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.