This week we feature the Cizeta V16T engine: Lunacy Redefined
Developed by engineer Claudio Zampolli in partnership with composer Giorgio Moroder, the car containing this engine was built from 1991 to 1995, it was designed by a bunch of ex-Lamborghini employees.
While the name of this car refers to a V16 engine, a more accurate description of this power plant would be twin parallel V8s in a common block.
In simpler terms, the Cizeta V16T engine is a pair of Lamborghini Urraco Flatplane V8s mounted back to back with an output shaft and a five speed manual transaxle in the middle.
This brute of an engine was mounted in the mid rear of the car, making for surprisingly clever packaging. With an intricate cooling system mounted on the sides and aided by crank actuated fans. The engine block itself required countless hours of machining, because of its construction; the super wide engine is a tight and snug fit into one of the strangest engine bays in automotive history.
A Naturally aspirated V16, the Cizeta V16T engine had double overhead camshafts, a 90 degree V layout and 4 valves per cylinder. An undersquare design with 86 mm (3.39 in) of bore and 64.5 mm (2.54 in) of stroke, and a 9.3:1 compression ratio gave this engine its high revving nature.
Producing 540 horsepower at a blistering 8000 rpm, and reaching peak torque 400 lb-ft at 6000 rpm, this piece of engineering is claimed to propel the 1700 kg(3748 lbs) Cizeta to a top speed of 328 km/h (204 mph).
With a respectable, even for today’s standards, 90.08 hp per liter specific output, this engine is without a doubt a fine engineering exercise, and it belongs to the only successful transverse, mid engine, V16 car in all of automotive history. An accomplishment specific enough that we doubt there are any companies attempting to replicate it.
Only 10 Cizetas were ever produced, each sold at a $ 300000 price when new.
With a design ethos that would make Doctor Frankenstein the proudest man in the world, this Cizeta V16T engine is not only proof that brilliance and lunacy are symbiotic, but that also, innovation goes hand in hand with taking the risk of uncertainty.
By deviating from the safety net of the norm, Cizeta proved they could build a car unlike any other, and though the company is long gone, their legacy carries on in any car company that deviates from the mainstream in the chase for performance.
You can hear this engine in the video below.