Feast your eyes on the GTO Engineering Squalo’s 10,000rpm V12

By topgear, 13 May 2021

Usually, internet, we do not bring you news purely of an engine. Whether it’s a thrummy Ford EcoBoost or a blub-lub-lub AMG V8, we love engines great and small… but we tend to put them in the context of, y’know, being bolted into a car.

We will make exceptions, however, for engines that look like this. If you’ve ever wondered what Sixties sports car engineers would’ve designed if they’d have 21st Century computer modelling and materials at their disposal, look no further.

You’re drooling over the first renderings of the 4.0-litre naturally aspirated V12 that’ll power GTO Engineering’s bespoke retro supercar as inspired by the finest British and Italian exotica of the 1960s. The car, as we now know, will be called ‘Squalo’, which is Italian for shark. And this is what’s going to give it some bite.

Here are some stats for you to drink in: a redline of 10,000rpm. That’s higher than Ferrari’s new 812 Competizione, which spins to a pathetic 9,500rpm. Peak power here will be north of 460bhp, in a car set to weigh less than a tonne. And just 165kg of that will be accounted for by this delectable engine.

Course, you might by thinking ‘lovely and all, but GTO Engineering specialise in rebooting elderly Ferraris and suchlike. Surely this is just a rehashed bag of leftovers?’

How rude of you. GTO says in fact, the Squalo’s engine is properly bespoke.

“People often ask us what the similarities are between Squalo and any 250-series car, and it’s easier to say this: there are none,” says GTO Engineering boss Mark Lyon.

“There aren’t any parts that are shared between the two, and one key case study for that is the engine. We know most V12 Ferraris inside out, and recently weighed a 1960 4.0-litre V12 engine; it was 176kg as a complete unit with the starter motor, oil and oil filler tubes too. That’s so much lighter than a modern V12, and we know we can do even better with our knowledge as well as modern advancements and techniques.”

Hollowed-out parts, a lighter starter motor and feathery clutch and flywheel have all been specified. The resulting engine will also live lower down and further back than in a classic Ferrari. Good news for handling, that.

And yet, this is also supposed to be a work of art, not just a speed machine. Like the Cosworth-crafted V12 set to star in Gordon Murray’s tri-seat T50, GTO Engineering has designed this engine to be as gorgeous as it is potent. So, no plastic covers. No cheap’n’nasty fixtures.

Heck, they’ve even designed a new style of distributor cap after apparently “not finding an aesthetically pleasing off-the-shelf part.” Oof. Shots fired.

Squalo deliveries, remember, are slated for 2023. Set up your homemade lemonade stall now, and get saving people. 

STORY Ollie Kew

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