A 12-Liter WWI Aircraft V8 Makes a Perfect Race-Car Engine

Hispano-Suiza's V8 was a 300-hp game-changer in 1915. Today, it lives on in a ripping race car.

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The Hispano-Suiza 8 was developed at the beginning of World War I for use in figther planes. Today, an example of this gigantic lives on in a totally rip-snorting race car. As racer Tom Walker explains, these monster V8s were far too expensive to use in production cars when new, but after the war, plenty of them ended up disused in scrapyards. And as it turns out, it makes a perfect engine for a pre-war race car.

This 12-liter V8 was very advanced when it was first put to use in 1915—reliable, lightweight, and powerful. With around 300 hp to offer, it was a game-changer then, and it makes for a fast race car today. Faster than the car's drum brakes can handle.

Walker's car started life as a French Amilcar built in 1930, and it uses a two-speed Frazer-Nash gearbox. Today, he races it all over the UK at circuits like Donnington, Silverstone, and yes, Goodwood. This video profile captures him getting it ready for the Member's Meeting, changing the rear-end gear to better suit Goodwood Circuit's big speeds.

It's a righteous machine, one we imagine is fantastic to watch on track.

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