14 liters of displacement and Bugatti Chiron-rivalling power.
Australia doesn't enjoy much in the way of a domestic automotive industry anymore, thanks to Ford, GM, and Toyota all deciding at more-or-less the same time to put an end to their Australian manufacturing operations. Still, there are a few bright spots, as small-scale automakers like Brabham Automotive and a handful of kit-car producers keep the dream of domestic auto manufacturing alive.
Now, there's soon to be a new kid on the block, from 72-year-old Australian Paul Halstead - former owner of De Tomaso Australia and founder of the short-lived specialty car manufacturer Giocattolo Motori. It's called the Giocattolo Marcella, and one of its key selling points will undoubtedly be its engine: a W16 made by joining a pair of GM LS7 V8s near the crank.
The LS7, remember, is the high-revving, power-dense small-block that powered the C6-generation Corvette Z06 and fifth-gen Camaro Z28.
The engine will boast Higgins race heads with a billet alloy bridge tying the two blocks together and a plate across the back for affixing a custom transfer case. That transfer case's job is to channel the torque from both crankshafts into a single output shaft that interfaces with an Albins-supplied, six-speed sequential transaxle with a limited-slip differential. Most high-tech of all, the whole assembly will serve as a stress-bearing member of the chassis, just like in an F1 car.
"I wanted the power of the Bugatti Veyron but I couldn't afford to build a bespoke W16 engine, and frankly nor did I have the expertise," Halstead told Australian outlet Car Advice. "Chasing power, I started with an LS7 Chevrolet alloy V8. Supercharging was a possibility... but the center of gravity would have been way too high."
Instead, he went the twin-LS7 route, after realizing he could squeeze them close together and mount them low by tilting each at a 45-degree angle and incorporating dry-sump lubrication. The end result is an astounding 1,400 horsepower and full emissions compliance.
The Marcella will be the first of a new car genre Halstead has coined: the "hyperod." It's essentially an amalgam of the hypercar and hot rod genres, with stunning looks and an awesome soundtrack, a low-slung body, high-tech powertrain, analog instruments and inputs, and visual ties to American hot rod history. Just as important, to qualify as a hyperod, mechanical bits such as the engine must be visible and exquisite to look at.
Halstead hopes the wild-looking Giocattolo Marcella, which takes the form of a lightweight three-seat speedster, will be ready to premiere at the 2022 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. We're not sure we can handle the wait.