I’ve always loved internal combustion engines, anything that powers and moves something else is fascinating. These days, electric motors are getting into the act but they don’t hold the same appeal, at least not for me. I like cars, but there’s often so much sheet metal and plastic covering up the engine we lose sight of the mechanical drive system and that’s what is so cool about motorcycles. The engine is out there in plain sight or can be with the removal of a few screws or dzus fasteners.
Because I mentioned diesel motorcycles yesterday it got me thinking about engines in general and the huge variety we see just today, let alone all of the variations over the past years. Motorcycles can have anywhere from 1 to 8 cylinders with the possible exception of 7. Cars go right on up to 16 cylinders, gotta love that. And then there’s airplanes. I was at Oshkosh some years ago and I still think one of the most beautiful mechanical devices anywhere is an old biplane with a big radial engine out in front. Some WWII fighters, like the Corsair, had radials, slightly covered with a cowling but still very visible. Of course others, like the P51 had the big Allison and Merlin V12’s.
V12’s have their own mystique. I once owned a 72 Jaguar E Type. The main reason I bought it, besides the great lines of the car itself, was the opportunity to work on that 12 cylinder engine and listen to it run. What a beauty!
Then there are the guys in their workshops that start thinking, “What if ..?” and you see big Allison V12’s mounted in cars or motorcycle engines in airplanes or car engines in motorcycles, all it takes is a wrench, a welder and imagination.
I guess that’s why I don’t get this “tuner” craze where they get too carried away with suicide doors and playstations in the console and audio output that will make your ears bleed. It’s the engines, guys, … the engines!