Swedish Army Tank Engine: Rolls-Royce Meteor V12

041516 Barn Finds - 19xx RR Tank Engine - 1

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Have you been lamenting the fact that you can’t seem to be able to track down an ex-Swedish Army tank engine for your next project? I know; me, too! Well, look no further, here it is. This Rolls-Royce Meteor V12 was taken out of a Swedish Centurion tank in the 1990s and has been in storage ever since. The seller has lovingly (as any of us would) oiled the cylinders through the spark plug holes and has been turning it over by hand regularly to make sure to make sure it stays as fresh as a lingonberry tart.

041516 Barn Finds - 19xx RR Tank Engine - 2

This is a 1,650 cubic-inch V12 monster with 650 hp and it uses regular gasoline. It had 6,500 km on it when it was pulled from a tank a couple of decades ago and it still has its removal tag from the army. Here is a British-built Centurion tank shown in action for the Swedish Army with a couple of Saab 35 Drakens flying by in the background. Rover took over production for the Meteor tank engines from Rolls-Royce in 1944 and this is a Rover-built, Rolls-Royce-designed Meteor Mk IVb. The seller mentions that the big advantage that the last Meteors had “were the so called “roller fingers” which operate the valves via overhead camshafts. This improvement reduced camshaft wear significantly.” This would be an unbelievable powerplant for your next car, truck, or boat.

This Rover-built, Rolls-Royce-designed, V12 Meteor ex-Swedish Army Tank engine is listed on eBay with a day left on the auction and the current bid at $644, which hasn’t met the reserve. I don’t know what this engine would be worth, but apparently it’s more than $644. Maybe Jay Leno needs something like this, or maybe you do? What would you use this engine for?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Bobsmyuncle

    Wonder what the weight and stats are. Probably an anchor with gobs of torque and low horsepower.

    If the reserve is low enough it would be great garage art.

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  2. Joe Gotts

    That bad mofo just might bolt into the back of my 1974 Vega Panel Express, Bill “Maverick” Golden look out!

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  3. David Zuniga

    I would love to see it in an older COE truck.

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    • brakesevo

      It’s been done – sorta. Back in the ’60s there was a guy in North Hollywood, Ca who built a number of Allison V12 powered hot rods including a White COE truck and – an Isetta!! I think the Allison was mostly copied from the Merlin, or was it the Packard V12 that was a Rolls copy??

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      • Matt Tritt

        Packard buit Rolls engines under licence from RR. They were the only American company successful at building to exacting RR specs.

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      • Jim

        Packard had innovative manufacturing methods for their time. They didn’t cut corners to save pennies, quality was important, which may have played a part in the company’s demise as time went on. I’ve looked at many Packard’s over the years and a friend’s family used to collect and restore them.
        During the war the govt’s used to step in and “help” speed up the licensing and sharing of technology to get the war machine up to speed. It was a different world then.

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  4. Rob

    Hmmmm, already have this V12 in my BMW 750iL, and tho I love its 322hp, 361lbs.ft torqued engine, also shared by the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph (think ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ and ‘The Transporter’ films). Yep, V12’s will cruise all day at 160mph w/o any heavy breathing, but for sure I don’t know what I use that behemoth for, but it’d make a hell-of-a StreetRod powerplant, just not anytime soon by this ol’ kid.

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    • Jim

      Rob that is a dam nice engine in your BMW, a few months ago I was at my friends machine shop with parts for my big block Chevy. He was assembling a v12 a kid let run out of oil, thankfully the kids dad caught it before it seized(it still cost plenty). I got a good education on the internals and the clearances, it’s a very nicely designed engine. What you might like to know after it was completed he sent it to be dynoed(at customer request), it made 338hp at the flywheel and 368ftlb torque. Pretty nice for a luxury touring car!

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  5. jim s

    at $ 1125 with reserve not met and just 15 hours to go. if a bus motor will not do this would be a good upgrade. gallons per mile would be ?. great find.

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  6. Walt

    A good drop in for an XKE, Keep it all British you see.

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  7. grant

    Always wanted to build a PT boat, anyone know how this compares to a Merlin?

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  8. Matt Tritt

    I thought that the Meteor was also an aircraft engine. No? Perhaps the tank unit was set up differently, but I wonder if this could be of use to someone with a WWII British aircraft?

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    • Trickie DickieMember

      Matt………..you might mean the Rolls Royce Merlin V-12. Google it and read all about it, quite a story!

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    • Hector

      The Meteor is a naturally aspirated, lower compression Merlin, basically, without the gear reduction equipment needed by a prop. It takes low octane gasoline rather than aviation grade high octane gas. It also differed in materials, using cast rather than forged pistons, and many more cast iron and steel components that are aluminum on the Merlin.

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      • grant

        Thanks, Hector.

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  9. Harvey

    That is the kind of engine that you build an Old School tractor puller out of. Source a heavy diff and mount straight pipes on the exhaust and let’er rip. Probably a couple gallons of high test gas on a 300 ft pull.

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  10. Van

    I’d happily set up a running engine stand for display.
    T bucket roadster, overkill?
    How about a vintage boat?
    41 Lincoln?

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  11. Mark S

    I agree with Van should be on a running stand but in a museum of military equipment.

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  12. Dairymen

    1650 cu inch and 650 hp? I know it probably has 1000 lbs/ft torque but still, my diesel pickup has 450 hp with 850 lbs of torque. The only application I can see (beside a boat) is making a “Jay Leno type” of hotrod like he did with the Sherman tank engine.


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    • MH

      What kind of diesel truck do you have? What mods are on it?

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  13. DREW V.

    This would be perfect for a Blastolene Bros type hot rod build. Get an old bus or duece and a half frame and start building…

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    • Van

      That sounds great too.

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  14. John

    That engine immediately made me think of this-
    – It would definitely take someone insane to build it.

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  15. Rick

    Being from Ohio I immediately begin thinking “a new Green Monster.”

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  16. rangeroger

    To heck with the 2.5 Daimler, this is what I need for my MG Midget. However,I see the V-12 was sniped with 5 seconds left for $1525. Still a bargain.

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  17. wuzjeepnowsaab

    This is just what I need for my c900 build

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  18. Van

    Use this in a 39 White truck and build a rat rod, something in good shape. Build an over sized pick-up with 445/50×22.5 tires on the back

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  19. Jerry

    I was thinking of a trolling engine for my canoe.

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    • van

      you need a big muffler so you don’t scare the fish

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  20. Rich

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