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« Another Biplane Racer At Reno 1970: Bill Warwick's Hot Canary | Main | Caption Contest #67 Winner(s) - Split Decision! »

Video: Building The World's Greatest Engine - The Rolls Royce Merlin

 There's really no way to decide what the world's greatest engine really is, but the Rolls Royce Merlin has to be in the running. When you consider the importance this engine had (and its U.S. built counterpart, the Packard V-1650) in being a critical element of winning World War II, you might be able to give it that title right there. But this engine has also proven itself as an amazing race engine, used in hydroplane boats from the late 40's til the 70's, and of course as the powerplant for countless Unlimited race aircraft since WWII... like Strega, the P-51 that's won the last three years at Reno. The versatility and strength of the Merlin is legendary.

 I think there's a fair chance that most of us would be likely to consider it the world's greatest engine just based on its sound alone. There's nothing better than the sound of a Merlin! And that's coming from a radial engine fanatic!

 But the legacy of powering aircraft like the Supermarine Spitfire, de Havilland Mosquito, Avro Lancaster and the North American P-51 is really what made the Merlin a superstar. This video, while not fast paced and exciting, is an amazing look at the dedicated craftsmen that made the Merlin a reality. It's fascinating to see the amount of hand labor that went into each engine. I also find it extremely interesting that the people that engineered and built this engine (the British), seemed to lose their way in the years after the war. To go from the accomplishments represented in the Merlin and wind up where they are today is hard to imagine. But then, America is on a similar path, from Apollo to where we are now... what is wrong with us all? No need to answer that, it's the frailty of the human condition, and it's in all of us.

 Regardless, this was Britain's time to shine... and shine they did.


(btw, this video is particularly relevant with the Red Tails film currently in theaters, as well as the news that the Reno Air Races have set the course to return in 2012, and with the recent video of the de Havilland Mosquito being restored in New Zealand. The Rolls Royce Merlin is an engine that may never die!) 


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Reader Comments (2)

Strega has won the last four years BTW. '08-'11

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMX304

MX304- was there a declared winner for '11? I guess I hadn't really given it any thought... and the Strega website only shows championships for '08-'10, so that's why I said three. You may very well be right tho -

January 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMartt (admin)

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