CC Weekend Debate: What Were The Ten Best Engines Ever?


Last weekend’s attempt at pinning down the Ten Worst Engines ever was lively, educational, and stayed very civil. So let’s take on the opposite end of the spectrum: the ten best engines ever. 

Obviously, it’s a bit harder given the lack of criteria. Bad is…obviously bad. But what makes an engine exceptionally good? Performance? Efficiency? Durability? Running quality? Looks? Affordability? Well, I’m going to let you mostly sort that out, but I’ll suggest one or two things: First, any engine needs to be considered in its place in history; meaning its qualities should (obviously) be compared to its contemporaries. Second, realistically, it should to be the overall balance of qualities that makes a engine superior, and without any significant shortcomings. Yes, some engines might have excelled in one or two categories, but unless an engine was well rounded, it’s not really going to deserve to be one of the very best, in terms of passenger car use.

I regret putting a 1965 cut-off on the last debate, so the whole of passenger car enginedom is up for consideration, but realistically, it’s a bit harder for most of us to really debate the merits of the 1903 Lanchester, despite its many superlatives.