What is the Greatest Pre-’90 Twelve-Cylinder Engine?
Photography by Raffaele Danna and Yoav Gilad
Let’s make this clear at the outset: the twelve-cylinder engine is the pinnacle of automotive internal-combustion powerplants. Yes, there have been V16s both past (Cizeta) and way-past (Auto Union and Cadillac), but twelve-cylinder engines produce smooth, easy power and torque throughout the range and are the conventional choice for any machine whose mission is clear and uncompromised. That’s why they are reserved for the top tier, and also why their days are numbered. A direct function of increasingly stiff emissions regulations, twelve-cylinders have become anachronisms being passed over for boosted sixes and eights in the most bonkers of machines.
It’s sad, but their era is ending. Fortunately, their power and the performance they enabled will forever live with equal vigor in our minds and hearts. Now most of us don’t have personal experience with twelve-cylinders, nevertheless, everyone has a favorite car or series of cars that were powered by twelves and we’d like to know what you think is the greatest pre-1990 twelve cylinder of all time.
What is the greatest pre-’90 twelve-cylinder engine ever?