Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ferrari story - V6 Engines - Part One

It is well-known to the enthusiasts that the V6 Ferrari engines belong to the various "families" which began with the 156 used in the 1957 F.2. However, a more thorough research, stimulated by information received from the late lamented Aurelio as early as 1960, has enabled us to bring to light a much earlier project regarding a family of V6 engines with an angle of 1200 dating back to the beginning of 1950.
Ferrari pictures Ferrari wallpapers 1024x768

The Forerunners

The ability of the Ferrari engineers is confirmed by the fact that three engines built on the same basis but having different cylinder capacities were planned. In keeping with the custom of the period, the three engines were distinguished by the representative number of the unit cylinder capacity and denominated 183, 333 and 415 respectively. After the basic model had been planned and the other two variations outlined, no further work was done on this line of engines since Ferrari was already heavily involved firstly with the 12-cylinder and after with the 4-cylinder in-line engines. It was probably also the extraordinary success of the 4-cylinder 500 which shelved the research into a different project for the 1954 F.1. according to the recollections of some of the engineers of the period it was also due to the distraction caused by the bi cylindrical model which, although actually built, meet with very little success.
Whatever happened, the specifications of the three engines remain. The 183 had a bore and stroke of 60x40 mm, unit cylinder capacity of 182.65 cc., giving a total of 1095.9 cc; the 333 had a bore and stroke of 80x60 mm, a unit cylinder capacity of 331.75 cc., giving a total of 1990.51 cc.; the 415 had a bore and stroke of 85x73.55 mm, a unit cylinder capacity of 415.94 cc., giving a total of 2495.64 cc.
As can be seen the "family" included engines having the "classic" capacities of the time: 1100, 2000 and 2500 with probable ambitions towards GT and high performance production as well as the possibility of utilizing the biggest of the three for the future new
Formula 1.
The length of the connecting rods is also interesting; a 125 mm connecting " rod was used for the 183 while for the 333, which had a stroke of only 66 mm, the length increased to an amazing 142 mm, which was equal to those used in the big V12 engines, whose strokes ranged from 68 mm for the 275 to 74.5 mm for the 375 plus. A shorter connecting rod was used in the 415 (129 mm) despite the fact that the stroke had risen to 73.3 mm. Those who know how the Ferrari engineers work will already have guessed that other combinations of bores and strokes would have been possible, which could have given rise to new different models. So we arrive at that winter between 1955 and '56 when, as Ferrari himself describes in his books, speaking to his son Dino, who was already very ill, the subject of the V6 was once again brought up. With the go-ahead for the realization of the engine having been given and entrusted to Vittorio Jano (once again with Ferrari after working with Lancia) it was natural to name the project after the person who had advocated its choice. So the car with the V6 engine was called Dino.

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