Home Engines Strange But True: The Weirdest Engines In Automotive History

Strange But True: The Weirdest Engines In Automotive History

Cameron Eittreim April 6, 2023

Photo Credit: Inside Line

Bugatti W-16

The Bugatti W-16 engine is a powerful and unique engine used in the Bugatti Veyron and Chiron hypercars. What sets this engine apart from others is its W-shape, which means it has 16 cylinders arranged in four banks of four cylinders each. This design allows the engine to produce an incredible amount of power, up to 1,500 horsepower in some versions. The engine had quad turbochargers, direct injection, and variable valve timing (via Bugatti).

Photo Credit: Inside Line

The engine is considered one of the most powerful and advanced production engines in the world and has contributed to Bugatti’s reputation as a leader in performance cars. Although there have been other great engines that came out of the Bugatti factory, this engine above is one of the best. The sheer energy and precision that went into the design of the engine are above the craftmanship of other cars from the same era.

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Cadillac V8-6-4 Engine

The Cadillac V8-6-4 engine is a unique engine from 1980. With this engine, the driver could switch between using all eight cylinders, six cylinders, or only four cylinders depending on driving conditions. As needed, cylinders were deactivated or reactivated through a complex computer system. Several drivers reported that the engine performed poorly and was unreliable, and the system was plagued with issues (via Hemmings).

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Despite its flaws, the V8-6-4 engine remains an interesting piece of automotive history, as one of the first attempts at creating a variable displacement engine. GM added fuel management to the V8 engine lineup in 2007.

Photo Credit: Patrick Motor Sports

Porsche Fuhrmann

As one of Porsche’s first air-cooled boxer engines, the Porsche Fuhrmann engine, also known as the Porsche Type 547 engine, has played a significant role in its development. Porsche engineer Ernst Fuhrmann oversaw its development and powered the iconic Porsche 550 Spyder and 356 Carrera. What made the Fuhrmann engine unique was its advanced design and technology, which included four camshafts and two spark plugs per cylinder (via Porsche).

Photo Credit: Patrick Motor Sports

This allowed the engine to produce more power, rev higher, and run smoother than previous air-cooled boxer engines. The Fuhrmann engine is reliable and durable. The simple design of the engine is what makes it special. It was a popular choice among sports car enthusiasts and racers. The Type 547 engine set the foundation for the air-cooled Porsche engine design. The engine design continued to evolve and improve over the years.

Photo Credit: Edmunds

Tucker Type 335

The Tucker 334 engine was different than any other engine from the period. It incorporated a direct drive torque converter, which eliminated the need for a traditional transmission. A torque converter transmits the engine’s power directly to the rear wheels. The design allowed the car to start and accelerate smoothly without the need for shifting gears (via Motor Trend).

Photo Credit: Automobile

There are only a few prototypes in existence. Nevertheless, the Tucker 334 engine remains an interesting piece of automotive history. It showcased the innovative thinking and technology of its time. There are only a few prototypes of this engine yet it was still a notable addition to the market. The technology that went into the engine is the stuff of legends and you seldom see it now.

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