The internal combustion engine is often seen as the main reason for globalisation, allowing billions of people from around the world to reach their destinations faster than ever before in the history of mankind. These engines, that we can find in cars, bikes, planes, boats, and more, have been refined and perfected over the last 100 years, but the general design has remained very much the same. These are some of the best car engines that have ever been used in mass production.
The VW Air-Cooled Flat Four
Starting production in 1936, the famous air-cooled engine that powered the original Beetle quickly became known for its reliability, with the company eventually making a total of 30 million. Their small size and ease of repair led to a revolution within the United States, so much so that small cars became among the most popular purchases of the general population. Today, it’s still possible to find these small engines, often running just as well as when they were first released.
This Chevrolet motor was, for a long time, the definitive V8 within the United States and other countries, and it wasn’t uncommon to find one while out on the roads. First designed and released in 1955 by GM, the company has sold over 100 million of them since their inception. It became a favourite due to how easy it was to work on, and many modern racers have been able to pull up to 2000 horsepower from the small but powerful engines. This V8 has been used in transportation, sedans, pickups, and just about any type of vehicle imaginable.
Jaguar Straight Six
This straight six from Britain’s Jaguar is often considered the reason that Jaguar was able to make a name for itself in the global industry. The large engine was created by William Heynes and Sir William Lyons, who thought up the design of the engine while checking for fires during World War 2. It served as the engine that saw Jaguar win a total of 5 Le Mans races between 1951 and 1957, and was the engine that powered their most popular car of all time, the legendary E-Type, although an enthusiast would need to win at political betting in Australia in order to afford one. Production of this vehicle continued until 1992, 43 years after it was first introduced.
The Model T from Ford completely changed the way that people drove their vehicles, and their flathead V8 was the motor that powered that change. Known often as the flatty, it was not the first mass produced V8 in existence, but it was the first that was affordable to the average person. It allowed the family car to drive faster and allowed for the public to shift from the Model Ts of the time to more advanced cars. First offered in 1932, it was in production in the United States until the mid 1950s and continued to see usage in German trucks all the way until 1973. It’s simplicity and low cost made it a game-changer for many, and many of us can thank the flatty for changing the way vehicles were consumed by the public.