The first Marmon V-16 engine was tested

Friday 4th November 1927

The first Marmon V-16 engine was tested. While the Marmon 16 was not the first V16-powered vehicle—the Cadillac V-16 which was developed with the help of an ex-Marmon engineer was introduced a year earlier—it was the more powerful and visually appealing model between the two. Competition would remain between these two models, as these are essentially the only two true V16 production passenger cars ever to make it to market.

Marmon’s V16 was a step above the Cadillac’s in terms of engineering, which was recognized by the Society of Automotive Engineers’ when they awarded their annual design award to Marmon instead of Cadillac. Displacing 491 CUI (8.0L), the V16 was of an overhead valve construction, and featured a then-high compression ratio of 6.00:1 producing a total of 200hp, second only to Duesenberg’s claimed 265hp. Almost everything was cast in aluminum in the engine, including the block, cylinder heads, oil pan, and valve covers, which means the engine weighed a featherweight 930lbs. To further strengthen the engine, the engineers utilized pressed-in steel cylinder sleeves, a practice not unfamiliar to today’s engineers.

To slide the large engine under the slim silhouette Marmon wanted for their ultimate car, the cylinder banks were set at 45-degrees, about half the angle modern V8’s are set at. Sadly, the Marmon 16 came at exactly the wrong time, with the depression wiping out the market for outlandishly opulent vehicles, even with those who could still afford them. With under 400 vehicles produced—and potentially a few more engines than cars—the Marmon Motor Company ceased production in 1933.

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