Thursday Trivia

Thirsday Trivia

Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a History test, with cars!

This week’s question is: Which auto maker was the first to offer for sale a V12 engine? 

If you know the answer, make the jump to see if you are correct.  After all, the question raises your curiosity, dozen it?


The first V12 production automobile was the 1916 Packard Twin Six, which one-upped Cadillac’s smooth move V8 that had just been introduced a year earlier.

From AteUpWithMotor:

The Twin Six was introduced in May 1915 as a 1916 model, and immediately became a sensation. 

That first Packard V-12, dubbed “Twin Six,” displaced 424 cu. in. (7.0 L). Its cylinder banks were set at a 60-degree angle, providing even firing intervals and making it narrower than a 90-degree V8.

Like the smaller six of the “38,” it was an L-head engine, but it had two camshafts, obviating the need for rocker arms. In the mode of European high-performance engines of its day, it had a narrow bore, 3.0 in (76.2 mm), and a long stroke, 5.0 in (127 mm), allowing the crankshaft to be shorter, more rigid, and considerably lighter than the six; Packard claimed the Twin Six weighed 400 lb (181 kg) less than the six-cylinder “48.”

Despite its smaller displacement, the V-12 was slightly more powerful than the six — 85 hp (63 kW) at 3,000 rpm, compared to 82 hp (61 kW) at 1,720 rpm for the “48” — with twice the torque.




Image source: AteUpWithMotor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

9 responses to “Thursday Trivia”

  1. RegalRegalia Avatar

    I was always curious as to the why of the early v12s, I knew they had only a small power advantage. "Twice the torque" oh, okay.

    1. zsvdkhnorc Avatar

      The biggest difference was the smoothness of the engine, both in vibration and driving force.
      The number of power strokes per rotation increases the smoothness of the driving force without requiring heavy flywheels to store the energy between firings.
      Also, it was considerably more difficult, what with doing math by hand, to make a configuration not naturally ballanced smooth back then. The I-6 configuration is naturally ballanced. The V-8 configuration is, as well, provided certain weights are added to balance the movements of the cylinders on the opposite bank when it is at a 90-degree angle. The V-12 is two I-6 engines together, which allows it to be ballanced regardless of the angle, which can make for much better packaging than the V-8, and a lighter weight.
      Aside from multiples of 90-degree V8s and any multiples of I6s, and just about any boxer configuration, other engines are naturally imballanced and require creative applications of spinning counterweights to keep them from giving a rather violent experience, especially when they have any power. There's a reason why the great engines from before physics crunching computers were around were I6 or V8. There's also a reason why the V12 was so promising. The W18 configuration holds similar promise, but too much complexity.

  2. stigshift Avatar

    Is it just me, or does posting the answer suck some of the fun out of these threads?

    1. Devin Avatar

      I was about to suggest posting last week's answer each week to have speculation fun.

  3. MVEilenstein Avatar

    Has to be Cadillac.
    EDIT: So close.

  4. guywith lambo Avatar
    guywith lambo

    was it Lincoln Zephyr

  5. mdharrell Avatar

    "Which auto maker was the first to offer for sale a V12 engine?"
    A narrow reading of that question would indicate that the answer isn't Packard, as other auto makers offered V12 engines for sale before they did, just not in cars. As a commercial product, my guess is Renault.
    <img src="; width="500">

    1. Vairship Avatar

      Clearly that was not a successful airplane – those cylinder heads are way too small to act as wings!

  6. Felis_Concolor Avatar

    [showing up late] Yay, nice to nail that one before clicking through!
    Didn't it also feature a lever which could be pulled to idle one bank of carburetors and valves to become a single six, or was that a later version?

%d bloggers like this: