The Ten Greatest Engine Designers In Automotive History

Geniuses like Nikolaus Otto and Rudolf Diesel came up with the bases of internal combustion and industrialists like Soichiro Honda built whole companies on brilliant engine designs. Still, it's these ten engineers who got the closest to engine perfection.


10.) Felix Wankel

The Ten Greatest Engine Designers In Automotive History

Felix Wankel might have been a nazi nutjob while his engines are unreliable oil-burners that bankrupt NSU and pushed AMC towards a slow death with the Pacer, but who cares? Jesus loves rotaries certainly doesn't:

What he envisioned, designed and built was unprecedented at the time. If this man had never been born I doubt another human being would have carried this idea to fruition, much less dream it up with it in the first place!

You might dislike 13B's and their kind, but plenty of people continue to drive them, race them on strip and road courses, fly small aircraft powered by them and ride motorcycles motivated by them. People don't just like them, we love them.

Suggested By: Captain Fluffy Pants, Photo Credit: Henrich Sanden/AP


9.) Hans Ledwinka

The Ten Greatest Engine Designers In Automotive History

Austria gave us Hitler but also the man responsible for everything we love about Tatras, including the 2.5-liter air-cooled V8s. Tatras killed nazis by falling off the road, nazis copied Tatras to create the Volkswagen Beetle.

After the war, he was jailed in Czechoslovakia for five years for collaborating with the Nazis. He responded by refusing to work for Tatra after his release.

Suggested By: BiTurbo228 - Garagisti, Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


8.) Harry Miller

The Ten Greatest Engine Designers In Automotive History

"Auto racing pioneer Barney Oldfield tries out the new Miller FWD Special as Harry Miller, builder of the race car, stands at left in Los Angeles, Ca., on May 13, 1932. The front-engined four wheel drive, which has a V-8 type motor and weighs 2300 pounds, will be entered in the Indianapolis Memorial Day race by the Four Wheel Drive Auto Company of Wisconsin, and Oldfield will be pit manager for the car."

If you know Indy history, you know how important Miller's mustache and overhead cam design was. The design not only won the Indy 500 dozens of times over the decades, but it provided the basis for Bugatti's legendary race-winning OHC motors, as well. The engine design was a team effort though, as Maxton86 explains:

Leo Goosen is often overlooked. Perhaps because he had a low key and quiet personality, his boss Harry Miller and later Fred Offenhauser took most of the credit for Goosen's work. Goosen also did a lot of the work on the Ford 4-Cam Indy engine that Lotus used at Indy. Again Ford took most of the credit.

Suggested By: Where They Raced, Photo Credit: AP


7.) Giotto Bizzarrini

The Ten Greatest Engine Designers In Automotive History

Bizzarrini was an engineer at Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Iso Rivolta before founding his own company in order to ultimately outferrari Enzo himself. That didn't happen, but since he also designed the Lamborghini V12, it doesn't really matter.

Suggested By: J "oppo" Zeke, Photo Credit: PSParrot


6.) Tadek Marek

The Ten Greatest Engine Designers In Automotive History

While it's hard to find a more British company than Aston Martin, their most famous engine designer came from Krakow, Poland. Marek worked for Fiat and GM before moving to England and start working on the Rolls-Royce Meteor tank engine.

A decade later, he joined Aston Martin and redesigned the Lagonda straight-six before creating the legendary Aston V8 that was used from 1969-1995.

Suggested By: KusabiSensei thinks he can teach, Photo Credit: sccart


5.) Keith Duckworth

The Ten Greatest Engine Designers In Automotive History

The founding father of Cosworth, Duckworth's DFV engine scored 12 F1 Driver's and 10 Constructor's Championships. That's not counting the engine's Le Mans and Indy wins, making him worth a few ducks indeed.

Suggested By: Crossdrilled, Photo Credit: The Times


4.) Gioacchino Colombo

The Ten Greatest Engine Designers In Automotive History

Ferrari V12. He created the most glorious one, and that's pretty much the best thing you can do for humanity.

Suggested By: mtdrift, Photo Credit: Ferrari Spa


3.) Aurelio Lampredi

The Ten Greatest Engine Designers In Automotive History

Lampredi's engines replaced the Colombos in Ferraris, but his later DOHC and SOHC designs at Fiat were even more exciting. The Italians put those into almost everything for the next 32 years.

Suggested By: HiramJahoovafatJr, Photo Credit: Fiat


2.) Ed Cole

The Ten Greatest Engine Designers In Automotive History

Where would General Motors be today without the Small Block V8?

Exactly.

Suggested By:v JoeBryant, Photo Credit: GM


1.) Vittorio Jano

The Ten Greatest Engine Designers In Automotive History

Born as Viktor János in San Giorgio Canavese to Hungarian immigrants, Jano's 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder inline engines made Alfa Romeo and Lancia (pictured above) the dominant force on the racetracks using light alloy construction, hemispherical combustion chambers, centrally located plugs, two rows of overhead valves per cylinder bank and dual overhead cams.

He designed the first production V6 ever while working for Lancia and his V6 and V8 designs also replaced Colombo's and Lampredi's at Ferrari, starting with the Dino V6. Kösz Vittorio!

Suggested By: BiTurbo228 - Garagisti, Photo Credit: Keystone/Stringer/Getty Images

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