Unfortunately, 2016 took yet another great human from our world, the legendary Paul Rosche, the man who made some of the best engines the world had ever since for BMW. His greatest work, though, was one that never powered a BMW. The S70/2 naturally-aspirated V12 engine, built for Ron Dennis, that powered the McLaren F1 was the best engine ever produced by BMW and possibly the single greatest engine in the history of the automobile.
One of the most famous owners of the spectacular McLaren F1 is Jay Leno. On his show, “Jay Leno’s Garage”, he and his team of skilled mechanics did the unthinkable and pulled the V12 out of the McLaren for servicing. The video is quite old, so the quality is lacking, but we think it’s worth watching to see what Rosche’s best work looked like.
It’s a stunning engine to look at because it was developed without a single expense spared. It wasn’t built to a price but to a standard. In fact, the special exhaust system for the car that BMW developed was more expensive than the actual engine. But what’s even more remarkable is just how clean and solid the engine is, with no leaks or oil anywhere. It’s even more remarkable considering that Leno’s F1 isn’t a garage queen. He drives it frequently and pushes it hard.
One of the coolest things to see on a valve cover is the word “McLaren” with the words “BMW M Power” underneath. Those two companies have dominated their respective motorsports for decades and decades, making the pairing of both a match made in heaven.
The BMW S70/2 engine is a masterpiece, Rosche’s Mona Lisa, and it’s worth taking a quick look at it as Leno shows you around it. While engine nerds like myself would like this video regardless, it holds more weight now that Rosche has passed.