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The 50,000cc aircraft-engined Brutus - Et tu, brute?


‘In the beginning, everybody said that I was crazy’ said Hermann Layher. Somewhere inside his slightly crazy noggin, a pulse had fired and Lord O’Mighty, the bonkers idea of putting a recently acquired 50,000cc BMW VI V12 aircraft engine into a 1907 American La France fire truck chassis was stuck. Now, we’ve seen our fair share of craziness over the years but this one is off the hook. For a man like Layher who has toured the Alps in a 1906 Mercedes Simplex, explored Africa in supercharged Mercedes and has competed in the Winter Challenge in a Bugatti Type 57, ‘crazy’ doesn’t quite figure in his dictionary. So, he took the seemingly harmless motor lying in his garage and lodged it inside the fire truck chassis and one Frankenstein of a car came to life with a blood-curdling soundtrack and enough shooting flames to embarrass a flamethrower. The Brutus was born.

A Koenigsegg isn’t excessive. A Bugatti isn’t bonkers. Not with the Brutus in the picture, at least. Compared to this, they’re hatchbacks with economical motors, a good air-con and comfy leather seats. This motor hauled WWII bombers, flying boats and hammered distance and time records the world over. It peaks out at 1700 RPM on the tach but makes over 750 horsepower. But the torque is what matters and though no figures can be found, we’re pretty sure it had enough to make the Earth spin the other way. Rough calculations suggest a torque figure north of 340 kgm (!) while other unconfirmed reports suggests 400-450 kgm, a figure that’s hard to get your head around.

Layher put one of his faithful helpers in charge of the first drive - mostly because he had no kids to worry about - and the poor chap must’ve experienced what flying on the road is like. In perfect working condition, this car would be sheer terror. But imagine driving a garage-built project - you might as well say your last goodbyes. It wants to kill you, no matter what you do - just like Brutus. With hot oil drops flying straight onto your face and no heat protection whatever from this fire-breathing monster, the rear steps out at the slightest touch of the throttle, even at 140 kph! And the brakes, unsophisticated, to say the least. Nerve-racking, heart-stopping, mind-numbing, butt-clenching? Yes, yes, yes and yes. We’re guessing angry Brutus is best sitting inside the Sinsheim Museum - there is such a thing as too much, after all.

As far as you dare


0-100 KPH
Again, as far as you dare