Have you heard of a car called the Devel Sixteen? Probably not. Or maybe you have but have promptly forgotten about it, like we had. Back in 2013, the company behind mystery machine showed off a stunning Batmobile-like body on four wheels at the Dubai Motor Show, mounted behind the passenger cell was apparently a V16 quad-turbocharged engined that made some 5,000hp (or 3,728kW).
The stream of news has since dried up about the car since then, and the world believed that it was too extreme and too difficult to engineer to have a place in reality. Yet stranger things have happened, especially with astronomically expensive, ultra-exclusive, ridiculously powerful cars.
The Cizeta-Moroder V16T proved a sixteen cylinder V motor could exist in the modern era, and was produced for four years in the early 90s. In 1995, Vector Aeromotive proved even more outlandish designs for a supercar had a market and could gain street legal status. Then there's the Veyron and now Chiron from Bugatti, of course, the only current series production cars to use a sixteen-cylinder engine since 2005.
In 2015, though, Michigan-based Steve Morris Engines rolled out the 12.3-litre V16 engine commissioned by Devel for the Sixteen and hooked it up to a dynamometer to measure its actual output. Luckily, it also had a camera running, and that video quickly took off after it hit the internet. Back then, boost levels were set to a more conservative ‘street tune’.
About a week ago, though, Steve Morris Engines published another video that showed the V16 motor running with its full 36psi (2.8bar) of boost (the AMG A45 has a boost pressure of 26 psi or 1.8bar), nearly breaking the equipment which was designed to measure only up to 5,000hp. In that tune, peak torque is above 4,700Nm. Bless their hearts.
For the 2017 Dubai Motor Show, though, we might just see the hypothetical car’s return as Devel themselves have announced a real-life partnership with Manifattura Automobili Torino, a firm specialising in creating bespoke lightweight aerodynamic bodies for very high performance cars made from exotic materials. Most recent showcases of their work include the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG 003 and the Apollo Intenza Emozione. They’re pretty good.
If ever there were specialists out there that would not only be sufficiently crazy to build a body outrageous enough to safely house a V16 quad-turbo engine (and one as styled as daringly as Devel’s original prototype), but also be capable of pulling it off, it’s probably these guys at MAT.
This tie-up has some speculating that we will indeed see some presence of the Sixteen at the upcoming Dubai Motor Show, perhaps announcing a timeline for the first production version while they’re at it. Whether or not the combination of an appropriate body and that titanic engine, and the car that results, would be capable of achieving the company’s initial goals is still up in the air.
What are they? Well, they want it to have the ability to surpass 500km/h in a straight line while still being refined and composed enough at low speed to be a daily driver. They certainly are nuts, but at least they’re ambitious. If they do fulfil these promises, Devel might end up being more well known than the similarly UAE-based W Motors.