V12 Twin-Turbo Motorcycle
Q. Start at the beginning - what made you want to create this beast?
A. I had a spare Jaguar V12 lying around, after I'd broken up an XJS for a trike project, and I'd always intended to do a V8 - but with so many already being done, I figured I'd go one better.
I haven't spent any money on it - virtually everything that I needed, I was able to source from my workshop, or out of my scrap bin. The only parts I've had to buy in especially are spark plugs, a flywheel (2.9, six-cylinder), exhaust gaskets, and one of the turbos (which was fucked - thanks MAS).
Q. So... a V12 engine in a motorbike - how did you manage to get it all together?
A. Basically I made it all up as I went along. I used an XS1100 middle gearbox, with a Land Rover first motion shaft, clutch and cover. The release bearing was originally a Discovery bearing and arm, but during a visit to my friend's garage I found in his bin a TD4 Freelander hydraulic release bearing, which is fantastic for the job. After dicking about for three days with the Discovery release mechanism, I found the one out of the Freelander did the job with only fifteen minute's work!
Q. What's it like to ride?
A. Pretty terrifying, at first. It only has one gear and a clutch, but that's all it really needs with 300+ horsepower and 400 ft/lbs of torque. I've got the hang of it now, though, and it's actually surprisingly stable - like a huge Goldwing. I think it must be something to do with the huge rotating masses acting as a gyroscope, as you can turn it on full lock, barely moving, and not even have to put your feet down.
Q. Tell us the story of what happened at the first rally it went to.
A. That would have been the Nabbed rally, at the beginning of May in 2007. I'd only done about thirty miles on it before I set off for the Nabbed rally. I'd been having trouble with it overheating, coughing and farting and generally misbehaving - I'd over-cured the overheating, which made it run very cold. It doesn't like running cold, and it always takes a good long time to warm up - and riding it with no thermostats in fouled up all the plugs.
After taking "Best Engineering" at the show, a large crowd had gathered around the bike to hear this monster drive away. After ten minutes of trying to warm it through, there was an immense crowd - a good three hundred people, easy.
A lot of unburnt petrol had settled in the manifolds and it was backfiring quite regularly through the exhaust, which was making people jump a fair bit - backfires are quite loud through these three-inch open pipes.
Of course, I'd heard it all before. But what I wasn't expecting was for all the petrol in the inlet manifolds to ignite and blow back, stopping the turbos dead - which made a very unnerving noise, but not as unnerving as the turbos spinning backwards as Jagged Edge exhaled a huge, fiery burp out of each of the front-mounted carbs.
What followed was at best described as pandemonium as the whine from the turbos turned into an eerie scream which built in pitch to the point where even I wanted to drop it and run away. By this time, people closest to the bike were falling over themselves while trying to run backwards through stalls and other people, convinced the bike was about to explode and take with it everyone within half a mile.
(sorry to the guy who was stood directly in front, whose face I will never forget - I ran into him a couple of weeks later, and he didn't forget either)
Q. Go on, then - plug your custom mettle services.
A. Well, it seems to be mostly building trikes these days - but I do just about anything to anything, really. Bikes, cars, Land Rovers, and not all just automotive stuff - trophies, the odd bit of furniture, mad art projects, pretty well anything to do with metal and mettle.
I particularly like working in stainless steel, as once you get the hang of it, it's so easy to work with. Although the metal is hard, it just seems more sensible to be able to make something from reclaimed stainless and polish it rather than having it chromed. It's about a hundred times more resiliant than chroming, and you still get a nice finish.
If you think you could use my talents, feel free to drop me an E-mail and if your project is interesting and lucrative enough, you might just get lucky.