Wow. Just wow. I am jealous and speechless at the same time. I’ll take a pair of the Allison’s please!
267 Marilla St in Buffalo looks to still be there, in what manner of business cannot be accurately stated, but it could be in about the condition it was in at the time of these advertisements according to Google. A U-Pull it backs on to the property, divided by a rail line. Not far to the rear, just off the snip I took, is a beautiful looking pond and botanical gardens. At least from a distance, hopefully some nice land has been saved or recovered.
The botanical gardens you cite are in South Park, a beautiful Frederick Olmsted Park here in Buffalo, part of the most extensive, extant Olmsted system in the country
Goldblatt’s, they had good poundcake.
Seems like a great deal, but not sure what I’d do with one… it wouldn’t be like swapping in a SBC or LS or such.
I was wondering about transmissions that you could hook to one.
A relative of my Dad’s made a “home-built tractor” when the two of them were in high school (early 70s) using scrap metal, a GM 4-cyl engine, and some cut down axles. He could have had fun with this Allison!
The logical uses would be wait 30 years until tractor pulling became a big deal or use it to power a speedboat. These engines and Packard Merlins were both popular for unlimited hydroplanes and the occasional Cigarette Boat ancestor. The un-supercharged versions are more useful on land as the US equivalent of the Rolls Royce Meteor tank and suer heavy truck engine.
Now I know why the Allison was so popular in Hydroplane racing, no way you were going to touch that HP per dollar with anything else.
The Allison V12 as used in hydroplane racing made a fine sound at wide open throttle. My adopted hometown of Evansville, Indiana was a regular stop on the unlimited hydroplane tour and the races were advertised as “Thunder on the Ohio”. When the supply of war surplus Allisons dried up the hydroplane racers switched to turbine engines that powered helicopters. These engines were lighter the V12s, and more reliable, but it just wasn’t the same without the sound.
Living in Seattle I agree that the sound of a supercharged Allison is wonderful music.
I remember reading that a lot of surplus aircraft engines were sold very cheaply at the end of WWII because they were essentially worthless. It cost more money in labor to disassemble them than the scrap metal as worth. And they had to be disassembled to recycle because of all the different types of metals in them. I believe the only post-war aircraft that used the V-1710 was the P-82 ‘Twin Mustang’, and the WWII fighters that also used it like the P-38, P-39, and P-40 were all obsolete at the end of the war. Probably a lot of unneeded Allisons laying around in 1945.
Bang for your buck is hard to beat.
I bought a 6 cylinder Chevy rebuilt long block from Sears in 1969 (?) or thereabouts to put in my 1964 Chevy truck. I believe I paid about $200 for it.
$200 in 1969 is $1,450 in 2020 dollars. And a $350 Allison in 1946 is equal to $4,970 today.
So none of this stuff is really that cheap. On the other hand, the government was paying the equivalent of $215,000.00 for those Allisons assuming buying them in 1944 (Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI inflation calculator). I couldn’t believe it either so I tried a different website and got similar figures.
I’ll take every Allison you got or can find today for $4,970.00.
The Allison, Merlin and radial engines, all those engines used to power planes and some tanks were very sophisticated for their day.
In 2020 dollars, $140 billion just on Allison engines. No plane attached….
I remember reading some issues of Hot Rod in either the late ’50s or early ’60’s with drag racers equipped with Allison engines. I have no idea of what class they ran in.
The huge ‘nads class most likely.
Allisons usually ran exhibition events. I’m not aware of a major sanction that allowed airplane engines in serious events. They were auto oriented.
Allison engines weighed about 1500 lbs, so they were operating at a big weight disadvantage in an unlimited dragster class compared to supercharged auto engines.
Early 1946: some varied uses for the surplus engines:
Wikipedia says there were almost 70,000 engines constructed so it’s not surprising they were cheap after the war.
That isn’t an assembly line you’d shut down before you were sure the other guy had stopped fighting back.
A 1200 horsepower piston engine still isn’t super cheap, even with 75 more years of development and mass production.
Wow! $14500 in say 1946 money would be about $186k today. And the gubmint bought how many of em?
Probably around 65,000 or so if you want to count the V-24 derivative the V3420.
The US built over 50,000 fighter planes that used the Allison.
Unlimited war is expensive.
It’s hard for today’s youngsters to imagine how much war surplus was for sale in the postwar 1940s, 1950s, and even into the 1960s. Mechanics magazines carried ads for everything from small hand-crank generators to these huge Allison engines for pennies on the dollar of the Original Government Cost.
Harley-Davidson flatheads for under $60.00? I’ll take a couple. I can see building a real old school chopper around one of those.
In some sort of semi-CC-effect I was wandering down a YouTube rabbit hole yesterday and stumbled upon a 1981 SD1 Rover 3500 27000 fitted with a Rolls-Royce ‘Meteor’ engine from a WWII Spitfire plane. It’s a 27 litre V12, with 600hp and 1,500 pound-feet, so a bit down on power versus the Allison! Here’s the vid:
The Meteor is actually an unsupercharged version of the Merlin used in tanks like the Cromwell, Comet and early Centurions, I think Meteors also had lower compression to handle poor quality fuel hence the horsepower deficit.
With a tie-in to the two heavy truck threads that I can’t seem to find the time to comment to…
From memory now, about 25 years ago I recall seeing a re-print from some trucking publication, circa ’46 or so. The featured truckers ran a hilly route in the Northwest. Just like every other trucker that ever lived, they sought just a little more power.
Sure, they probably thought about a simple carburetor re-jetting or so, but ultimately leap-frogged the horsepower quest by installing a surplus Allison. Haha
It seems like the article said that by the time the Allison was configured for truck use its 1400 horsepower was choked down to some measly 800 horsepower. You know, only about 5-6 times the day’s typical power.
This may be Ray Ogg’s Kenworth and if so it was actually fitted with a Hall-Scott Invader V12 as a special order by Kenworth so as to ensure Greyhound buses did not delay him up in the mountains.
The -135 model Allison engine in the ad was a later war design for use in the Bell P-63 Kingcobra. A modified version was used by Tex Johnson in a Bell P-39 to win the Thompson Trophy race in Cleveland.
You can’t have a WW II surplus Allison article without mentioning Art Arfons and his half-brother Walt. They came to prominence in the early 1950’s with their homebuilt “Green Monster” Allison powered dragsters. I believe Art set a few 1/4 mile records back then.
He later would go on to be one of the top dogs in Bonneville land speed records. Holding the records in ’64 and ’65. Using surplus jet aircraft engines, of course!
After that he got into tractor pulls.
This is all from memory, and deserves a closer look.
His daughter was named Allison, but went by Dusty, supposedly.
All in all, a helluva man!
Allison is an interesting company. The V-1710 was the only piston engine they made in quantity (about 69,000) along with a few V-3420 derivatives. Unlike the contemporary radial engines which had multiple licensed builders, all were made by Allison itself. After WWII Allison immediately switched to making turbine engines and heavy-duty automatic transmissions. The turbine division is now owned by Rolls-Royce.
I remember my dad telling me that after WWII the Canadian govt. lined up a bunch of new Rolls Royce Merlins still in their packing crates on Front St. in Toronto and were asking $200 CDN eacj- Wonder what a NOS Merlin is worth today?
This is the engine equivalent of the $12 surplus rifle ads you would see all the time back then. I’m not old enough to have bought any of those old rifles, but I remember the ads in the hunting magazines and catalogs a family friend had.
Closest thing I’ve got that is stupid cheap is a Moisin-Nagant rifle I bought for $88 back about 13 years or so. It was almost 100 years old when I got it, but looked nearly new, except for some scratches on the stock. I have a Nagant revolver that is older than the rifle is, and it looks brand new, almost as if it time traveled. Horrible trigger though.
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