Pebble Beach, California – Four vehicles with engines displacing more than 20 litres, or more than 1,220 cubic inches, will be on display August 17 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance show in California. The vehicles, including a “tank car” owned by Tonight Show host Jay Leno, will be highlighted in a special class for 20 litres and over at the 58th annual event.
On display will be the only long-chassis 200-horsepower “Blitzen Benz”, a custom Rolls-Royce modified to fit a 27-litre Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engine taken from a P-51 fighter, and the 1953 Swandean Spitfire Special, using the same engine with a hand-fabricated chassis. The sole modern offering will be Leno’s custom car, which uses a 30-litre V12 Chrysler-built engine derived from an M-47 Patton tank.
“It’s just ridiculous and probably the most inefficient fuelled vehicle ever devised,” Leno said. “There’s no practical purpose to it, other than it’s just fun and people get a kick out of seeing it. In an era where things are getting smaller and smaller, this is a throwback to a time when things were really, really big.”
To put the cars into perspective, modern semi-truck engines generally top out at 13 litres.
The 20-litre club class is a one-year-only display. “This is a tongue-and-cheek class not based on anything but fun,” Leno said. “I’m not even sure my car will be able to make it around the corner down there at Pebble Beach, so we’ll see what happens.”