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Rolls Royce Merlin Engine

Considered a British Icon, the Merlin was one of the most successful aircraft engines of the World War II era, and the V-1650 is quite possibly the most advanced piston engine ever mass produced. Many say it was a primary contributor to allied victory in the war.

At the beginning of 1940, the US was negotiating with the Ford Motor Company to manufacture 9,000 Rolls-Royce liquid-cooled engines for the US and Great Britain. When Henry Ford stated that he would only manufacture for US defense, not for Britain, the $130,000,000 contract was awarded to the Packard Motor Car Company. It was widely believed that Packard actually produced a superior engine to Rolls-Royce themselves.


Production ceased in 1950 after almost 150,000 engines had been delivered, the later variants being used for airliners and military transport aircraft. Merlin engines still fly over England today as part of the Royal Air Force Services' Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. Merlins installed in highly modified P-51 Mustangs are capable of producing more than 3500 HP while operating at 150 inches of Manifold Pressure, resulting in the fastest piston powered aircraft in aviation history.

Built under license in the US by the Packard Motor Company, the Merlin family of engines powered to victory such legendary aircraft as the North American P-51 Mustang, Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane, and the de Havilland Mosquito.

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