Thursday Trivia

Thirsday Trivia Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars! This week’s question: What company introduced the first production V4 engine, and in what year did they do so? If you think you know the answer, make the jump and see if you are correct. Lancia LamdaWhile the V-formation has taken the dominant position among six, eight, and twelve-cylinder engines, most fours these days eschew that for a simple inline layout. Why adopt a V format? Well, there are a number of benefits, including relatively compact design, and lower stress on the crankshaft. Depending on the number of cylinders and the angle of their separation, a V-format engine can also be extremely well balanced, offering even firing of the cylinders. A V12 is just that, actually being two inline sixes connected by a common crank. The typical angles for V-form engines are 60° for V6s, 90° for V8s, however as Volkswagen has proven with their VR engines, the separation can be as little as 10.5°. Those engines are perhaps more like scrunched up inlines, but they do require far more complicated head designs than a traditional inline engine. Their extremely compact design makes up for this and that its perhaps why the first V4 engine was designed this way. From

Lancia was the first to debut a V4 in a production car, with the Lambda in 1922.  It was an aluminum-block engine (very rare for the time) with pushrod actuation of the valvetrain.  Displacement varied between 2.1 and 2.6L, with power outputs ranging from 49bhp to 69bhp, which were impressive outputs for the displacement at the time.

Lancia continued to advance the V4 engine up until the company’s purchase by Fiat in the late 1960s. Other makers that have tested the V4 waters include companies like Ford, who offered both the British Essex V4 and the German Taunus mill. The latter engine was used in the original mid-engine Mustang concept car, and in a number of Saab models well into the ’70s. Other’s include Ukrainian maker ZAZ who, in the ’60s, dropped small v4s into their Zaporozhets cars, and Porsche whose 919 Hybrid LeMans car sports a turbo V4. Image: Wikipedia

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