There's nothing like firing up a naked V12, unencumbered by sheetmetal. Here are 12 ear-stroking specimens, starting with a tiny, hand-built V12; 87cc's worth of air-cooled miraculousness. German hobbyist Ralf Drendel created this tiny masterwork just because he could.
2.) 27 Liter Rover Meteor MK4B Tank Engine
Rover built this monster V12—a relative of the Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engine—to power the Centurion, Britain's primary battle tank of the post World War II era. That and this awesome Rover project.
3.) Lamborghini Miura
The 3.9-liter V12 from the Lamborghini Miura produced between 350hp and 385hp during its heyday in the mid- to late-1960s. Concerned with packaging the transversely mounted Bizzarini engine, engineers Dallara and Stanzini (and master wrench/driver Bob Wallace) took a cue from Mini; the engine and 5-speed transaxle were formed in a single casting.
4.) V71 Detroit Diesel V12
This 852ci V12 produced 450hp and about a gajillion pounds-feet of torque when it went into use in GMC trucks and buses. This twin-turbocharged specimen supposedly produces 525hp and sounds awfully untrucklike.
5.) V12 Ferrari F1
This screamy, early 1990s Ferrari V12 setup (assumedly Alain Prost's Ferrari 642), is under the auspices of Italian racing team Scuderia Ecosse. If it's the Ferrari Tipo 037, this V12 displaces 3.5 liters and produces upward of 700hp.
6.) 3,200ci Climax V12
A giant V12 with a seven-inch bore and stroke and 270 cubes per cylinder, and you start it with a rope? Yes.
7.) Allison V12
The Allison V1710 powered the US Air Corps fighter fleet in the early years of WWII, producing up to 1,300 hp in European and Pacific theater fighters such as the P-38 Lightning, Bell P-39 Airacobra and P-40 Warhawk. Today, this one's strictly ground bound.
8.) Ferrari 365 GT4
With a chassis adapted from the 365GTB/4 Daytona, the Pininfarina-designed 365 GT4 also shared the same 4.4-liter, quad-cam Colombo V12, which in the GT4 produced 340 hp at 6,800rpm. What you can't see here is the GM Turbohydromatic slushbox that shifted gears for the majority of these cruisers.
9.) Russian V12 Tank Engine
The 39-liter, turbocharged Russian V-46 engine, motivator of the Breshnev-era T-72 tank, was a product of the fearsome Uralvagonzavod factory — the largest producer of tanks in the world during the 1940s. Thus, its ominous idle cadence that sounds like the 8th Estonian Rifle Corps marching into Saaremaa.
10.) GMC 702 Twin-Six "Balaur"
The 702 ci GMC "dragon" twin six, as Ms. Martin once pointed out, wasn't built from two sixes, but was a full 12 with a unique block and crank, and four V6 cylinder heads bolted on. It netted only 250 hp, but kicked out 585 lb/ft of missile-pulling torque.
11.) 1932 Cadillac OHV V12
In 1931, Cadillac introduced a V12 as a depression-era alternative to the V16 for former tycoons who'd only lost only part of their shirts in the 1929 crash. It was the perfect motoring accompaniment to the Escalade of its day, the 7-passenger 370B.
12.) Ferrari 250 GT Lusso V12
Steve McQueen's beloved Ferrari 250 GT Lusso recently sold for $2.3 million, so this 2.95 liter Colombo Tipo 125 V12 is indeed one big-buck lump.