12 amazing engines to celebrate the V-12 days of Christmas


Keep your partridge in a pear tree. This Christmas, wouldn't it be far better to find a Cosworth-tuned Aston-Martin in your stocking? Think of it: 6.5 liters of naturally-aspirated perfection, spinning up to a stratospheric 11,100 rpm and cranking out a glorious 1000 hp. Built for Aston's upcoming Valkyrie supercar, this 12-cylinder masterpiece doesn't even need a chassis to be appreciated. Eat your heart out, reindeer.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/12/20/amazing-engines-celebrate-v-12-days-of-christmas


Had the honor and privilege of helping my best friend revive (after a decade of slumber) the 3.0L Colombo Ferrari V12 in his 250GTE this past summer. Was it incredible/amazing working on such a classic engine? Indeed. Was it also just another old car that was a pain in the ass to work on? Indeed. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat!


You can’t mention the 1988 Lamborghini Countache without a nod to the Ferrari flat 12 Testarossa “Redhead.”

It’s obviously not a V 12 engine, but that boxer 12 cylinder design and exhaust note certainly does point back to the heady coke-filled days of the ‘80s.


The Lamborghini double overhead cam V-12 actually started with the 350 GT not the Miura.


The Ferrari Testa Rossa engine was NOT a flat 12 or a boxer engine; it was a 180 degree V-12. In a true boxer engine, the opposing cylinders have a their own separate crankpin journals with a flat plane crankshaft. In the Ferrari engine, the opposing cylinders share the same crankpin journal with a multi-plane crankshaft, thereby making it a V-12.


I can’t believe the photographer of the Campbell-Railton Bluebird V engine could not take two seconds to wipe the dust off the front of the engine and left the finger prints instead!


The Jaguar V12 is a excellent, powerful and bomb proof engine. I own and drive a magnificent 91 XJS V12 convertible. The Lucas electrical components and myriad of rudimentary wiring, switches, sensors, early computers and emissions controls is where the problem lies. British Leyland ownership of Jaguar hurt the company. Fords purchase of Jaguar in 1991 straightened out quality control build issues on the assembly line. Jaguars were and still are, magnificent cars to own.


I get it that the article covers only V12’s. But what about W12’s? I think Bentley’s super smooth and powerful (600 hp in mild tune) twin turbo W12 is more compact and can compete with the others easily. Drop that in the GT Continental body and you have the best 200 mph daily driver useful car made.


I was SO hoping you included a sound file of each engine idling, rev’ing and then screaming by on a hot lap.

Christmas is ruined…LOL

Thank you for the list. Entertaining to read through.



LoL —the Testarossa does in fact have a flat 12 boxer engine. I should know as I’ve owned one for over twenty years — I can assure you that it is NOT a V12.

Here’s a picture of my Testarossa engine taken during an engine-out belt service


mesj/apossri - my understanding of the 12 cylinder config in the Testarossa - it’s a flat-12, but not a “boxer” per se. mesj is correct in that the term “boxer” implies both horizontally opposed and each piston has it’s own crank throw and a “flat plane” crank, such that each successive rod/piston is traveling in opposite directions. So, for each successive pair they are both at TDC and BDC at the same time. Since the Testarossa flat-12 opposing pairs share a crank throw, one piston is at TDC when the other is at BDC. Consequently, technically, it shouldn’t be characterized as a boxer. However, since the “V” angle is 180 degrees, it is a “flat” configuration. Technical folks (especially engineers - I r 1) seem to love that 180 degree V tag - but as a practical matter, when the V becomes a straight line - referring to it as a “V12 with 180 degree V” kind of misses the mark. Since there is no longer a V to speak of. However, if you must… All boxers are flat engines; but not all flat engines are boxers; and technically, a flat, non-boxer configuration is a V of 180 degrees.



I bought a 2000 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante last year with a V12 aluminum alloy engine, It has four overhead cams and 4 valves per cylinder with less than 20,000 miles on it. What a beautiful car and runs smooth as glass. The car is rare with the T56 Tremec manual gearbox and a hoot to drive.
At 420 BHP and 400 lb/ft of torque it’s a wolf in sheeps clothing.