The V12s perform better than the V16s myth rides again

Started by Rusty Shepherd CLC 6397, September 30, 2005, 06:55:15 PM

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Rusty Shepherd CLC 6397

Theres a beautiful 370A Roadster currently on Ebay and the first sentence of the description is "of course you know that the V12s run much stronger than the V16s" and then uses that incorrect statement to wonder why the Sixteens are always valued so much higher than the Twelves. I guess he hasnt read Maurice Hendrys Cadillac bible in which he debunks that persistent myth with contemporary figures from the GM proving ground. Even without that information, a look at the specs would tell the story: 84 more cubic inches, four more cylinders,and 30 more horsepower..more than enough to make up for the additional weight of the series 452 cars.

Doug Houston

Ihavent seen the ad, but it must be remembered that he has a V12 for sale, and not a V16. Therefore, a 12 is far superior to a 16. Now, if he had a V16 for sale, well, you see what I mean.

The V12 fulfilled a need for possibly a more toned down showmanship in those tryingly economic days. Those buying a superlative car may have felt pretentious about buying the most superlative engine ever built, but a bit toned down.......I dont know. But, one item about the 12, it was known as the "galloping 12", because, since four cylinders were designed off of a V16, four power pulses were missing from the power progression. It was nothing to be distressed over, but for some observers, it may have made a difference.

In the tanks that our Army used from the Korean war into the seventies, there was a Continental air-cooled V12 engine, with a 90 degree cylinder angle. This was another engine with uneven power pulses, and had a gallop, but not a problem in operation.

Who knows how well the V12 Cadillac might have sold if the depression had not been in the way of progress? Until the new V8 engine appeared in 1936, the V12 out-performed the V8. But in 1937, it became obvious that the 12 was no longer needed, and it was truly an expensive engine to manufacture. Its carburetion and manifolding had become archaic as well, and styling took its toll. By 1938, front end design became wider and lower, making it impossible for the OHV V12 and
v16 to be used.


 

Rusty Shepherd CLC 6397

I had never considered the out of blanace issue with the Cad Twelve. Ive never driven a one, but I did sit in one while it was idling and it seemed perfectly smooth.  I guess that since a 45percent V-12 is only 15percent off perfect balance, the vibration is probably less of a problem than it was for the early Buick V-6s which were 30percent off in addition to having half as many cylinders (I never could understand why GM thought customers would be OK with that shaky idle and far from smooth acceleration. I have driven several and would never have put up with it). Another V-12 that was slightly off was the Packard at 67percent and, of course, it was one of the smoothest engines ever made.

Doug Houston

Wasnt Fords first series V8 a 60 degree block?  I recall hearing that the Lincoln Zephyr V12 was simply a V8 with 4 cylinders added on. They were both smooth engines.

JIM CLC # 15000

10-03-05
DOUG, Pords first V8 was indeed a 60 degree engine.
Humsoever, the Lincoln Zephyr V12 was a New engine, also 60 degrees And Pord made a 60HP V8 (Pords fist economy car) by useing 8 of the V12s cylinders. The 60HP Pord and the V12 had very small pistons conpared to the regular Pord V8s.
I hope that Ive been clear with what I have posted.
Good Luck, Jim

Rusty Shepherd CLC 6397

Jim and Doug,
According to the HV-12 Engine section in my copy of Marvin Arnolds "Lincoln and Continental Classic Motorcars" the Zephyr Twelve was a 75percent design rather than the 90percent design of the Ford V-12.  The 90percent on the Ford would seem correct as this is the best in balance angle for V-8s and, as Doug has said, both engines were extremely smooth and a 60percent V-8 needs a lot of compensation work or balance shafts (like the Yamaha-designed V-8s of the Taurus SHO and the new Volvo XC-90 V-8)to eliminate vibration. Other than the cylinder angle and having only one water pump, the HV-12 was basically a Ford V-8 with four additional cylinders. Because of this, chronic characteristic problems of the little Ford engine such as overheating, vapor lock, and poor oil flow and resulting sludge were just magnified in the Lincoln resulting in a very troublesome powerplant.

Rusty Shepherd CLC 6397

Didnt proof read carefully..the first sentence should reference Ford V-8 instead of Ford V-12.

Doug Houston

Ive known all along that the Lincoln Zephyr V12 was far less than a good engine. It could have been better, Im sure, but it was the reason that a lot of Continentals had other engines installed, to include Cadillac.

My father had an automotive business in Grosse Pointe, Mich., not far from where we lived. In those days, the Zephyrs and Continentals had aluminum heads. Ford also built their engines with studs in the block and mounted the heads with nuts. In those days, not enough was known about how to handle the contact of cast iron and aluminum heads, using the proper gaskets and so on. The heads would undercut from corrosion around the studs. Leaking resulted and a new gasket was needed, at least. But the heads wouldnt come off, no matter what you did, cauise they were corroded to the studs. Father told that they would have to saw the head in two, then however needed, theyd have to just break up the head into pieces to get it off the block. The customer wasnt too pleased with that, but father made it perfectly clear that the only way to get off the heads was to just bust them into pieces. I think that Ford supplied cast iron heads for service after a while. The V8s also had aluminum heads for a few years; I think around 1936.

Rusty Shepherd CLC 6397

Interesting story. Does it bring to mind any Cadillac engine of relatively recent infamy? Apparently nearly fifty years after the Zephyr HV-12 was introduced, cast iron/aluminum/gaskets were still a work in progress. In fact, Ive often thought the HT4100 and HV-12 have a lot in common: very smooth, very quiet, underpowered for the cars in which they were installed, reasonably fuel efficient, usually very short-lived between overhaul or replacement (and thus frequently on lists of the worst automobile engines every made) and tolerated because of the affinity people have for some of the cars they originally powered (Continentals, Sevilles, and Eldorados).