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1600 hp monster diesel firing up at Rétromobile 2012


February 2, 2012

This vintage 30-ton 1600-horsepower Type 9 V.O.S. Duvant engine is currently on display at the Retromobile 2012 show in Paris

This vintage 30-ton 1600-horsepower Type 9 V.O.S. Duvant engine is currently on display at the Retromobile 2012 show in Paris

Hey, you like really big engines? Well, here's one that's not going to fit under the hood of your F-150. This 30-ton (27-tonne) Type 9 V.O.S. engine is one of just three built by the French company Duvant in 1962. It's over 18 feet (5.5 meters) long, 11 feet (3.4 m) tall, and gulps down 350 liters (92.5 US gallons) of diesel fuel per hour. With its four valves per cylinder and turbocompressor, it is capable of producing 1600 horsepower. Best of all, should you happen to be in Paris this week, you can see the thing running.

This particular Type 9 spent 50 years in the basement of the Auteuil Race Course, in Paris. There, it drove a giant alternator, that could power the entire facility in the event of a power outage.

In 1990, it was used for the last time. By 2000, the race course owners were looking for a new home for the engine, so the Association des Amoureux des Vieux Moteurs (Vintage Engines Appreciation Society) took it off their hands. After taking it apart, winching it out of the basement by crane, then transporting it and reassembling it, members of the Society were finally able to start it up again in 2010.

Now, it's on display at the Rétromobile 2012 show in Paris, running February 1st to 5th.

Among the other vintage oddities on display will be a 1913 Audi Type C with airplane fabric covered coachwork, an incomplete 1920s GERIN aerodynamic concept vehicle, and two examples of early amphibious cars.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

No it won\'t fit in your F-150, or your Kenworth. It might fit in your railroad diesel electro-motive, but 1600 HP is really whimpy. It might fit in your luxury boat. The rate of fuel consumption per hour is atrocious! Rather than start it up at a show, and waste precious fuel, they should take it to the scrap yard, where it belongs.


Go hug a tree rkt9, your opinion belongs in the scrapyard. The same thing could be said about every retro plane/car/boat out there. Its not intended to have any commercial use anymore and just serves to satisfy the interest of a niche segment.I for one think its quite cool even if i never hope to own one.

Victor Rouleau

Agreeded, dump this thing. Waste of space, money, fuel, and now my time. :)

The Tom

Also agree with Rkt9, while I like old machinery, there comes a time when you have to admit that a piece of crap is a piece of crap and scrap it...

Mr T

Wow - looks like all the greenies got out of the wrong side of their tree thismorning!


It is a historical artifact owned by those that treasure such things.


See it start & wait for goddamn massive amounts of toxic waste gases get into my nostrils? thanks but i\'ll pass. nostalgic or not, it doesnt change the fact that this thing here ain\'t doing any work & will start polluting the air around the second it\'s fired up. i agree with Rkt9 up there. this thing here belongs to the scrap yard.

Windmaster Hiroaki

I hope the naysayer\'s aren\'t serious. Destroy a machine demonstrating how we got where were at? Blasphemy! Maybe never crank it again, that being an awful thought. Imagine the man hours involved in bringing it to life. Make a spectacle of turning it over once a month for 5 minutes. I\'d pay to see that. Hopefully it would start.


1600 HP yes, but over 60,000 lbs feet of torque

Narendra Rajcoomar

(Sarcasm alert!!)

By all means, junk this relic! And junk other outdated things like the Eiffel Tower (lots of steel), Notre Dame (room for green space) Napoleon\'s Tomb (replace with indoor garden)..


Let me get this straight: a bunch of greenies strongly desire to junk this piece of technology, with basically historical and niche applications only, simply because of matters such as \"waste\", \"toxic fumes\" and \"use of petro fuels\", or some such. And these paragons of energy efficiency deign to chastise those who think differently while they wile away at some energy using device spewing their nonsense, oblivious to the fact that their precious (and seemingly wasteful) electricity should had been consumed in a much more focused manner, i.e. used the juice for things you \"really need\", like grocery shopping or finding an efficient pathway to your nearest tree. And not spewing crap on obviously frivolous things such as news stories of no interest to them, and adding to the collective pollution by electricity generation (or blocking a salmon run or whatever). I think they\'re baiting...


Hey for those tree huggers who hate this thing you\'re looking at it all wrong. Do you know how many trees this thing can feed with the amount of CO2 it puts out. Let me tell you the exact number, lots of them. Maybe we should get ride of trees in parks because trees kill people by falling on houses, streets, powerlines, and people, happens every year all over the world. Why don\'t we look at this engine appropriately as a part of our past and allow those who charish it enjoy it. It did after all survive this long.

Matt Fletcher

I love giant engines like this- a real piece of engineering and art to me.

Robert Volk

Yes, yes its junk, its a polluter its taking up space, however the same could be said for all of the old people on the planet driving around in their cars not producing anything and taking up space.

But we don\'t discard them do we. Retired people eventually find a new purpose in life and become productive again.

Get a bunch of retired engineers together, have them convert the diesel beast to a steam engine and have local schools bring the children to study it as a valuable lesson.

Let them run it, calculate the horsepower, measure the steam power, write up a paper, interact and learn from old people, become community,,,, on on

Think of how it can be good instead of how many ways its bad.


Efficiency is not the most important thing in a back up generator, the ability to quickly start after sitting idle for months or years is.


Eleven feet tall? That would make those bystanders (appearing to actually be standing right next to it) about four feet tall. I think there has been a measurement lost in conversion.

As for scraping it, that\'s absurd. It will never be run any extended length of time to simply show it off anyway. I would love to see and especially hear it running. It is an amazing relic. I\'ll be there are many museums who would like to house it.

Robert Fox

What a tease, I want a video of it running with the audio as compressed as it would have to be. Please put a video of this thing up or a pointer to youtube with a video.


92.5 US gallons per hour for 1600 HP is not really all that bad.Could be better, to be sure. But wonder if the load was properly matched to the engine. True, a modern electronically controlled diesel would do better, but that is not what this is. It is a piece of history.


re; Robert Allan Fox

I think that the height of the engine is measured from the bottom of the oil pan to the top of the heads, and the prospective is a little funky.


Perry from R Stack

Allison had a Navy engine that I worked on test stand to check out it was a 12 cylander 1200 HP and tore up our dyne when we loaded it. This was a navy engine. We had two 1200 Hp on the ship I served on. We were getting close to that engine. Ralph

Ralph Stack

Wonder what the hours logged and MTF averaged... Its a Nine cylinder and at 1600 HP I\'m sure the generator it could run would make 100 gallons of fuel an hour equate to several thousand KW. It\'s 50 years old. Ok, it\'s not green, convert it to BIO-FUEL and run it with the cooking oil from Mc D\'s french fryers (france...lol). So it will a gigantic reminder that we need cleaner, more renewable and efficient energy sources to future generations. It was only used as a backup, its not like it ran 24 hrs a day. Petro plants, cars, and locomotives produce tonnes more Co2 in a single day than this motor would if ran 50 years non-stop. OMG and they made 3 of them.


You act like this is the only diesel engine in world and they have not improved on emissions in last 50 years much regardless. Technology is not the failure of mankind, mankind\'s greed has used technology to rape the planet. So everybody who has rode a train, a bus, bought a couch, a new carpet, ate food shipped to stores, used a cell phone, the Internet, or light bulb has altered the ecology of our planet. The robber barons would not be such rapist if the consumer wasn\'t so quick to \"be the jones\'\" and buy products that make the rich... richer, the poor.... poorer, and always the cheapest cost = most damage to environment.

The earth is bombarded with energy that is free and clean and been that way long before man could even wipe his ass. Nature has given us the tools to harness unlimited clean energy, but we as consumers keep buying products dependent on crude oil cause its cheap, quick and dirty. Then we fight, kill, and destroy lives, countries and economies with the whole world.... \"I wanna be like mike mentality\". You want to see who is killing planet earth and our children and grandchildren. The sheeple of earth. Seen one, look in the mirror.


re; EasyMoney

Solar is over hyped and under preforming. Call me when you have solar powered car that will pass road worthiness tests, carry a family of five and luggage at hi-way speeds all night.


Seriously? Hey, I\'m all for blue skies and green trees, but come ON. Being able to see and touch relics of the past is a GOOD thing. It\'s not like there\'s one of these on every street corner. Maybe some school kid who comes and looks at this will be fascinated, and become the engineer that invents a cheap way to produce hydrogen fuel that will cheaply and cleanly power our society for the next 200 years. And if not, it\'s still just ONE engine. If they were ever mass produced, most of these have ALREADY been recycled. And it\'s still less of an environmental nightmare than the toxic horror created by non-recyclable, spontaneously-combusting batteries for your electric cars that just end up in some chinese landfill and leach out poisons into the Earth. Get a little perspective.

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