As a fan of EngineLabs, you’re probably at least somewhat familiar with Don Groff’s wild homebuilt V12 project. As we explained in our first article three years ago, this project involves the cutting, welding, stress-relieving, and align-boring of a pair of 1JZ inline six-cylinder engine blocks into a single 120-degree V12 engine block.
In the second update to the project, a little over two years ago, Groff changed gears from a quad-turbo setup, to dual Garrett units, and got the exhaust manifold setup fleshed out. No small feat, with a final product that resembles the automotive version of Medusa’s hair.
Then, two months ago, there was another update, in which all of the engine’s machine work and assembly had been finished up, and Groff had wrapped up the custom chassis. As to be expected when dropping in a completely custom engine into a completely custom chassis, there were a few hiccups, leaks, and misalignments, but Groff worked through them.
Now, we are insanely excited to be able to bring you the video above, with the wild V12 dual 1JZ engine taking its first breath of life. “This is the first-time-ever start-up and is another major hurdle accomplished, thanks to the boys at Nth Moto,” Groff says. “I could not have done it without their help. They make it look easy, even if we did have a few issues to resolve.”
As if tuning a custom-made dual 1JZ V12 engine with a pair of turbochargers wasn’t enough of a challenge, Groff added a twist by choosing ethanol to power the project. Controlled by an AEM Infinity ECU that has been wired and tuned by the team at Nth Moto – who specialize in exotic performance cars – and force-fed by a pair of Garrett GTX-series turbochargers which each have their own air-to-air intercooler, Groff’s creation purrs like a kitten.
While it’s only an idle video, the fact is this: not only is the engine is running under its own power, but it’s doing so smoothly and with a gorgeous exhaust note. While we are practically salivating in anticipation of a dyno video of this homebuilt masterpiece, this video is proof of life, and we know that the final stages of development and tuning of the engine is near at hand. After all, Groff left us with the words we’ve uttered ourselves what feels like a million times: “Now if it only was 65 degrees and sunny outside…”