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V4 engines, best separately

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V4 engines are not the most common engines in the classic car world. They are harder to make and more complex than in-line engines. Their advantage? That is their lack of length.

There were not many manufacturers that made V4 blocks

But they are all interesting. Lancia debuted with the Lambda in 1922. It was an aluminum pushrod block engine. The cylinder capacity was between 2.1 and 2.6L, with power ratings ranging from 49-69 hp. The block was adapted over the years and came to live in many different Lancias: the Artena, Augusta, Aprilia, Ardea and Appia. The final version of the Lancia V4 was used in 1963 in the beautiful Fulvia. The V4 has been radically revised and has a block angle of only 20 °. This allowed the use of a cylinder head overlapping the two rows. It was a DOHCV engine with only two camshafts - one operating the exhaust valves, one the intake.


The Ford V4 engines

If he was from England, then it was the Essex V4 and he was made in Dagenham between 1965-1977. But the German version from Cologne was introduced in 1962 and was conceived in the USA. The Essex version had headers according to the Heron principle. The interchangeability of parts between the German and British Ford V4s is minimal.

The idea was to build compactly in the usual cylinder capacity classes. The Ford V4 blocks were available as 1200, 1300, 1500, 1700 and 2000 cc blocks. V4 blocks are more complex and difficult to make than in-line engines. The profit is in the short construction length. That turned out to be particularly good for front-wheel drivers.

The block angle of the four-cylinder was 60 degrees and the engine was equipped with a balance shaft

The motor can turned out to be very versatile. Ford V4s ended up as drivers of pumps, generators, agricultural aggregates and snowmobiles. At one point the German army replaced the two-stroke three-cylinder Munga Jeeps with Ford V4 blocks. For rally purposes, the V4s were tuned to around 150 hp in the 1900 cc version. Saab made it all the way with a 240 hp turbo version. Marcos used the Essex V4 in the Marcos 2 liter. The Matra 530 also had a V4, which was mounted midship.

But in the beginning

Initially, the V4 engine was designed by Ford for a new entry-level compact car intended for the American market, the Ford “Cardinal”. This eventually developed into the Taunus 12m P4. Ford abandoned the “Cardinal” project and instead built the Ford Falcon for North America. The brand then looked for other uses for the V4 engine, which was initially tested in the Saab 96. So Ford bought several Saab 96s to test the blocks and eventually sold the cars back to Saab with the V4 engines in them. Saab tested the V4s on their Trollhättan test track and after some adjustments found them good enough to replace the three-cylinder two-strokes in-house.

The Ford V4 was used in-house in Taunus, Consul, Capri and Transit.

The Ford V4 was replaced by the Pinto engine. And there has been a lot to do about the Ford Pinto. We recently reported this on: Ford Pinto: cheap is expensive

Half a V8

To the idea, the V4 looks like an American half V8. In terms of weight too. The rather thirsty engine had a plastic timing gear that provided quiet running but not eternal life. There were also complaints about leaking head gaskets, valve guides and balancer shaft bearings. The V4 with its torque-rich character had a characteristic, somewhat 'raw' running and its engine did not sound bad.

ZAZ, a kind of Russian VW

The last manufacturer of V4-powered cars was ZAZ (Zaporizhia). ZAZ was the most important car manufacturer in Ukraine during the Soviet era, starting in 1960. Their most famous product was the Zaporozhets, the equivalent of the communist era of the VW Beetle. Putin seems to have another one. The Russian was equipped with a 90-degree, air-cooled V4. The 90-degree block angle made the Russian much more service-friendly than the Beetle. He needed more attention under the hood than the beetle.

Also interesting: Back in the USSR: Russian classics

V4 blocks in automobile construction are therefore rare. In the motorcycle world they are excited. But that is an other story.

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V4 packed in a Lancia
V4 in a Taunus 12M

The Saab V4

5 Comments

Give a reaction
  1. In the article I miss some other British fords with V mptoren
    were equipped. The Ford Corsair, the Zephyr and the Zodiac.

  2. As a 15 year old I learned to drive the old Transit T1 car.
    The striking sound of that V-4 will never go out of my memory. Magnificent!

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