cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Grace
Hagerty Employee

9 of the world’s greatest engine designers

Not all engine designers get the credit they deserve, but occasionally their names carry as much weight as the storied badges on the trunk lid or hood. In no particular order, here’s our pick of legends behind some of the greatest engines of all time.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/people/9-of-the-worlds-greatest-engine-designers/

100 REPLIES 100
hyperv6
Engineer

Ed Cole the father of the small block Chevy should be at the top of the list here. 

It is the single engine that changed the entire industry and even our sports and hobbies. 

The light castings, valve train and 1 HP per cubic inch were all milestones that today are still being used.

 

While today’s Chevy engine is different than the 55 V8 it still holds to the same engineering and it shows it is still relevant 65 years later. 

 

Mark455SD
Passenger

I 100% agree
jd426
New Driver

Greatest engine ever has to be the Chrysler Hemi.
drm101
Detailer

Harry Miller/Offenhauser/Goossen???? I agree with Ed Cole as well. What's more prolific than the SBC and no engine won more races than the Offy.

hearsedriver
Intermediate Driver

if you are going to get brand specific, what about the designer of the hemi? you know, the engine that put the ford's and chevy's on the trailer when used at Nascar? original design in the early 50's, still around now. got one in my ram 4x4

Flashman
Technician

I think you mean WWII in the Columbo story.

OldRoad
Instructor

How bout the mighty FE 427 Side Oiler that dominated NASCAR and IMSA and not least the BOSS 429 that won it's way into outlaw elimination from NASCAR in the 70s. The Side Oiler's domination in NHRA Super Stock (Thunder Bolts) should not be forgotten either.

TonyT
Instructor

Alphonse Beau de Rochas' design started the ball rolling, and Nicolaus Otto made the four-stroke engine feasible. Those two should be at the top of any list regarding great engine designers.

dchurch
Passenger

The Ford flathead V-8 should be listed. It introduced a mass produced affordable and good performing V-8 engine. The flathead was produced for over 20 years and the V-8 itself is still with us.

markoso
Passenger

Ford's BDA is ~ 1600cc, BDG is the 2 litre. Worth mentioning Lampredi's fiat twin cam that was used for roughly 30yrs, including powering numerous World Rally Championship conquering 124s, 131s, 037s & integrales.

pawl7295
New Driver

Ed Cole also did the 1949 Cadillac 331 V8 high compression engine. How about Owen Nacker who designed the Cadillac 1930 V-16 engine (hydraulic lifters),  Alanson Brush who did engines with Olds, Buick, Cadillac (Leland), Oakland (Pontiac), Welch, Brush, Scripps-Booth

RallyeRalph
Intermediate Driver

For originality, Felix Wankel should be included.

Armand51
New Driver

Where's the Rover V8, originally sourced from Buick?

JHynes
Pit Crew

Edward Turner, how can you leave that genius off the list? Ariel "Squariel", Triumph Speed Twin (and many more legendary motorcycles), Swiss watch beautiful Daimler Hemis in 2.5 and 4.5 forms,  and more. 

 

 

rluciano
New Driver

I’d like to see Marc Birkigt, engineer of Hispano-Suiza fame on the list. My 1925 H6B’s engine impresses me every time I drive it.

kcshelby
Intermediate Driver

IMHO, while Italy is certainly very well represented by Colombo and Lampredi, both Francesco De Virgilio and Vittorio Jano deserve some mention, as well.

Ricardo
Passenger

No Ernst Fuhrmann, creator of the Porsche 4 cam race motor that swept all before it for more than 10 years under 2 liter?

bechap
Pit Crew

My goodness! How can you outdo the designer of the small block Chevrolet (original 265) that morphed into so many upgrades? 283 327 400 etc. by far, the most popular engine in building hot rods & custom cars today in America. Even Ford copied the design with their 289. I';d like to know who that designer was.

samholman
New Driver

Where is Jano?

Storminwgfp
New Driver

I guess you only looked overseas for greatness? Not one American could make your cut? Maybe the guy behind the small block chevy? Maybe the guy behind the LS? The Northstar? Lousy list, at best......

warwick52
Passenger

What about Don Sullivan  the designer of the Ford Flat head?

Also, Charles (Boss)  Kettering at GM.   

 

joefo
Pit Crew

The article was titled 9 of the greatest, not the 9 greatest. I enjoyed this historic perspective on the heart of our passion, internal combustion.

hahnmgh63
New Driver

How about Ed Cole and the Small Block Chevrolet? And Erwin Leo Himmel and the Audi V8 3.6/4.2?

Studenorton
Instructor

Leo Goossen:    Miller,  Offenhauser, Novi,  Meyer-Drake. 

Mickey
Passenger

I’d suggest that the late Don Sullivan of Ford flathead V8 fame be included in this discussion.

bongiovannit
Passenger

The best engine ever designed was the small block Chevy which was not mentioned, I may cancel my insurance!

Yarbles
New Driver

Surely William Heynes of Jaguar XK fame should be on this list

miniboB
Passenger

but who designed my honda 2k engine? Awsome. And tough as nails!

snjbuu
New Driver

Wally hassan , the father of the famous Jaguar XK engine and the V12. When introduced in 1948 , the Xk engine came as a bomb into the automotive world. powerful and affordable. The engine dominated Le Mans in the fifties. Also his V12 had a Le Mans victory. Ironically the idea of the XK engine came during WW2 when Wally was a fire watcher on the roof of the Jaguar factory to warn for German attacks. Most of the time he had nothing to do and designed, on paper, the famous engine.

RonCopsetta
New Driver

Charles Knight - Sleeve Valve Engine

Ed_Turbo
Pit Crew

I think this article is getting people confused and a little tricky. They are not talking about engines in itself, but variations of engines that designers created, for the most part, motorsports (I think). Now there needs to be a follow up article on the greatest engines ever invented.

bmews
New Driver

Chrysler's iconic 331 c.i. hemi, from its early victories in the Mexican road race to its domination (in hugely modified forms) on U.S. drag strips for more than a decade.   It powered America's first muscle car in the original 1955 C-300.

I believe it was the first American engine to make one h.p per c.i. 

Have no idea who gets design credit here...but someone here can tell me.

BB66Vett
Pit Crew

Great story.  You missed Ed Cole and the over 100 million small block Chevys built, honored as one of the 10 Best Engines of the 20th Century by automotive magazine Ward's AutoWorld.

 

motorsledge
Intermediate Driver

Duntov, of course!

96c4corvette
Pit Crew

Chevy small block should of made the list 

LarryShive
Passenger

A few years ago Hagerty had a detailed article praising the Studebaker 289 V8 above GM and Ford.  Remember?  I am still running some of these!

WESUDALE
Pit Crew

Ford for the 1932 V8 The first one cast in one piece for mass production and was in production through 1953 and still a favorite among hot rodders

Ian54
Passenger

As important, particularly to the British, as Bill Blydenstein was Harry Weslake. Weslake was involved in the design of just about every Jaguar engine up to the V12 but also designed engines for speedway bikes and F1. Anyone who enjoyed Dan Gurney’s All American Racing Eagle built in the late 60’s has seen what might just have been Harry Weslake’s opus.

Retrogreg
Passenger

Just change the title to read "Some Great Engine Designers" and they add to the list in future newsletters.  Personally I would like to see the specific technical characteristic explained that differentiates and identifies their design success.

Lightning1
Detailer

These low volume engines that were designed to do a very specific limited task will be forgotten long before the Flathead Ford, Small Block Chevy and Aluminum Buick. Thats why these names haven't been front and center in Automotive History.

gblack
Passenger

Alex von Falkenhausen -  "Nelson Piquet driving a Brabham-BMW BT52 became the first Formula One world champion to use a turbo engine, . . . /using AVF's / 4-cylinder engine block from 1962, the racing cylinder head and his turbocharger idea, /which allowed BMW to achieve / the absolute summit of motor sport."

cyclemikey
Intermediate Driver

Come on, Hagerty - you really thought that this list, by Eurosnobs and for Eurosnobs, was going to fly here? You're getting roasted, and deservedly so. 

MrKnowItAll
Detailer

😴 When does the story starts about great engine designers? We’ve read the side blurb about Eurocentric go-fast.

MiragePro
New Driver

Lets not forget Léon Levavasseur who is created and patented  the V8 engine.

bspaulding
New Driver

Ford flathead?  Kettering??

bspaulding
New Driver

Ford flathead?  Kettering??

Chachi
New Driver

For "most revolutionary" I'd suggest Fabio Taglioni whose early (1950s & 60s) 250cc bevel drive, OHC motorcycle engines were out performing contemporary 500 cc units and then the introduction of desmodromic valve trains in production motors, and then the awesome Ducati v-twins, first with bevel drive cams and later with belt drives ("Rubber bands? that'll never work!")

Fordt
New Driver

Kettering made a pretty nice engine....at least here in the USA we kids of the 60’s-80’s can appreciate our hot rod forefather....

Puddintane
New Driver

Are you kidding me? No Ulrich Baretzky? GET OUT OF TOWN