Thursday, March 29, 2012

Odd Engineering - The Lanchester Twin

Designed c.1899 by one of the all-time great automotive engineers, Frederick Lanchester, the 4000cc horizontally-opposed twin cylinder had dual connecting rods per cylinder and dual counter-rotating crankshafts, which were joined by bevel gearing.  Just as it was designed to do, the unusual configuration provided smooth running - something that was previously considered unattainable in the early days of the internal combustion engine.

dual, counter-rotating crankshafts per cylinder
Another nearly unbelievable technical feature of the engine was an efficient and reliable cam driven, single valve per cylinder layout.  It worked by way of a disc valve in the initially combined intake/exhaust manifold that opened and closed the correct upper tracts as required - it's difficult to describe with eloquence befitting of its elegant engineering.

Before the marque's sad decline into re-badging and eventual closure in 1955, it was known as a maker of some the highest quality and most expensive cars in the world - easily the match of Rolls Royce.

Incidentally, Lanchester was the first ever British car manufacturer and is still registered as an active, non trading company.  The Lanchester name is currently owned by Tata Motors, India.

detail of the single valve per cylinder layout
1910 Lanchester 10 Landaulet

No comments:

Post a Comment