Hooniverse Asks: Which engine are you most sad to see fade away?

The naturally aspirated V12 engine from Aston Martin is a large lump that I’m rather fond of. It’s an aging hulk of a powerplant that lies a bit about its true size. Listed at 6.0-liters, the 5.9-liter unit generates strong power figures and tremendous noise. It’s final song is being sung under the hood of the car in the photo above, which is a Vanquish S. There it’s producing 580 horsepower, has a redline around 7,000 rpm, and when you see the tach needle sweep past 3,500 rpm your ears are in for a true treat.
This engine is going away in favor of slightly smaller versions that are aided by forced induction. The power will be greater, but the noise is not the same.
Which engine out there do you miss? Which current engine is in a production vehicle but its time is limited and you lament this fact?

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63 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: Which engine are you most sad to see fade away?”

    1. Eric Miller Avatar
      Eric Miller

      I know all about their inherent flaws, but the magic spinning-triangle motors really are magic to drive!

      1. Harry Callahan Avatar
        Harry Callahan

        I owned a gen1 RX7 with 5sp manual. That was a hoot!

        1. Rover 1 Avatar
          Rover 1

          But was just as fast or faster?
          In which case , what’s the problem?

          1. Harry Callahan Avatar
            Harry Callahan

            For a car so much smaller and lighter, one would expect a fuel economy bonus…but NO…..rotaries like their free flowing petrochemicals….!

  1. GTXcellent Avatar

    First thought was Nailhead, but the more I thought…Fireball!
    Who wouldn’t rock a new Enclave with a straight 8?

    1. Harry Callahan Avatar
      Harry Callahan

      It appears sir, ….you like your engines with an emphasis torque production. Imagine those with forced induction!

    2. Tiller188 Avatar

      Ooh, straight-8…
      Random side thought, but the fan in that image is bugging me. Does that look like it’s missing a few blades, or am I missing something? Could that have actually been like that and somehow used as a balancer? Maybe this image is just screwy?

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        Good point. There are 4 showing, and while you often have the blades unevenly spaced on a fan to avoid creating a harmonic resonance I think this is taking things too far!

  2. nanoop Avatar

    The flat six is over. The flat four turbo will be replaced by something electric, I guess.

    1. Alff Avatar

      I’ve been living with a flat four turbo for about 8 years. The only thing that will make me lament the death of pancakes is if I ever do build that Subie-powered 914 I’ve been dreaming of. Otherwise, good riddance to a configuration that challenges basic maintenance. I also wouldn’t mourn the end of the transverse-mounted V6.

  3. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

    The F136. From the 3.6 5V version in the 1999 360 to the 4.7 crossplane-crank still around in the 2018 Granturismo, it’s been the archetypal “Italian V8 noise” for my generation.
    On the positive side, it’s the first genuinely reliable Ferrari/Maserati engine in a long time (maybe ever), making the cars it graces much more accessible propositions on the used market, which in turn should ensure its presence on the road long after production ends.

    1. Harry Callahan Avatar
      Harry Callahan

      –Gotta love mounting the alternator under the intake…almost as wacky as Lexus mounting the starter in the rear of the valley on the 4.0 V8s on LS400s. Serviceability? forgettaboutit

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        But those parts will last the lifetime* of the engine!
        * Lifetime – warranty period plus a month.

      2. salguod Avatar

        The starter on my RSX is right on the front of the engine. It is theoretically reachable from below, but practically the only way to change it is to remove the intake and do it from above.

  4. jeepjeff Avatar

    Gonna be no surprises here. The AMC Straight Six. There are still plenty around, and parts are easy to find, but I’m sad they aren’t making them anymore. That goes for all the Detroit sixes, really, but the AMC is my favorite.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      Eh. The 258 six in my Dad’s ’75 Pacer was a coarse and gutless old groaner. AMC’s sixes didn’t get genuinely good until the 1987 4.0 in Jeeps.

      1. jeepjeff Avatar

        I didn’t say it was a rational stance. I got to drive a 232+3 on the floor equipped CJ5 a number of years back. It was the very opposite of fast and refined, but it was ridiculously fun.
        Admittedly, my favorite version of the engine is the 4.0L with coil-on-plug ignition (the last 6 or so model years), but part of what I like about it is the ’60s bottom end mated with the best 90s EFI that could be retrofitted to such a machine. And without all those wheezy early AMC sixes, the 4.0L wouldn’t be the same wonderful frankenstein.

    2. outback_ute Avatar

      I was on the fence about whether to nominate the Ford straight six, particularly in the final 4.0 DOHC form where it can rev a bit, but also the SOHC or even the old 4.1 crossflow are good as daily-driver torque-focused haulers.
      That was tempered by the ‘stay of execution’ around 10 years ago when Ford dropped plans to replace it with the 3.7 V6; keeping the old straight six was an indelible sign that the Falcon did not have a future.

      1. Troggy Avatar

        Came here to say this. A truly effortless engine, it did everything you wanted without going over 2,000RPM, Rev it any higher, it just made more noise and vibration that threatened to punch six neat holes through the bonnet. (’93 Fairmont, not sure what gen of engine that is).
        I miss that car, even V8’s don’t cruise with such little effort.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          A 93 Fairmont will have the 4.0 sohc engine, same as in my ute.

    3. Zentropy Avatar

      Completely agree. I’ve worked on SO MANY AMC sixes. Cut my gearhead teeth on my mother’s Concord wagon, moved on to multiple Spirit hatchbacks (including a 1980 GT in which I admittedly eventually installed a 360 V8), and I still sincerely miss my ’77 CJ-7. The 258 was a great engine hampered by the power-smothering emissions systems of the time. Free them up with a Clifford intake and headers, trash the useless piping, and you have a really smooth and torquey mill.

  5. alex Avatar

    THE VW VR-6.
    Slap two together, get a 12 cyl!!
    On its own, a Tunable little beast.
    Great sounding mechanicals, too.

  6. discontinuuity Avatar

    Two-stroke engines are rapidly disappearing from motorcycles, snowmobiles, and even weed whackers due to emissions laws. I know that four-strokes are objectively better in most ways, but I really enjoy the unique sound and power delivery of two-strokes.

    1. Harry Callahan Avatar
      Harry Callahan

      I will never miss fuel/oil mixing or fouled spark plugs.

    2. nanoop Avatar

      If they only delivered power… The 50cc scooters here are limited to 45kph since a couple of years, whereas the regular city speed is 50kph. They make them as unattractive as possible so they don’t have to make them outright illegal.

    3. Sjalabais Avatar

      The ringdingding can get pretty angry, too:

    4. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      Agreed. Even ordinary 2-strokes gave the aural impression of a grand prix racer.

      1. Rover 1 Avatar
        Rover 1

        If you like that, try riding a Yamaha RD/RZ 500. The closest thing to a jet engine I have experienced. No vibration, no engine braking and LOTS of power.

        or for a longer one at the local racetrack

      2. outback_ute Avatar

        I saw a youtube vid of a two stroke bike that did 20,000 rpm, now that sounded like an F1 car! Funny thing was because it was only a 250 it wasn’t very fast.

    5. Vairship Avatar

      The sound is nice, and the power is quite surprising. They’re just a little big: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzzsIHXGbrY

      1. casho2015 Avatar


        1. Vairship Avatar

          Big ship diesels. They’re often two-strokes that run at the same RPM as the propeller (around 100 RPM) so you don’t need a gearbox. Very efficient, but very big: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZT0yZUL3qU

  7. Harry Callahan Avatar
    Harry Callahan

    it would be easy to get misty-eyed if new engines weren’t so good…but let’s face it, enthusiasts have almost endless great options these days. I am not shedding any tears over obsolete technologies. Who weeps over bygone carburetors?—people who never had to deal with them! Who misses 9 mpg BBCs? Exxon.

    1. mdharrell Avatar
      1. Harry Callahan Avatar
        Harry Callahan

        Such a romantic!

  8. Alff Avatar

    While I consider the death of rotary a victory for logic, reason and physics I will miss their willingness to spin.

  9. Borkwagen Avatar

    Together as a somewhat-related family, the Yamaha-tuned car engine. Whether the SHO V6/8, the Volvo V8, or the performance-headed Toyota inline four (3S-GE/GTE, 2ZZ-GE), their presence is sorely missed.

  10. tonyola Avatar

    Naturally-aspirated Honda VTEC fours. They’re all going turbo.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      This is the sort of engine that’s least mourned but will be most missed, a high revving four in a small-ish car. It’s not simply that engines are going away but a specific type of car, one still light enough for a NA four cylinder to make it fun. Europe and Japan used to have lots of cars that fit this bill from the 50s to early 2000s – RWD ford escorts, BMW 2002/E30, Alfa Giulietta/75, Toyota MR2, AE86, Honda Civic, CRX and Integra, Peugeot and VW GTis, Renaultsport Clio, etc. etc. It seems all that’s left is toyota 86 and MX5. An entire flavour of very relevant enthusiast motoing is disappearing and people aren’t noticing because they’re wailing the death of V12 or V8s they’ll likely never own anyway.

      1. tonyola Avatar

        I owned a 1984 Honda CRX 1.5 5-speed for ten years – it was reliable and economical, yet it was also nonstop fun even going to the 7-Eleven for a Big Gulp.

      2. outback_ute Avatar

        One that is very hard to surpass in “go-kart for the road” goodness… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/727f5689ad7ccfe88f06e3d12fb58adf70f8f489259680fb1440ef1dee2a8511.jpg

        1. Rover 1 Avatar
          Rover 1

          Waiting for Sunbeammad.

        2. nanoop Avatar

          “Poor man’s 911” – including the lift-off-oversteer. A flat-four, iirc?

          1. outback_ute Avatar

            No straight four, laid over at 45 degrees. Yes lift off oversteer is there in extremis, easy to do in the wet, hard in the dry. Have done both on skidpan and track although the latter was with a very unusual suspension setup, about 5 degree negative camber on the front and running faster than many V8s on the day.
            There is a video out there of an historic racer at Bathurst who has a car spin in front of him at McPhillamy where he would be doing over 100 mph; jumping on the brakes when he was passing a car around the outside did result in oversteer believe it or not!

    2. Rudy™ Avatar

      Might add the V6 VTECs to that also. It may be that only the “truck” models of Honda get that engine anymore (and maybe the Honda Legend/Acura RL)…at least until the next generation where it could be a coin toss as to whether they get a V6 or another, perhaps larger turbo 4. It’s already gone from the Accord lineup for 2018. We had the 3.2L V6 in an older Acura TL that was a blast to drive. We’d still own it if a flood hadn’t decided to ruin it for us.
      I’m also wondering why they did away with VTEC on the turbo engines. Simplicity perhaps? A VTEC with turbo would be a *sick* combination IMHO.

  11. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    The old “big bang” Honda V4s. If Mr. Spock was going to design an engine using pure logic, he would build a 90-degree V4 with a 360-degree crank.

    1. Troggy Avatar

      Build one for a car, and I I will buy it. The sound of a 90-degree flat-crank V4 is something that should not just be reserved for motorcyclists.
      Source: VFR800 rider (VTEC yo)

  12. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    The original Rover,(originally BOP 215 ci) V8 reengineered for sand casting around steel liners by Rover, instead of the original die-casting with it’s high failure rate.
    now available as up to a 6.0 litre, with 5+ something litres more common, and fitment of 16 valve Lotus heads possible, it won’t be fully dead for a while yet. ‘New’ engines are still being made today.

  13. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    i feel like this thread has become “what engine that they don’t make anymore do you like”. seems to me it’s really asking which engine that’s currently leaving (or has recently left) is a sad thing to see disappear.
    i’m sad to see the 1.0 triple option disappear from the Fiesta. i drove one and it was surprisingly nippy while getting 47mpg highway, but it shouldn’t really be surprising that it didn’t catch on – it was only available with a manual, and it cost nearly $1000 more than the base Fiesta. you can still get the triple in the Focus, where you can pair it with an automatic, but that car is significantly heavier.
    in remembrance, here’s a video of the 1.0 Ecoboost with a catback.

  14. Maggie Dee Avatar
    Maggie Dee

    The Ford Barra.
    A 4.0 liter inline six
    tough as fuck
    turbo or none
    416hp 417 lb-ft from the factory
    600hp from a wreckers yard (with 3 mods)

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      That is the Nizpro 1000hp dyno photo, yes? Which I think was from 2003, within 6-12 months of the engine being released. Then people wanted to buy one, so they did sell them and they went in street cars.
      It is worth mentioning that the stock power figures don’t include the overboost function either, so the real output is closer to those numbers at the wheels. Last engine was built just under 14 months ago.
      I can’t speak to that 1000hp engine, but I had a ride in one with nearly 600rwhp that ran 9’s with some small slicks and basic weight removal, and in normal road driving it was indistinguishable from stock.

      1. pj134 Avatar

        How are the more pedestrian Barra’s? Easy enough to get good output from? I see them for 200-500 AUD and if their potential is good it might be worth filling up a shipping container.

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          There is not as much done with them because for the same money you will get more with a turbo. The later FG engines are rated at 260hp (on the equiv of 87 in the US, while early BA engines ( 244hp) with intake/exhaust/tune/cams do 260-270 at the wheels with a higher % loss than I gather the US works with. They are heavy though, 440-470 lb depending on variant. The BF engine had the introduction of independent variable cam timing.

  15. neight428 Avatar

    I like the idea of a big torquey I-6, though it’s hard to say that the AMC or Ford versions of recent memory are at all better than what replaced them, except perhaps in longevity that I will never personally realize.
    I suppose the need to fit it transversely in other platforms would make an I-6 turbo truck engine a non-starter.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      If a transverse I-8 can be made to work in a Ford Tempo… https://jalopnik.com/5444277/how-about-a-straight-eight-powered-ford-tempo-t-drive

      1. neight428 Avatar

        Here’s the air going out of the balloon part:
        “Sure, you have some challenges with stuff…”

        1. outback_ute Avatar

          The 6-cylinder Thunderbird on the DrivingEnthusiast site linked from through
          J-nik article is a Falcon 4.0 I-6. I imagine the taking the drive from
          the crankshaft at the centre would make the engine behave like a pair
          of I-4’s for NVH, and then there is the power loss through another
          hypoid gear drive.

  16. Tiberiuswise Avatar

    The Coyote/VooDoo will be around forever, right?

    1. neight428 Avatar

      I commute with one (in its most pedestrian F150 version) mere inches from my feet. The exhaust noise is mostly hushed through two big mufflers, but it still sounds sweet on the downshifts. Love the flat-plane voodoo noises.

    2. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      TVR have just started using a Cosworth re-engineered version of it. I’m sure it’ll be fairly loud with the exhaust exiting just behind the front wheels, (leaving a flat floor for good aero)

  17. Krautwursten Avatar

    Shame about the discontinuation of the absolutely monumental naturally aspirated 6.2L V8 in a variety of Mercedes-Benz AMG models from 2006 to 2011 or so, my favorite being the E63 AMG wagon with 520 hp. The 2012 replacement is a still very large 5.4L V8 which however only squeezes an extra 30 hp out of twin turbos, the main benefit being fuel economy, but who buys a V8 AMG for fuel economy? A bit disappointing.

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