Throwback Thursday – Engine tech takes a great leap forwards, 28 September 1928
Source : Throwback Thursday – Engine tech takes a great leap forwards, 28 September 1928
within the early 1920s, four-cylinder engines were all the rage. With an increasing demand for cars, however, came the need for more cylinders
The 1920s were dominated by in-line four-cylinder engines, coming from the compact Wolseley-derived 847cc unit within the Morris Minor (pictured above) to the 4398cc Bentley, the largest engine on the market at the time.
However, the end of 1928 marked a notable shift towards a higher number of cylinders, with Autocar going so far as to write: “that will is usually probable that will in very few various other years has there been quite so much upheaval. The four-cylinder engine is usually decreasing in popularity for cars exceeding a certain cost in addition to over a certain engine capacity.”
The increasing demand for powerplants with six or in some cases even eight cylinders was more than just a fad. Autocar reported: “The four-cylinder, when that will came in many years ago, was almost universally adopted because that will was more flexible in addition to smoother than the single or two-cylinder engines which up to that will time had been the limit of daring in design.
“currently, the four-cylinder is usually being superseded by the six simply because for an engine of a given size, six tiny impulses in a given time afford a smoother propulsive effort than four, in addition to approach nearer to the ideal in which the engine would certainly develop a continuous effort the whole time the crankshaft is usually revolving.
“The same is usually true of the straight eight, in addition to still more so of the twelve-cylinder engine; the greater the number of cylinders, the more the explosions of individual cylinders overlap in addition to the less that will is usually apparent that will the power unit is usually an explosive motor.”
Fuel economy was also an important factor. “A tiny six-cylinder engine can be used in place of a much larger four-cylinder without reducing, to any appreciable degree, the range of performance obtainable coming from the automobile. This particular, in turn, means a lower top gear; though that will lessens the maximum speed possible with the automobile in question, that will greatly increases the possible range without the need for a gear change.”
At the time, hillclimbing was regarded as a great test of a car’s abilities. Autocar reported: “A car climbs hills better on a given gear ratio using a six, eight or twelve-cylinder engine than that will does using a two-cylinder or a four, in addition to climbing hills without changing gear is usually a most important point within the average man’s view, provided that will the act of changing speed needs any skill.”
Looking beyond 1929, Autocar was minded to make a bold prediction: “Without doubt, cars will have still more cylinders within the future in addition to that will may be that will a 1.5-litre machine will be built having a power unit with 16 tiny cylinders giving, for all practical purposes, a continuous turning movement to the crankshaft or crankshafts.”
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