Cars Rarunos: 'Quad', four V12 engines and 12,000 HP for a car of record

Jim Lytle Jr. was a legend in the golden age of racing drag racing. In the 60s, the texan became this competition with contributions left with the mouth open to all of America. His first great creation when he was a twenty-year-old was named as ‘Big’ and was the result of the transformation to craft your Ford Tudor, 1934 with the addition of a huge engine Allison V12.

engines Allison were very popular at that time. Usually is used in aviation, but also used for boats or tanks. Also began to be used in hot rods and were the normal mechanical used by some cars in the popular ‘Speed Week’ at the legendary salt flats of Bonneville.

later this dragster has received an evolution, ‘Big Al II’, in which it substituted its metal bodywork by another identical made in lightweight fiber glass. it Was the first time that I used this material in the races of drag, something that today is common. It was ready in December 1963.


the appearance of The ‘Quad’ could not be more impressive

played Only three races in 1964 because with 2500 HP of power had no rival. “Nobody wanted to compete against me”, said Lytle in an interview in the 90’s. On the track I ran on alone, trying to beat their own numbers time and speed. The ‘Big Al II’ was the first dragster that was able to overcome 160 miles per hour (257 km/h).

Tired of running alone, Lytle sold his dragster at the end of this year for $ 2,000 to the pilot Ray Alley, which was used as a car exhibition touring the west coast of the united States. Later the ‘Big Al II,’ passed into the hands of Tex Collins, specialist film and owner of the pioneering company in the use of bodywork in fiberglass Cal Automotive Fiberglass.

A Fiat Topolino mostruoso

Had to think of something new and a colleague of the texan designer, Ron Jolliffe, he drew the outline of an engine with two engines Allison next to each other. This crazy idea led to the new project in the work in 1965 and starred in this installment of Cars Rarunos. The concept liked to Lytle but decided to go a step beyond why not four engines instead of two? “In 1965, you could buy Allisons paying between $ 50 and $ 150”, drew Lytle.


The four engines of the plane occupied almost all the space

The texan put hands to the work, and the result was spectacular in their looks and their figures. The ‘the Quad’, nickname that he received -of course – by his quartet of engines, providing a set thruster a total of 48 cylinders and 112 litres of capacity. No one had done anything like it. No one was so crazy.

The economic investment was relatively acceptable because the genius texan only had to shell out money for the engines, chassis, clutches, transmission and some minor components. The sponsors were responsible for providing the key pieces: Cal Automotive gave you the body of fiber glass, Moon fuel tank, Champion spark plugs racing….

The eight valve covers, made in magnesium and polished to a mirror called the attention. Each engine sent his wild cavalry to each of the wheels of type slick, eight wheels in total, because in order to transmit the incredible end power of 12,000 HP to the ground it was necessary to put two wheels in each corner. The car with a piston engine most powerful in the world, according to the Guinness Book of world Records.


The ‘Quad’ fully restored (photo:

The driver stood at the far end, protected by security bars in a passenger compartment from the tiny Fiat Topolino, the precursor of the popular Fiat 500, with the roof lowered and a hole, so that sobresaliese the pilot’s head. The idea of Lytle was that his crazy creation to run in the salt flats of Bonneville, a goal that was not met.

In fact the ‘Quad’ never came to compete for simple economic reasons. 9.500 Nm of torque that he was this beast were an excruciating effort for the two clutches multiplate riding. To get clutches that will support the huge torque of this monster had to shell out $ 5,000, much more than the cost of the rest of the car together.


The last owner of the ‘Quad’ purchased it in this state before embarking on its restoration (photo:

That amount of money was impractical for Lytle. “I Earned $ 110 a week as a draftsman of design so that to spend five of the great for clutches and gears was impossible”. From that time the project was stalled and the dragster more colossal that had been made up to the time I never got out of the trailer transporting it.

A tragedy unexpected

Tex Collins, the same was done with the innovative ‘Big Al II’, returned to cross on the way to Lytle. The owner of Cal Automotive made an offer for the car, and finally Lytle sold for $ 4,000, a price that did not include the engines as these could be used in future vehicles of its creation. Lytle continued to work in vehicles that are crazy, although none as strong as his Fiat Topolino of four engines.


The rear of the restored ‘Quad’, wearing the small body coupe Fiat with roof lowered (photo:

Collins had no financial obstacles, and their purpose was to end the radical project. But it’s destination was a future tragic: a short time later, during one of his habitual business-related components of automobile, gave it to the wrong person. In a heated discussion with a client Collins was shot in the back and died.

this fateful way the ‘Quad’ was left unfinished and never was able to participate in the competition. Time after the widow sold a dozen engines to Allison that accumulated Collins in his garage, including four of the fabulous dragster awd that created Jim Lytle Jr.

incredible as it may seem, this was not the end of the ‘Quad’. The incomplete vehicle passed through several hands until the collector Mike Guffey, in Indiana, if you did with him. It was purchased without engines and with some parts damaged by the passage of time, but luckily has been completely restored.