Some engines become legends, while others are doomed to be nothing more than myths. We inquired about your favorite forgotten engines and, with your help, collected these ten engines that have mostly disappeared from our collective automotive subconscious.
This is Answers of the Day - where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's "Question Of The Day". It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers.
Photo Credit: Softeis
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10.) Volkswagen VR5
Suggested by: BlackVR
Why It's Forgotten: VW's 2.3 liter VR5 engine is based on the impossibly narrow VR6 engine, except a cylinder is lopped off. Technically the VR5 is not a V engine, but rather a staggered inline. Additionally, this engine shares many things with the inline-5 that is found in the Audi Quattro. Little attention was paid to this engine because it was put in boring VWs like the Passat, Golf, Bora, and Seat Toledo and initially only produced a measly 150 HP. All it needs is a little tuning, maybe some turbos, to make a growling screamer of an engine.
Photo Credit: GolfV5.com
9.) Honda V5
Suggested by: RB26Skyline
Why It's Forgotten: With the creation of MotoGP came rule changes to World Championship Motorcycle racing. Long gone were the days of the 500cc class. Now manufacturers could produce engines up to 990 cc ranging from 3 to 6 cylinders. Enter Honda, who created the iconic and dominating 75.5 degree V5 engine in the RC211V. Power went up in the 990 cc monster from 197 HP in 2003 to 237 HP in 2004. In the four years the engine was used it won more than half of all the races, took the constructor's championship every year, and won three driver's championships. The engine was to disappear after the creation of new rules limiting engine size to 800 cc, meaning a lot of us would not have heard about it unless we were MotoGP fanatics.
8.) BMW OHV V8
Suggested by: Muscles Marinara
Why It's Forgotten: From 1954 to 1965, BMW produced a pushrod overhead valve V8 for the 502, 503, 507 and 3200 CS. The aluminum alloy, 90 degree V8 came in 2.6 liter and 3.2 liter flavors, producing 120 up to 160 HP while revving up to 6500 RPM! The engine was developed to compete with rival Mercedes-Benz and replace the antiquated straight-six found in the BMW 501. Then the ever-famous Neue Klasse came around and there was no need for a V8 engine. BMW did not offer a V8 engine in its lineup until 1991 with the production of the marvelous 840i.
Photo Credit: US Autoparts
7.) Citroën M35
Suggested by: Vavon
Why It's Forgotten: Citroën began "production" of the Heuliez-bodied M35 in 1969, but it never officially sold the vehicle, only offering it to loyal customers for testing. Inside the little coupe was a 995cc Wankel engine producing 49 hp. The engine was manufactured by Comotor, a company founded by NSU and Citroën. Due to fuel inefficiency and emissions, the idea of a rotary was dropped until the GS Birotor's release. Poor sales caused the disappearance of the Citroën rotary engine from existence.
Photo Credit: Citroënët
6.) Spyker Straight-Six
Suggested by: Bluecold
Why It's Forgotten: Traditionally, straight-sixes were produced before the V6 engine, the first V6 being produced in 1950. But the first was produced by Spyker in 1903 and used in the Spyker 60 and Spyker 80. The Spyker straight-six was 8.8 liters of furious thunder and produced, get this, 60 and 80 HP respectively. When one thinks of straight-six, the mind goes to BMW, but no one would have ever thought Spyker was the first to develop this engine.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
5.) BRM H16
Suggested by: Van Sarockin, rogue trebuchet
Why It's Forgotten: Take two flat-8 engines, stack them on top of each other and gear the two cranks together. Now that's an H16 engine. The British Racing Motors 3.0 liter H16 Formula 1 engine sounds like a great idea, but in reality it was terrible. It was low on power, had a high center of gravity, had mechanical fuel injection, and used a complex geartrain to drive the camshafts. It only ever won one race, the 1966 U.S. Grand Prix at the hands of Jim Clark in the Lotus 43. Despite a complete redesign of the engine to lighten it and add power, it was never used again in Formula 1.
Photo Credit: evil-photographer
4.) Fiat A.12
Suggested by: pj134
Why It's Forgotten: The Fiat Mefistofele, originally a grand prix car with an 18 liter engine, was acquired by an Ernest Eldridge. He also happened to acquire a 21.7 liter straight-six A.12 Bis engine from a Fiat airship. The engine produced 260 HP initially but was tuned to 320 HP. When mated to the chain-driven 1908 Fiat SB 4 grand prix car, Eldridge was able to reach a top speed of 146 MPH and break the 1923 land speed record.
Photo Credit: GPMA
3.) Maserati Ghibli Cup Twin Turbo V6
Suggested by: Number_Six
Why It's Forgotten: No everyone is a fan of the Maserati Biturbo, so it's no wonder not many people are fans of the Maserati Ghibli II, which used an updated version of the Biturbos engine. There was a 2.0 liter twin turbo V6 in the Ghibli cup that produced 330 HP. That's 165 HP per liter, the highest specific output for a production vehicle at the time. It's specific output was even higher than the Bugatti EB110, the Ferrari F40, and the Jaguar XJ220. Those 330 ponies got the Ghibli to 62 mph in 5.7 seconds. So why don't we remember this engine? Perhaps because we didn't get the Ghibli II here in the states or maybe because it might be a tad unreliable.
Photo Credit: maserati-alfieri.co.uk
2.) Subaru/Coloni F1 Flat-12
Suggested by: Bonhomme7h
Why It's Forgotten: This is another story of Formula 1 engine failure but not the kind followed by a giant cloud of smoke. In the late 80s, Subaru got together with Carlo Chiti to develop a flat-12 engine for Formula 1. It was originally tested in the Minardi M188 chassis, but Minardi last interest due to lack of performance. Subaru got together with Coloni, buying 51% of the company, and started a team! The 3.5 liter flat-12 never produced more than 500 HP. The car never did well and Coloni was never able to improve. Subaru dropped the from Formula 1, sold its stake in Coloni, and the engine was never heard of again, at least until one came up for sale on eBay.
Photo Credit: iwoc.co.uk
1.) Mazda 20b 3-Rotor Wankel
Suggested by: SpikeJnz - Shomer Shabbos
Why It's Forgotten: Unless you're a hardcore Mazda rotary enthusiast, you probably never heard of the 20b that powered the Mazda Eunos Cosmo. The 1962 cc three rotor Wankel produced 300 horsepower with the help of 10 psi of twin turbo boost. This was the first time the world would see volume production of a twin turbo setup in series. The 20b-REW engine Cosmo became a rare car, since more Cosmo's were sold with Mazda's 13b rotary.
Photo Credit: dmrh.com.au