter Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 engine, coming from an airplane.
The rest of the spec sheet is more traditional, with a Jaguar rear axle, Wolseley parts, obviously reinforced suspensions, and a house chassis. It will take a lot of patience and a lot of broken boxes to finally find a system that allows the box and the motor to form a happy marriage.
John Dodd buys the project
While we might think that the hardest part is done for our inventor, he gets bored before building a body for his car. One day in 1969, he sold the project to a certain John Dodd for £ 500. He entrusted the rolling frame to Bob Phelps Bromley Fiber Glass Repairs, a company specializing in fiberglass.
For the sake of simplicity, they use a Ford Capri MK1 roof as a base. But what’s going to rock it all is the use of a Rolls-Royce hood, grille and bumpers. The Beast MK1 was born. But things will quickly get complicated.
The Beast becomes a star
Legend has it that things started to get complicated the day a Porsche customer was overtaken on the highway when he was himself at 240 km / h. Intrigued, he contacted Rolls-Royce to ask them what this new model was so fast. Even in the absence of social networks, the car creates a buzz with every appearance and television begins to take an interest in it.
In 1973, the Beast made the cover of “Hot Car” magazine before breaking a speed record approved by the Guinness Book. The fake Rolls is starting to become cumbersome for the Rolls-Royce company, which views this sudden notoriety with a very negative light.
The car burns in an accident
Ulcerated, the management of the English manufacturer decides to take the matter to court. But an event will upset their plan. As he drives the car back from a Swedish salon, the car hits a hole in the road at high speed. One of the transmission oil tanks split, oil spilled and set the car on fire. Dodd desperately tries to put out the blaze, to no avail. The Beast is wrecked.
Far from being discouraged, Dodd rebuilt a bodywork and soon reappeared in the press. We must admit that the boy is a good communicator. When articles are scarce, he parks in Fleet Street, a district full of editorial staff, hood up. It will take no more for Rolls-Royce to resuscitate its complaint.
A resounding trial
Dodd is summoned to the High Court for trademark infringement. Provocative, he does not hesitate to go to the hearing every day at the wheel of the car, taking care to park it just in front of the entrance to the court. Not content with showing off the subject of the crime in court each morning, he wears a sweater with the Rolls-Royce logo to the court.
During the debates, the president slips that “1000 horses, it is perhaps a little excessive”. The next day, Dodd appears in court on horseback before tying his mount to the door of the courthouse. A series of provocations that he will pay dearly.
In exile in Spain
The lawsuit, the lawyers, the various contempt of court will cost Dodd his house, as well as all his possessions, including a twin-engine plane. Dodd lost everything, including the right to put a Rolls-Royce grille on his car.
Now 90 years old, Dodd still spends his days reconditioning Rolls and Bentley gearboxes in his Malaga workshop. And the Beast? It always rolls and always makes the happiness of the onlookers. With a consumption of 115 liters per hundred, the outputs are rare.