By on January 6, 2007

cl600-img_5258222.jpgI currently own a four-cylinder Honda Civic Hybrid, a BMW 335 coupe with an in-line twin-turbo six, a V8 Mercedes E63 and a V10 VW Touareg. Clearly, I need a car equipped with a V12. The effects of owning five vehicles with engines in the 4-6-8-10-12 sequence could unlock the secrets of the universe, or at least reveal the meaning of the Fibonacci Numbers. On the other hand, this could be another telltale sign that I have more money than sense. Regardless, I’m on the prowl.

Warning: if you’ve never sampled a V12 automobile, back off Jack. The configuration combines the tractability of a diesel with the endless thrust of a Saturn V rocket booster. My predilection for V12’s predates NASA (and my driving license). As a boy, I was fascinated by the greatest weapons of WWII: the P51D Mustang (powered by a Packard-built V12 Merlin engine) and the King Tiger tank (powered by a V12 Maybach engine). OK, “greatest” may not be the best word; cheaper, simpler, lighter engines did more for the war effort than these battling behemoths. But my God, what a noise!

What a hangover! The depreciation suffered by owners of V12 automobiles is like a bad night in Vegas that lasts several years– with one of those "pay nothing now and no interest until there sure as Hell is" deals thrown in for good measure. Even if you can afford to take the hit, it's an embarassing penalty for anyone who knows how to make enough money to afford to take the hit. Though none of the V12 powered cars I’ve owned ever gave me a hint of mechanical trouble, they’ve all scrubbed significant numbers from my net worth at both ends of the ownership experience.

Alas, my future possibilities are limited. Neither Japan nor America builds a mass-produced V12 automobile. Thankfully, that means I won’t have to listen to Lexus fans’ whining about my Germanic proclivities (at least until the new LS 600h is released, which supposedly simulates V12 power). And it’s not really that much of a sacrifice to restrict my search to automobiles manufactured in Italy, Germany and Britain. 

First up: the 612 Scaglietti. The $260k Ferrari stables 540 normally aspirated horses in a front mid-engined chassis weighing a skosh more than two tons. I even sort of like the way it looks. There’s one insurmountable problem: an F1 style transmission. The paddle shifter is entirely out of place in a grand touring car for old rich guys too lazy to shift anymore. And as well compensated for my work as I am, I'm reluctant to spend condo money on a car.

The Lamborghini Murcielago is even more expensive and less comfortable. Which leaves a used Ferrari 456M. The shape is sexy, it has a real automatic and lightly used examples (aren’t they all these days?) can be purchased for around $100k. Unfortunately, even though the 456M weighs less than 4000 pounds and packs nearly 440 ponies, the 0 – 60 performance exceeds five seconds. That’s more traffic light humiliation than I can handle. 

For V12-o-philes, the Brits offer the Bentley Continental variations and the Aston Martin DB9. Used examples can be found in the $120k’s, but each suffers from serious flaws.

The Bentley boys give me flashbacks; I suddenly remember my old VW Phaeton and the price tag seems ridiculous. Plus the Bentley doesn’t have a proper V12 (it’s a W-12 powerplant combining two VW V6 engines). And three tons is more than I want to drag around, no matter how tasty the interior. The DB9 is gorgeous; I have pictures of it on my computer. But experience has taught me that admiring Astons from afar is the best way to savor their mechanical genius. Did I mention that the V12 in the Aston was created by bonding two Ford V6’s together?

Willkommen in Deutschland, again. Audi, BMW and Mercedes all offer V12’s in their full sized sedans. The Mercedes S65 is the obvious pick of this litter, but I struggle to lust for something that ordinary looking. For my money, the Mercedes SL600 and the CL600 are the best two V12 powered cars available for sensible money. I’ve owned and loved an SL600 previously, so, for novelty reasons, the 2007 Mercedes CL600 is the winner.

The CL600 is extravagant in every sense of the word. It extends 200 inches from snout to tail. It boasts exaggerated wheel wells, a CLS-style rear and a gorgeous interior. It weighs in at a svelte 4890 pounds. The twin-turbo V12 makes 510 horsepower and generates 612 pound-feet of torque; catapulting the monster from 0 – 60 in 4.5 seconds. All this for a mere $144,975. I can even lease one for a little less than my house payment!

So now my life is nearly perfect. Will Mr. Lutz please resurrect Cadillac’s plans for the Sixteen Concept? Much obliged.

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75 Comments on “Now We Are 12...”


  • avatar
    windswords

    I think the lowly Jeep was one of the best weapons of WW II. At least Patton or Ike said it was. As for noise, try a P-47 Thunderbolt, with the 2,800hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engine, with 18 cylinders. Talk about loud!

    Ok, back to cars. Chrysler had the concept (actually called a prototype) ME412 which with 12 cylinders but that would have made the Mercedes SLR look bad so it never had a chance of being produced.

  • avatar
    Humourless

    I’ve long wanted a return of the straight-8 in a “get out of my way, little man” luxury car. Longer bonnet than a V12 for greater and more imposing presence, and I would imagine that five decades of advances in metallurgy could correct the problem of high-RPM crank and cam flex.

  • avatar

    There is a ’75 XJ12 Coupe with the glorious Jaguar V12 for sale nearby. Oh for how long I’ve lusted for that masterpiece of corrosion, unreliability and bad quality…

  • avatar
    Dr. No

    I recently owned (and sold) a SL600 with the panzer-style V12. The exclusivity is fun, but it ain’t worth it –the financial drain is severe. I want to have both money and brains, and losing $10k per year (for 10 years) definitely puts you in the “more money than brains” category. Made me uncomfortable to know that others knew this.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Maybe you should try the lower end of the scale and buy a deux chevaux

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    I’d agree with the straight 8 suggestion. the only real classic i’ve driven is a 55 Mercedes SLR (convertible, not the gull wing) . Rest of the car was scary, but the engine, cest magnifique.

  • avatar

    STOP! Some of our readers are unhappy with with tone and some of the content of this article, such as the Asian prostitute story (FYI Jay does not approve of child prostitution nor, obviously, did he partake of his host's indefensibly reprehensible offer.)  Although I understand and appreciate the criticism, TTAC has a zero tolerance policy against flaming (personally insulting) the site, its writers or fellow commentators. If you wish to express your displeasure with Mr. Shoemaker's post, please direct your remarks to robert.farago@thetruthaboutcars.com. Your understanding in this matter is most appreciated.

  • avatar
    4runner

    Jay,

    Excellent editorial.

    After reading your editorial, I couldn’t help but re read another exellent editorial on TTAC about the virtues of the V8 engine. (V8′s Rule by Bob Elton, July 25, 2006 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1890)

    Elton’s commentary included the following regarding the V12:

    “The provision of V12 engines in luxury cars is even more perverse. V12’s are no smoother than a V8 and add (you guessed it) weight, complication and cost. While that may be the manufacturer’s intent, it still makes little engineering sense. Jaguar gave up on V12’s a while ago. Aston Martin passed on their V12 to offer a V8 in their latest car. In fact, thanks to the V8’s relatively light weight, good power output and compact packaging, the engine configuration is, belatedly, making gains in the European market. BMW, Mercedes, Volvo and Audi all offer Euro-spec V8 passenger cars. ”

    At first glance, it would appear that the Euros are moving away from V12′s. Is this generally true?

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Great article. Having three well regarded engines in the house (4-cyl VW 2.0T,6-cyl Nissan VQ, and 8-cyl DCX Hemi), I can appreciate the interest in completing the set, but I doubt I’ll be seeing a 10 or 12 in my own the driveway in the near future. Perhaps, though, Shoemaker should pick up a Citroen 2CV, Geo Metro (or upcoming Suzuki swift?), and Volvo S60 R just to round out some of the missing numbers. And I'm sure you could dig up a 1-cylinder postwar car, too.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    My Dad had a low-mile, super clean 750iL for a while. Wonderful car. It did it all, sporty handling, great power, luxurious ride. But after three repair bills that (even with the warranty) rang up to thousands out of pocket, the beast had to go.

    No doubt, the V12 = major wallet ouchie. And I still think they sound off-beat compared to a similar V8.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    Aatos wrote:
    There is a ‘75 XJ12 Coupe with the glorious Jaguar V12 for sale nearby. Oh for how long I’ve lusted for that masterpiece of corrosion, unreliability and bad quality…

    Don’t forget engine fires. I had a XJS v12 that burst into flame one day. Very sad, especially since I was good about checking for gasoline leaks. One of my friends had an XKE v12, another lovely car… until you had to tune the carbs!

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Elton is wrong — V12s are inherently smoother than V8s.

    Jay’s wrong — Spitfires are way cooler than Mustangs. Each plane killed about 8-Nazi scumbags. The later versions had 1,565hp supercharged Merlin V12s that were such great engines we stuck ‘em in our Mustangs (dumping the massiavely inferior Allison engines).

    Going with that theme, choosing a Mercedes-Benz over an Aston Martin, well, Jay’s wrong.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Lieberman: Going with that theme, choosing a Mercedes-Benz over an Aston Martin, well, Jay’s wrong.
    If the guy can afford a E63 and V10 Touareg, the Aston repair bills shouldn’t be too bad. I live near one of the handful of authorized, factory-trained Aston body shops in the US (they do the body work for the dealer across the street, by the way) and from chatting with the guys those Aston costs are astronomical.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    I can’t believe cost even factors into what is obviously a purely emotional descision. He’s rich, who cares?

    Also, while the Aston is, to quote Dan Neil, “filthy hot,” the CL looks like an Acura from the side.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Yeah, cars are always about emotional decisions for true car fools (myself included) which explains why anyone owns a pre 1988 Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Jaguar, Austin Healey, and so on. I read Stephan Wilkinson’s book The Gold Plated Porsche recently, which is a great treatise on the obviously necessary lunacy of car ownership and expense.

    So yeah, I’m with you, Shoemaker should just spend his mad ca$h on the Aston.

  • avatar
    philbailey

    Conspicuous consumption at its worst.

  • avatar

    Much like Nabokov, such an innuendo can overwhelm the point: Owning a car with more cylinders than three Yugos has no rational justification. Not only that, the desire degrades when you attain it. Eventually it sits in the far side of the garage when you consider the more rational vehicles that combined won’t use as much gas as a V-12.

    And the Merlin engine in the P-51 came about at Rolls Royce for their supermarine racer (veiled military R&D) program. Supercharged it’s symphony has no peer. If you want a V-12, why settle for any less?

  • avatar
    HawaiiJim

    I’m curious as to what Jay’s rationale is for owning a Civic hybrid.

  • avatar

    Hell, you want a V-12 and want to show some class? Real simple, just take your choice between Packard, Pierce-Arrow, Lincoln or Cadillac. Pre-WWII of course.

    Or go real sporty – the ’34 Auburn V-12 is to die for, more so than anything the Germans can come up with nowadays.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    So you’ve got a 355, an E63, a Civic beater/commuter, a V10 Touareg, AND your business associates WANT to arrange sexual encounters for you?!? I now officially hate you, Jay Shoemaker. I have a rusted out 1990 Toyota, and a well-used GTI. I’m lucky if I get a paid-for Miller Lite in Detroit when I’m on business trips. Being a libertarian, I understand that it’s my own fault that I don’t make nearly as much money as you do, Jay, but being a libertarian also protects my right to complete and unfettered jealousy.

    I’ll bet you’ve even got a wife thats willing to sleep with you and doesn’t nag too much…

  • avatar
    CliffG

    Actually, the 1-2-3 part is easy, especially for a Europhile: BMW 650GS, one lunger plus get almost 60mpg, any Ducati, for the 2 cyls., and of course the 3 cyl. Triumph Rocket III because you need a bike bigger than your Civic. Why you would buy any V-12 that wasn’t a ’67 330 GTS is beyond me, admittedly only to look at. You weren’t really planning on driving it anyway were you?

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Jay’s otherwise excellent article neglected to emphasize that the two little pinwheels in the exhaust system of the MB V12s elevate their torque curves to a level that makes most other V12s seem like they’re running on 6 cylinders.

    If the new 07 CL600 is anything like its 2003-06 predecessors, it’s highly underrated. They actually put out close to 600 HP, and the AMG versions are closer to 670 HP….factory stock. Plus, the torque ranges from 600-738 ft lbs.

    The 760Li’s/XJ12s/A8s/DB9s, and even Bentley W12 turbos of the world aren’t even in the same ballpark.

  • avatar
    JJ

    Elton is wrong — V12s are inherently smoother than V8s.

    Going with that theme, choosing a Mercedes-Benz over an Aston Martin, well, Jay’s wrong.

    Amen.

    V12s are 2 inline sixes glued together, since the inline 6 is the most (conventional) naturally balanced engine we know, the V12 is smooth as silk, as long as the angle is sensible. Anyway, that’s already been covered once.

    Back on topic: choosing any Mercedes over “The Aston” is sheer lunacy. The Mercedes will still always be just a Mercedes, like a C240, while the Aston…well…speachless.
    Jay has already got a Mercedes. High end Mercedes are all the same.

    And, if depreciation is really a factor in this equasion, the Aston will depreciate with a vengeance, yes, but who wants to buy a CL600 in 3-4 years???

    Also, you can keep the Aston for the rest of life (it might even start appreciating at some point), and it will always be beautiful, whereas the Mercedes has to go after 4 years tops (for the same reason nobody will buy it at that time). Since Jay is a rich American, though, chances are it will have to go after 3-4 years either which way (no flame, just a general observation).

    So, I would say, buy the Aston, buy a used Murcielago, or, money no object, a 599GTB and keep it for some decades.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    And I own two Accords and a Mercury Mystique.

    At least I have an excuse. The kids and my brother drive the cars, and I don’t worry about them (the cars that is).

  • avatar
    tom

    I can totally see that a lot of people would prefer the CL over the Aston. I mean every little boy has posters of the Aston on his bedroom wall, but when you grow up, there are other things that are more important than being a teen idol.

    Look at it this way: Every little boy wants to marry Britney Spears. But when you get older and you have the choice between Britney and a less “exotic” woman with equal displacement that shares some interests with you and can actually cook a great meal for you instead of getting wasted every other night and at the same time doesn’t need to go to the shop all the time to get new parts, then I can’t blame anyone to make the conservative decision.

  • avatar
    jimlongx

    Jay,

    Please keep us posted on the reliability of your new CL600. Consumer Reports won’t recommend any Mercedes because their readers report “much worse than average” reliability.
    BTW I think your car is beautiful.

  • avatar
    o_fizzle

    How in the world can you be too old to shift your own gears?! I'm guessing none of the cars you drive are manuals? I'm only 24 right now, so maybe I'll understand this with age. I don't ever want to be too old to shift. Although I'm fairly certain the 3-pedal setup will become extinct as I age.

  • avatar
    shamu

    I look at this post wishing I was of such financial means to afford such fine machinery. Alas, I must content myself with my 1995 Mazda 626 for probably another couple of years. Wait a minute, I can join this club– 1 cylinder lawn mowers are cheap. Shoot, I can even get a Honda one for less than $400 at Home Depot- how fun is that? Great gas mileage, cheap to own and maintain, vitually never breaks down, can off-road for hours at a time, wife has no desire to drive it, the ultimate convertible, etc. In fact, I could have one of these pieces of 1-cylinder motoring fun from a garage sale for less than 50 bucks. Plus, doesn’t it seem like lawn mowers last virtually for ever. I am not being sarcastic here– some great times to be had listening to the siren song of a lawn mower engine while enjoying the great outdoors!

  • avatar
    dean

    Next you need to dig deep for the 16 cylinder Veyron. Pity nobody makes a 14 yet.

    Me jealous.

    Edit: forgot to mention… On the MB USA website, the first photo you see of the CL600 is a side view, slightly rear. At first I thought I was looking at the last gen Taurus. Just saying…

    I agree with the others that voted Aston. That DB9 is sex-on-wheels.

  • avatar

      EDITOR'S UPDATE After reading an eloquent argument by one of our commentators sent via email (as requested), I've decided to remove the reference to child prostitution in this post. While Mr. Shoemaker is fine writer and a thoroughly decent human being, I respect the fact that the matter-of-fact presentation of his analogy proved offensive to many of our readers. As the passage in question was not strictly necessary to advance his theme, it has been replaced. I thank you for your input and Mr. Shoemaker for his understanding. And once again, please don't discuss this matter in the comments' section. Any feedback is welcome at robert.farago@thetruthaboutcars.com.  

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    And the Merlin engine in the P-51 came about at Rolls Royce for their supermarine racer (veiled military R&D) program. Supercharged it’s symphony has no peer. If you want a V-12, why settle for any less?

    I heard of a guy who dropped one of those RR Merlins in a Rolls-Royce car! RR sued him and he showed up at court in his RR/RR aircraft engine each day. I believe he won the case. Wonder how many gallons to the mile he got!

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Dang, I need to pick up the pace at work so I can get to that position. So far… one four cylinder car and that’s enough for me (I mean for my finances).

    But anyway, dont’ be put off by a W12; a V12 is just two inline 6s, and I don’t see how that should count any more than two VR6s.

  • avatar

    The best Ferrari V12 is the 550/575M. While it is more sporting in nature than a 456, anyone who would prefer a 456 is honestly out of their mind. The only plus I can find in the 456 is that since demand for them is so low, they have suffered massive depreciation. However, the 550/575M also have depreciated significantly.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    What you want is a mid-1990s BMW 850CSi.

    The “S” matters quite a bit.

    5.6 liter V12, 48 valves, 372 horsepower, basically a pair of 328i engines on a common crank. I think they were available with a six-speed manual transmission, and the 8er is one of the more distinctive cars out there.

    A good one is around 70 grand.

  • avatar
    WaaaaHoooo

    So if Caddy comes out with the Sixteen, what are you going to do about a 14 cylinder car to fill that embarassing gap?

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    JJ,

    I drove the CL65 and a DB9 when I was looking for a new daily driver, and as Tom put it, the Benz is a far superior car in every way EXCEPT for styling.

    I wanted to love the DB9, but the CL swayed me with its superior power, more sophisticated (and so far trouble free) Active Body Control, and far superior amenities.

    The DB9 is best appreciated from the outside….however I spend more time inside my cars.

  • avatar
    Nopanegain

    Forget the Caddy; We are already at 16 cylinders with the Bugatti… Is the unusually warm El Nino effect going to have anything to do with an unusually good crop to make this a possibility for you Shoemaker? Or do you have to dream like the rest of us?

  • avatar
    wsn

    Replying chaparral:

    …and the 8er is one of the more distinctive cars out there.

    Yeah, I remember it. It was my dream car during high school years.

    But as I grow old, I know it was distinctive because not many were sold, and that is because it’s crap.

    Any car maker can build a fast luxury car. The hard part is to make it reliable and affordable.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    wsn: Depends entirely on the 8er we’re talking about and how it was taken care of. A friend of mine bought an 840i in 1996, and with regular maintenance it has been relatively trouble free (original engine and transmission, for example) for all 200,000 miles he’s driven it.

  • avatar

    I was lucky enough to own a 550M. The styling was a pastiche and the six-speed gearbox was a bit balky, but the in-gear acceleration was phenomenal. And I mean PHEN-FRIGGIN'-NOMENAL. And the smells! Whether inhaling the leather or snorting exhaust fumes, that sucker was sweet. On the downside, the beast was unstable above 140mph. And the service and repair bills– of which there were many– were epic. When I was thoroughly humiliated by a WRX STi and stunned by an oil change charge, I test drove a Porsche 911 C4 and never looked back. Ever. If I wanted a V12, and I can understand the allure, I'd want it nestled in the front of a big-ass Mercedes sedan, not some wanna-be GT. My wife, on the other hand, was smitten by an Aston Martin Vantage press car ("Built for James Bond"). Given that vehicle's unrelenting unreliability and dim-witted paddle shifter, I concur with Jay's opinion that they're best worshipped from afar.  And I've got to say there is NOTHING like the burble of a properly sorted V8. The last gen M5 is an utterly seductive machine– save the recirculating ball steering. In short, Jay's desire for a V12 represents the triumph of emotion over emotion. 

  • avatar
    qfrog

    Jay… this is all you… Not just V12… but TDI for ~700ft lb of torque at a little bit over idle (1750rpm) and 500 hp somewhere in the rev band. Then of course at some point in time should you opt to remap the ECM with more agressive software… lookout world.

    http://www.fourtitude.com/news/publish/Audi_News/article_2535.shtml

  • avatar
    alanp

    Two comments:

    First, Jay also need a 2 cylinder car to complete his mathematical series. And the new Fiat 500 might just be the machine.

    And BMW 8 series from the late 80′s and early 90′s are available used for WAY under $70K. There’s a mint one here with the 6 speed transmission that the fellow would love to sell at $18K, but he’s likely to take under $15K. And it been well maintained, and even had a new engine a couple of years ago. Not much depreciation left to absorb – of course maintainence may be $pendy.

  • avatar
    Johnson

    Neither Japan nor America builds a mass-produced V12 automobile.

    What exactly do you mean mass produced? As in, produced at all, hand built, or built on an assembly line?

    I hope you realize that there *is* indeed a V12 Japanese automobile that exists, although it’s never been sold in North America.

  • avatar
    John Williams

    I hope you realize that there *is* indeed a V12 Japanese automobile that exists, although it’s never been sold in North America.

    The Toyota Century. An old-school limousine sold only in Japan.

    There has been some speculation that Lexus would eventually bring a V12 to our shores, although that’s akin to Acura promising a V8 for it’s flagship model *snicker*.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    alanp,

    Sorry for the off topic, but I know someone looking for a 6 spd 850Ci. Please email me at DoctorV8@gmail.com. Thanks…

    RF is right on about the E39 M5…I bought one of the last ones built in 2003, and have loved every minute of it….though (hard to believe) it seems a bit underpowered next to a CL600.

  • avatar
    esldude

    An in line six the smoothest of conventional engines?

    Wow, having driven a few they don’t seem as smooth as an in line 8 or V8. Not even close for that matter. The couple of V12′s and one V16 I had acquaintance with were as smooth as any 8 I must say. Though the V12 sounded unsmooth it didn’t feel that way.

    Seems to me 8 cylinders is the fewest that seem really smooth without heroic efforts elsewhere. Which make them the best, most sensible smooth engines for autos. More cylinders is just more to have trouble with. Fewer cylinders is just not smooth.

    Then there are the rotary and turbine cars. As much as some of these grotesquely priced autos cost, seems someone would show a little creativity and make one turbine powered. Might not be fuel efficient, but at a few hundred thousand is that important? It could be powerful, would be smooth, exotic, and those things are usually reliable. Surely a Ferrari or Lambo or BMW could make such an engine. After the modern Bugatti Veryon, not going turbine seems inane.

    BTW, I too would like to see a return of the in line Eight cylinder. And one I have never had the pleasure of is the flat Eight. Why not a flat Eight?

  • avatar
    JJ

    BTW, I too would like to see a return of the in line Eight cylinder. And one I have never had the pleasure of is the flat Eight. Why not a flat Eight?

    Simply because, to speak with Jeremy Clarkson, the nose of that car would be in Russia while the rest would still be in the US. And you would have to go through Greece just to turn it around.

    As for the engines, of course, a V8 in, say, a Lexus LS (as much as I dislike the rest of the car) COULD be more smooth than an I6 in, say, an M3 CSL. However, the concept of the I6 implies more smoothness than other regular engine setups we know.

    As for the turbine engine…Would that work in today’s stop & go traffic???

  • avatar
    mastermik

    I thought that you would have pictures of a lot of other cars too (other than the Aston). But i guess someone of your financial means need only look out to window to experience the bliss of sexy sheetmetal.

  • avatar
    hularocker

    I bought a 98 750il almost 3 years ago with 122 thousand miles on it.It now has 138k on it and all I’ve put into the motor is plugs and wires and 2 O2 sensors. It runs like a swiss watch and uses virtually no oil. The v8 in the 740il has proven to suffer from several inherent problems. The torque is indeed impressive and turbine like and the wow factor of showing somebody a V12 is worth…. well something.

  • avatar
    doch

    Jay -

    Certainly the next car and article for you needs to be a TWO cylinder.

    The Bianchina is a cool little collectors car.

    The Citroen 2CV was the best selling twin cylinder by far.

    Or the car that topped all others (regardless of cylinder count) for the title of “sexiest car of the year”? The Fiat 500 or course.

  • avatar
    doch

    BTW – The only Fibonacci number you own is the 8 cylinder. To learn thier meaning, you’ll need a 0, 1, 3, and 5 cylinder as well.

    The first Fibonacci number – zero – might not be as tough as one would first think – get an all-electric.

    But the next one as far as I know hasn’t ever been made – a 13 cylinder.

    Good luck.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    Jay’s wrong — Spitfires are way cooler than Mustangs. Each plane killed about 8-Nazi scumbags. The later versions had 1,565hp supercharged Merlin V12s that were such great engines we stuck ‘em in our Mustangs

    Those nazi scumbags used V12s as well for the Messerschmidt ME 109 & 110s

  • avatar
    Jay Shoemaker

    Thanks for everyone’s comments and questions. I quite agree that my situation implies that I have more money than sense. What other purpose can there be in striving for wealth than to expend it on both the common good and your own passions?

    I sense that if a vote were taken, this group would lean more towards the Aston Martin. I made a pilgrimage to Gaydon and worshipped at the AM altar and would have taken the plunge if the driving experience were half as sublime as the visual one, reliability notwithstanding.

    If I follow my heart, the King Tiger would be my true first choice.

  • avatar
    tom

    Those nazi scumbags used V12s as well for the Messerschmidt ME 109 & 110s

    If you talk about WWII planes, you shouldn’t forget the Focke-Wulf FW190. True, they mostly used the BMW 801 radial 14 cylinder engine (so there’s your next upgrade Jay), but some were also equipped with the Junkers Jumo 213 V12 which was probably one of the meanest machines out there, reaching more then 2000 hp.

    Probably only beaten by the Junkers Jumo 004 which was built for the Messerschmidt Me 262 but we’re talking about internal combustion engines here, so…

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    My friend has a civic 4. You can’t even tell that its on. how much quieter do you need it if u cant even hear it at all?

    MY 4 cyl gas VW accelerates smoothly, quietly and quickly until it reaches about 90 – too fast for normal traffic. how much faster should i go?

    My (gas) VW gets 40 some highway mpg at 60-65 mph. Average mostly city milage nets about 31.5 mpg. Why do i need more cylinders? to get worse milage? for what reason? i dont get it.

    anything over 4 cyl is rediculous. I’m more curious about 2 and 3 cylinder engines than i am 12, 16, 20′s and 24′s.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    Simply weld 6 Harley-Davidson V-wins together, slap them into an old Silverado and tattoo BORN TO BELCH across your forehead.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Jersey — I have to half agree with you.

    Bass king Mike Watt said it best when he was asked about a new 9-string bass that had just come to market.

    I’ll paraphrase: “I think that’s great. But I also heard about a dude playing a one-string. So, I think for every nine-string player there ought to be a one-stringer.”

    Oh, and 90mph? You should go much, much faster.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Jonny

    well, i half agree with you too. around here (philadelphia) and jersey, there are pity few places where u can go 90 safely – its so damn crouded – even if u do find such a place – a ticket at these speeds costs about 400-500 bucks, and points, your insurance doubles or triples for years…i discovered a better way to have fun is a small car with a small peaky engine and a slick shifter thats fun at 40 mph – at least u wont go to jail for havin fun… think base mini cooper. I wish we could get the Fiat 500 here!

    but sometimes i miss a booming V8, but i still beleive thats its more fun to drive a slow car fast then a fast car slow.

  • avatar
    bestertester

    When you own a fatso car, what does it say about you? That you are financially successful? Well, you have the dough to buy and drive it, that’s for sure.

    But what does it say about you when you own something that, ultimately, is a poor financial decision? Something that costs you so much in depreciation alone that you could feed a third-world village?

    Perhaps it says you got the money, but you don’t know how to use it. It has been said that the truly successful don’t buy expensive cars — check out the typical millionare next door. Or read Paul Fussell’s “Class”, which noted that the truly rich often drive five-year old Buicks.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Or perhaps it says you enjoy the finer things in life. While Warren Buffet may drive an old Buick, it’s just not a priority of his to realize true driving nirvana. As is the case of the majority of the population.

    Jersey, if you can’t tell if a 4 cyl Honda is running at idle, it’s either that

    a) It’s a hybrid, and in fact NOT running, or
    b) Someone shot some local anesthetic in your buttocks.

    Apply a few hundred rpm to the situation if you need to quell all doubts. Though Honda builds some of the smoothest Fours in the business, they still sound and feel unrefined compared to a 6-8-12.

    While it’s true that many 12s fail to significantly outperform their 8 cyl counterparts, I challenge anyone to drive one of the twin turbo Benz 12s and floor the throttle at about 80 mph. Sure, your license will be in jeopardy….but it’ll be worth it, I promise.

    Having said that….Jersey is right….you can’t put your foot to the floor for more than a few seconds in a high powered car without seriously jeopardizing your license, at least in the city. There is something to be said for a moderately powered car that can actually be utilized in our Autobahnless country.

    The more fast cars I drive, and the older I get, the more evident this sad fact becomes….

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    doctorv8

    well i still have to check to see if the 4 cyl civic is started, its noiseless, as are most modern engines. my point is that if sound and smoothness are your references, number of cylinders becomes irrelevant, so it might as well be a small fuel effeceint one. I HATE spending money on gas .

    Also, a mustang v8 at idle is MUCH noisier than a civic 4, good noises, but you never have to check if it is running. A DTS at idle is also noiseless, but the sound buffering is SO good in that car, im sure you would not hear or feel a mortor attack in the lane next to you.

  • avatar
    Jay Shoemaker

    So, I will know when I have arrived when I start driving 5 year old Buicks? I hope they still make ‘em when this happens. Would it be OK to substitue a nice Roadmaster Convertible?

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Jersey,

    Every four cyl motor, even Hondas, vibrate at idle. Put your fingertips lightly on the steering wheel when you’re at a stoplight. If that fails to prove it to you, then the sound through the RPM range oughta do it.

    Filet Mignon and ground chuck both fill you up, but they are as different as a V12 and an I4.

  • avatar
    nocaster

    I’ve had the pleasure of hearing a Merlin flying overhead during an airshow. That sound will make your spine tingle.

  • avatar

    o_fizzle:
    How in the world can you be too old to shift your own gears?! I’m guessing none of the cars you drive are manuals? I’m only 24 right now, so maybe I’ll understand this with age. I don’t ever want to be too old to shift. Although I’m fairly certain the 3-pedal setup will become extinct as I age.

    I’m 53 and I still shift my own gears. Most people in Europe of any age shift their own gears. I consider it my duty to teach kids to shift gears, in order to keep the demand from going to nothing.

  • avatar

    Regarding WWII, my late father, an economist specializing in the Soviet Union, once calculated that the Studebakers the US sent to USSR on the lend lease program shortened the war by a couple of months. He spent about a year and a half in Ukraine during the war, and he said that the Russians had great respect for the Studebakers’ reliability in horrible conditions. The Studebakers broke the ice between the American soldiers at his base and the Russians. A Studebaker would go by, and the Russian would say, “Studebaker charosh,” which loosely translates to Studebakers are wonderful. On the base, the name, Studebaker, became a synonym for excellence of any sort. A beautiful woman would walk by, and a soldier would say to another, “she’s Studebaker.”

  • avatar

    Jay,

    I’m with the people who think you should get a 2-cyl rather than a 12-cyl, and especially those who recommend the Deux Chevaux. That and a good bottle of French wine and you’d forget about 12 cylinders.

    When I lived in Stanford 1970-71, there was a father and son who were professors, who both had 2CVs, and machined new parts themselves.

  • avatar
    teknight

    Mir entschuldigen (beg your pardon),
    but at the very least the early Mercedes engines were far superior to anything the British could muster. Brit engines cut out if the planes went upside down. The German engines did not…The rest of the Deutsche airplanes were not as good as their counterparts due to Luftwaffe specs…the 109s had a very short range since they were meant for tactical support…the Luftwaffe was never a strategic airforce, much as they tried…but that’s really off topic…

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Teknight –

    It was not upside down, it was if they dive bombed, nose down. i.e. the big Merlins were carburatted while the Nazi planes had fuel injection.

    And because the British were, well, British, this problem was quickly solved with a solution called “Miss Shilling’s orifice.” A female engineer named Shilling stuck a holed diaphram across the float chambers that solved the problem and allowed the Spitfires to dive and kill more Nazis.

    The Merlins never went fuel injected because a carburettor made more power.

    A win/win solution I would say.

  • avatar
    Ronan

    Hell..buy what you like!..you only live once.

    I have Smart ForTwo…Cyls: 3
    SL500 Cyls 8
    Touareg Cyls 8
    M6 Cyls 10
    GT3RS on order 6

    Total: 35

    All is says is that I’m an indecisive 35 cylinder person I expect.

  • avatar
    nick2ny

    My nigga Baby gettin’ a special built machine
    A Mercedes Benz 700 V14
    I know you niggaz can’t believe that
    I can’t wait to see ya haters face when ya see that

    -B.G.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Please keep us posted on the reliability of your new CL600. Consumer Reports won’t recommend any Mercedes because their readers report “much worse than average” reliability.

    Virtually every Mercedes gets that rating, from the C Class through the S class. Having suffered through Mercedes ownership, all I can say is it’s good that Shoemaker has lots of back up cars. When his car is in the shop two weeks out of every two months, he’ll need them. Mercedes is great at thinking up new gadgets and making elegant looking cars, but they can’t even put together a decent wiring harness. Trust me, I’ve spent hours in the dealership listening to other owner’s tales of woe.

    The Aston had to be better, by default.

  • avatar
    rprellwitz

    RF and DoctorV8 -

    I have to disagree a bit on the E39 M5 – I owned an ’01 LeMans Blue/Caramel – and though it was a great engine it had/s a few faults – 3 trips in 4 months to the dealer due to problems with the exhaust cam sensors….(16k – 19k) on the clock at the time, a common and well documented problem – the shifter was typical BMW M, rubbery and imprecise – and finally the brakes were wholly inadequate for the the car’s size and ability to generate speed – massive brake fade in the downhill braking zone to turn 8 at Road America is highly disconcerting and gets one very familiar with the safetycrew as well as why they refer to that gravel as kitty litter. It was coming out of odd places for weeks. An upgrade to 4 piston stoptechs with 355 mm floating rotors was required. This eliminated the fade problem completely and made track days much more enjoyable.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Interesting….my 2003 E39 is the same (rare) color combo as yours; LMB/Caramel.

    Really no problems in 4 years/28000 miles, aside from squeaking door seals that were replaced under warranty. The E39 is clearly not a track car, and the brakes are fine in aggressive street use.

  • avatar
    rprellwitz

    Smashing combination – truly the E39′s best look – To BMW’s credit I believe they fixed the SES problems that plagued many of the 99 – 01 models by 2003. You were smart to wait til the end of the product cycle, a lesson I have failed to learn as I now have an 07 RS4 sprint blue over grey, only time will tell…..


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