We know Steve Morris Engines for Pro Mod and street car dominance, but with a new project for the Devel Sixteen, things are getting hypercar exotic. From Davis Three-Wheelers to the cocaine-dusted dash of a DeLorean, car companies promising wild performance or innovation can’t always deliver. In 2013, video surfaced from the Dubai Auto Show of a new high-power hypercar ready to blast all previous records of performance and luxury, and most auto outlets took one look at the Devel Sixteen and called BS. The prototype claimed a 5,000 hp V16 capable of 1.8-second 0-60 times and a top speed of almost 350 mph. A few slow speed videos floated around the internet and we all forgot about it.
When you next hear about the Devel Sixteen, there will be some truth to its claims—at least about the engine, because famed street car and Pro Mod engine builder, Steve Morris Engines is the shop behind the quad-turbo, sixteen-cylinder insanity. When Steve Morris says, “Yeah, it only makes 4,515 hp and 3519 lb-ft of torque so far,” but then says he’s working on a race version, you can be pretty sure that he’ll be delivering on promises of 5,000 hp.
Steve couldn’t tell us much about the car the engine will go in, saying only that the company has some lofty performance goals, and that “Making power is not the problem, making the car work with the power is.” With that in mind, let’s look at how Morris made the power.
In the video Morris talks about the billet block, the custom heads, intake, the quadruple 81mm turbo system, and the five-stage, dry-sump oiling system. The engine is exotic, although Morris says the components are pretty standard aluminum and steel. It’s a 9.0:1 compression ratio, fully water-jacketed, 32-valve, fuel-injected, 754ci (12.6L) V16. The entire engine was designed and machined at Steve Morris Engines (SME) except for the block, which SME sent out (with designs) to a facility with larger machining capabilities.
Steve Morris Engines has 1 1/2 years into the prototype which Morris says is not exactly based on an LS or big-block Chevy, but is heavily “influenced,” by both. “I approached this thinking, ‘Ok, you want a 5,000hp V16. I don’t know Formula One engines or Lambo/Ferrari/Volkswagen engines, but I do know a lot about American race engine stuff, so it is influenced by what I know.” The end result is a unique engine design, not an extended Ferrari V12 or two V8s welded together.
Morris doesn’t have pricing yet for the engines, but he pointed out that the material for the block alone cost him $13,000. “You can start imagining from there,” he says.
The Devel Sixteen engine is not the first custom powerplant to come out of SME. Even the more traditional American V8s the company is known for have little in common with a production part, or with each other. “I have not built more than two engines the same for the last 10 years or so,” Morris says. “I don’t buy parts and bolt them together—wish I did sometimes, probably better money in it.”
It took more than 2,000 hours of machining to complete the new V16 and there will be more if it goes into production. “This is just a prototype, so I didn’t lighten it up as much as I could.” Steve says. “I didn’t weigh the whole thing, but I think the crank alone weighs about 125 pounds.” The plans for a production version would involve casting a block and heads, so that would cut down a little on Steve’s machine-time.
Other fun specs include a current oil capacity of 15 quarts, a custom belt drive, and a 16 injector (one per cylinder) EFI. When asked which development issues were the most difficult, Morris named pretty much every element of the engine. “EFI, block, heads, oiling, cooling…we just kept working through it.”
The result of Steve’s patience is 4,500 hp, so we’re glad he kept at it. Hopefully, we’ll see more of this engine in 2016. Steve says he’d love to bring it in a car on Drag Week. Talk about Unlimited!