Friday, October 2, 2009


It is quite evident from a census of the types of motors employed upon gasoline
cars at the Show that the double cylinder engine of the opposed type is extremely
popular. Its cost of construction has been reduced through improved methods of
manufacture to such a point that it is now offered as the motive power of runabout
cars at $750 or $850; it is still used upon several makes of full fledged touring cars
built by concerns of established and long standing reputation, and furthermore, constitutes
the power equipment of an intermediate class of vehicles called "light touring
cars" or "light tonneaus" which bids fair to become a very popular and useful type, selling
at a price between the runabouts and the high powered and most luxurious touring
vehicles, namely, at from $1,500 to $1,800.

It would seem that the opposed cylinder engine represents in the world of motors the
bourgoisie or middle class, ranking between the humble and proletarian single
cylinder engine and the high toned three or four cylinder motor of the de luxe vehicle.

Probably the double opposed type has been the most important element concerned in
the production of a reasonable low priced vehicle for the average buyer, which shall
be free from noticeable vibration and torque fluctuation. Hardly anyone will deny that
it is the steadiest running motor for the money and as such it is increasingly appreciated.

So great is its inherent superiority in steadiness of running over the twin type,
on account of the equal spacing of its power impulses and the fact that its vibration,
owing to its direction, is not exaggerated by the springs, that the popularity of the
twin type in front, as used in medium powered touring cars, appears to be somewhat
threatened, especially as the opposed motorwhen placed across the car can wear a bonnet
just as "becomingly" as the twin engine and thus answer the general demand for a
motor in front type of car. In fact, several manufacturers, in order to secure the symmetrical
power impulses of the opposed engine in the twin type, have made their
cranks with both throws on the same side of the shaft. This secures the desired end,
but as the reciprocating parts are all traveling in the same direction at the same time
the vibration from this source is as great as in a vertical single cylinder motor. The
heavy counterbalances required to minimize this defect probably weigh more than any
reduction of the flywheel weight which is made admissible on account of the greater
symmetry of the explosions.

The opposed cylinder engine is a characteristic American device, having been first
developed by one of our veteran automobile manufacturing concerns, which, by the way,
is still using it to the exclusion of all other types. It has been widely copied, and, on
account of its applicability to the engine in front type of construction, in all but high
powered cars, and the fact that when so used it is almost perfectly vibrationless, it is
likely to enjoy a brilliant future.

It has been remarked that the opposed motor is unknown in France, but it is hardly
to be believed that any one nation enjoys an absolute monopoly of engineering wisdom,
and it may be possible that there are some good things in the motor car business
which our clever friends across the water have in some manner missed.

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