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15 Facts Most People Don’t Know About V8 Engines

V8 engines may be revered powerplants for American sports cars, but they’re popular globally. Here are the coolest facts about them!

Everybody loves a V8, don’t they? Well, you should! The V8 engine is perhaps the most famed and popular engine layout ever, having powered countless cars, aircraft, boats, and all manner of machines over the years.

It is famous for racing having been used in NASCAR, Formula 1, Supercars, and more. But, the one thing we love about the V8 is the history it has behind it. From the very first example appearing in 1904 (more on that later) to the last run of this famous engine in Grand Prix racing it has had a long and illustrious history. And despite the ever-threatening issue of global warming leading to its eventual phasing out, it’s still great.

This list contains 15 facts you may not know about the glorious, good old V8 engine. Strap yourself in folks because this is one heck of an interesting ride!

15-First V8 Appeared In An Aircraft

Many of you are probably expecting to hear that the first V8 came in a very early car, right? Well in a time when aircraft engines were more powerful than anything on the planet, the first V8 appeared in one. The company that made it was called “Antoinette” and it also appeared in the speedboat racers of the time.

14-A V8 Motorcycle Set A Speed Record

Glenn Hammond Curtiss was one of the very early auto pioneers, and he holds a particular distinction. He took one of his own Curtiss motorcycles to an inane 126 mph back in 1907. Today, that is the equivalent of Bloodhound going at 1000mph in a year or twos time. It was also the only time a motorcycle ever took the land speed record.

13-They Powered Most Of The F1 Grid In The 1970s

It is perhaps no surprise to many to learn that Formula 1 was powered by the mighty V8 for many years. In the 1970s, virtually the whole grid used the famous Cosworth DFV engine, and the only team that didn’t bother with it was Ferrari, who have always built their own engine for their cars.

12-Formula 1 Abandoned Them In 2013

Whilst the engine Formula has changed throughout the years in Formula 1 the V8s made a return in 2006, and they became the main engine for the sport for another seven years. They were last used in 2013, the final year of normally aspirated engines before the sport switched to the current V6 Turbo-Hybrids from 2014 onwards.

11-Chevrolet Made One Of The Worst Ever V8s

For a company that is perhaps one of the most synonymous with V8 engines, it might be a surprise to some that they actually made one of the worst V8s in history. But Chevrolet did. The Camaro of the 1980s featured a measly 143-hp V8 that went against the entire ethos of the muscle car which it powered.

10-The Bank Angle Is Important

A lot of you might actually be wondering why the angle of the bank in an engine is important. Well, it is crucial to ironing out vibrations and noise and allowing the engine to run smoothly. And if your car has a V8 engine it is more than likely that it will feature a 90-degree bank angle.

9-Ferrari Had The Smallest V8

Ferrari is no stranger to innovation. They’ve produced some great cars over the years, and have dominated motorsport as well, with their F1 run from 1999 – 2004 unprecedented. But they also produced perhaps the smallest V8 ever. A 2.0-liter V8 that appeared in several cars in the 1970s, the turbo variant pumping out a great 251 hp.

8-They Are Associated Heavily With NASCAR

We were obviously going to mention NASCAR. It’s one of the biggest racing series in the world, although it’s questionable if it is America’s favorite, given the rise of IndyCar in recent years. It started off when moonshine runners wanted to race their outlawed V8’s and since then, V8s have been the main power source for a NASCAR.

7-The Distinctive Sound

It’s a bit of a subjective matter, the sound of an engine. There will be engines out there that some like and engines that others don’t. But you can’t deny that the V8 engine has one of the most unique sounds of any engine, with a loud, burbly noise that anybody will recognize. A very unique soundtrack.

6-Australia Had A Whole V8 Racing Series

Whilst they are no longer powered by V8 engines, the Virgin Australian Supercars series still provides quite a spectacle. And for many years, it was called the V8 Supercars series with the big touring cars all being powered by mighty V8s. It is very much worth a watch if you like a bit of ‘tin-top’ racing action.

5-Suzuki Tried To Make A Minute V8

We have looked at the minute V8 that Ferrari made in the 1970s, but did you know Suzuki nearly made one smaller? They debuted the C2 concept in 1997 which was, in effect, a more stylish Cappuccino. A twin-turbo V8 of just 1.6 liters would have powered the car had it gone into production.

4-Double Them, You Get A V16

A V16 engine is a very, very rare beast. And it is as simple as it sounds. You simply take two V8 engines, mash them together, and boom! A mighty V16 is born. The Johnny English Reborn film starring Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) is famous for featuring a Rolls Royce that is powered by a V16 engine.

3-TVR Made A Comeback With A V8 Engine

TVR is one of Britain’s most famous car companies that died an unfair death some years ago. Whilst their cars could be unreliable, they did make some good machines – and they were gorgeous cars. The TVR Griffith was their comeback machine and it was powered by a mighty 5.0 liter Mustang V8 with 500 hp!

2-Different Engine Blocks Are Available

Ah, the good old engine block difference. Essentially, you have two options when getting blocks for a V8: the small block or the big block. The more power displacement, the likelier that you have a big block engine, which in turn is not likely to be at that 90-degree angle due to their size.

1-V8s Are Now Mostly Seen As “Archaic”

This should not be a massive surprise to people, but no less something that is worth mentioning. Half the reason F1 ditched the V8 was that manufacturers wanted to pursue more eco-friendly options. Hence the emergence of Formula E, and why series such as IndyCar and even rallying are heading to hybrid power in the near future.

Via : Hotcars

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When Illustration Meets Fire by Luigi