World’s Smallest V12 is a Working Piece of Art

This retired naval mechanic builds the smallest, and most beautiful engines in the world.

Art and Engineering are two disciplines which do not often overlap. Many times if something is beautiful, it completely lacks practicality and function. When something is well engineered, it often isn’t aesthetically appealing. Enter, José Manuel Hermo Barreiro, aka “Patelo”, a retired naval mechanic who has built the smallest, and most beautiful engines in the world.

Patelo is an Engineer and an Artist. He spends thousands of hours, creating the smallest functioning versions of internal combustion engines. He has built many variations of the gas engine including V12, W32, inline-6 and radial motors, as were found in propeller aircraft. These creations are so precise that you can stand a coin upon them. Try doing that on your car’s engine!

World’s Smallest V12 is a Working Piece of Art


Each component is hand machined, built to a scale which requires precision craftsmanship and probably a magnifying glass. He begins with an engineering design, no 3D or 2D CAD here. Patelo uses a pencil, ruler and graph paper. The blueprints themselves are worthy of hanging in a gallery. Beginning from the camshaft, and continuing to the block, the pistons and cylinder heads, the process for a single engine will take 1,500 hours or more. Each piece is made by Patelo, and no one can repair or replace a part, but him. This is why his machines have traveled the world to be seen by thousands in museums and exhibitions.

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Adam Beck

Director of Marketing at CADENAS PARTsolutions | A Marketing graduate from the Miami University, Farmer School of Business in Oxford Ohio, Adam has years of experience in marketing and design for a variety of industries.