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Best pre-war 6-cylinder engine


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#1 Jakechapman

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Posted 03 May 2024 - 04:13

Any ideas?

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#2 Doug Nye

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Posted 03 May 2024 - 06:05

High in the idle question list but 6C-1750 Alfa Romeo is one candidate which instantly springs to mind, probably superior in most regards to the less expensive BMW 328 - and in a different world to the Riley/ERA 6-cylinder?  But apples, pears and house bricks spring to mind.

 

DCN



#3 BRG

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Posted 03 May 2024 - 09:28

"Best" in what sense?    Most powerful?  Most successful in racing?  Most successful in sales?  Most driveable?

 

The answer OUGHT to be Bugatti but I don't think they ever made a 6 cylinder lump.



#4 Odseybod

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Posted 03 May 2024 - 09:45

You forgot to mention which war. If First, then the 1903 Napier, the first production six (albeit with one or two problems).



#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 May 2024 - 10:43

I liker the MG K3 for its sheer audacity...

 

1100cc in an inline six!



#6 UK6

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Posted 03 May 2024 - 11:41

Jake,

 

The SS Jaguar 3.5L pushrod engine would be a good contender for the following reasons:

 

1. Respectable hp/$ ie 125hp,

2. Robust design - 7 main bearings, slipper bearings, all cast iron construction,

3. Ease of maintenance- simple pushrod design, detachable cast iron cylinder head,

4. Cross flow cylinder head designed by Mr Weslake, and

5. Impressive torque output as evidenced by outstanding top gear acceleration.

 

I make this suggestion having owned and fully rebuilt a  6 cylinder Wolseley Hornet sports, a SS100 Jaguar and multiple post war cars including a Bristol 400.



#7 Roger Clark

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Posted 03 May 2024 - 14:17

How about the 1922 Fiat, winner of the two major Grands Prix that year and a major influence (at least) on the next year’s French Grand Prix winner?



#8 robert dick

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Posted 03 May 2024 - 14:38

... and in the 1930s, two of the Fiat designers, Bertarione and Becchia were responsible for the Hotchkiss and the French Talbot, the competitors of the Delahaye.

Before WWI, the 1909 and -10 Vanderbilt winning American Berliet/Alco and the 1911 Indy 500 winning Marmon were really succesful sixes.
 



#9 GTMRacer

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Posted 03 May 2024 - 15:33

Riley 15/6 for a road car is pretty good



#10 PJGD

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Posted 03 May 2024 - 23:13

The Halford-designed de Havilland Gipsy Six aero engine as used in many commercial and military aircraft including the long-distance race-winning DH-88 Comet.



#11 Catalina Park

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Posted 04 May 2024 - 02:06

The best inline six would be the left bank of a Rolls Royce Merlin, the second best would be the right bank.



#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 May 2024 - 05:09

And then there's the Wolseley 25hp engine...

 

I'm told it had prodigious horsepower and that was the reason its basic architecture (bore, stroke, deck height etc) were copied into the original Jaguar XK engine.

 

Was the Jaguar SS engine really a crossflow? The post-war pushrod ones were purely Standard with the manifolds on the RHS as I recall.



#13 RobertE

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Posted 04 May 2024 - 18:58

Jake,

The SS Jaguar 3.5L pushrod engine would be a good contender for the following reasons:

1. Respectable hp/$ ie 125hp,
2. Robust design - 7 main bearings, slipper bearings, all cast iron construction,
3. Ease of maintenance- simple pushrod design, detachable cast iron cylinder head,
4. Cross flow cylinder head designed by Mr Weslake, and
5. Impressive torque output as evidenced by outstanding top gear acceleration.

I make this suggestion having owned and fully rebuilt a 6 cylinder Wolseley Hornet sports, a SS100 Jaguar and multiple post war cars including a Bristol 400.

I had always thought that the SS100 had a bronze cylinder head...

#14 Charlieman

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Posted 15 May 2024 - 08:13

The Halford-designed de Havilland Gipsy Six aero engine as used in many commercial and military aircraft including the long-distance race-winning DH-88 Comet.

The 1.5 litre engine for the car which became known as the AM Halford Special is perhaps 'best' for bravery and ambition. Although the turbocharger experiment failed, the supercharged power output was respectable.

 

The Maserati 6CM can make a claim for 'best' for practicality as a privateer voiturette racing engine.



#15 JoBo

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Posted 15 May 2024 - 11:18

The 1.5 litre engine for the car which became known as the AM Halford Special is perhaps 'best' for bravery and ambition. Although the turbocharger experiment failed, the supercharged power output was respectable.

 

The Maserati 6CM can make a claim for 'best' for practicality as a privateer voiturette racing engine.

The 6CM-engine was one of the most successful engines of the 1930s.



#16 arttidesco

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Posted 15 May 2024 - 21:38

You forgot to mention which war. If First, then the 1903 Napier, the first production six (albeit with one or two problems)

 

Followed swiftly in 1904 by the 60hp 9.6 litre Maudsley six, not the most successful perhaps but astonishngly innovative. 

 

IMG-2104.jpg



#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 15 May 2024 - 22:41

So good there's even one languishing in the truck museum near Alice Springs...

 

19-19-01-maudslaysohc6.jpg

Maudslay with overhead camshaft. This British maker built trucks and some cars up until the forties, but this one seems to be from the pre-1920 period.



#18 SteveJones

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Posted 16 May 2024 - 15:02

If you define 'best' by most long lived then the AC 'Weller' engine deserves a mention. Designed in 1919 and first used in the AC 6 Light Car it remained in production with various 'improvements' until 1963. However, if using the same definition, the 6 cylinder Chevrolet 'Stove Bolt' 6 in its various versions qualifies as well - 1929 to (in Brazil)1979.

 

SJ


Edited by SteveJones, 16 May 2024 - 15:13.


#19 seharvin

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Posted 19 May 2024 - 21:39

Surprised none of the usual suspects chimed in with the Roesch-Talbot 105 motor.

 

Some interesting specs in Blight's Invincible Talbot book comparing both contemporary WWII-era units as well as 6-cyl. engines from around time of publishing (1970).

 

 

 

 

IMG-1529.jpg

 

IMG-1531.jpg

 

IMG-1530.jpg


Edited by seharvin, 19 May 2024 - 21:42.


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#20 Ray Bell

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Posted 20 May 2024 - 00:11

Strange to compare it with the C-series engine...

 

As it has the seven main bearings listed, it would seem to be the MGC and Austin 3-litre Deluxe version, which was always considered a poor example.



#21 robert dick

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Posted 24 May 2024 - 06:59

Six-cylinder crankshaft in two main bearings,
the 1913 Pilain (S.A.P. = Société des Automobiles Pilain, Lyon, France),
2.4-litre T-head six (65 x 120 mm):
(image from La Vie Automobile, 1913)

pilain13.jpg