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This site is dedicated to the history of the Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company and it's facilities.
Updated – Every once in a while during the pursuit of the history of the motor vehicle, something unusual crosses our radar screen.
Little is known about the power plant, other than the photos originate from the NAHC, Detroit Public Library archives. One of the features of note behind the open cam and magneto drive, is a pair of very unusual intake runners with expansion chambers located between the carburetor and the intake manifolds. The images were located by vintage casting expert Lee Storr, who engineered and oversaw the Frank Lockhart Miller racing car intercooler replicas covered earlier here in a three-part series. A gentleman holding the engine shows its light weight construction and also serves as a size reference. It’s too wide to be a motorcycle engine, but some European light cars from that period had similar looking engines where the heads protruded from the sides of the bonnet. It’s more likely to have been intended for marine or even aviation use, possibly as a prototype for one cylinder pair of a modular design for airship or aeroplane use.
The JAP 80 degree engines were oddities really and I can’t work out what JAP thought they were doing. You would have to think this was intended as cyclecar motor perhaps from the time of the brief American craze that mimicked that in Europe c 1912-14? I have looked through many aircraft engine books, including the 570 page Airplane Engine Encyclopedia by Glenn Angle, and I have not seen this engine. Mark, Thanks for all your input, I had thought about that, but then wondered where else the water jackets could be?
David, talking about V ‘s , what truth is there in the story I heard last night a Christie V4 race car is soon on the way to be on the road? That sure looks like a propeller flange–my vote is for an aircraft engine of some type.
I guess the last and perahaps as likely as any possibility is that this was a purpose built racing engine.
This could be one of a number of early non production v-twins for which I have ever been able to locate a picture.
The intakes varying cross section has already been commented on, I wouldn’t be surprised to find a patent filing.
I think you could get to six bolts on the output flange by engineering optimization and good design rather than matching a standard. I think this may well be an aviation motor, but quite possibly an airship (lighter than air) rather than aeroplane motor. First, This has none of the earmarks of ANY John Alford Prestwich engine that I have seen in antique Motorcycles, —be they V-twins or singles dirt , grass, or Road application.
Ok , after studying the photos over and over this is my best guess this engine definitely has three valves in the head. I agree with your comments about the intake, either this wasn’t 1915, or whoever built this was an engine savant. Piet, Stone the Crows and I have taken another look at this, 2-times the engine speed is correct. Oversaw the obvious, crank gear double that of the mag, instead of the other way round as would be normal. There were lot’s of big, watercooled aircraft engines by 1910, but a V Twin would normally have been aircooled as the extra weight of the radiator would not make sense on a twin cylinder setup. I collaborated with a good friend of mine who is a product engineering rep from an unnamed automobile manufacturing corporation. Good points, aviation engines early on pioneered what are commonly referred to modular components today. Does anyone else see what I think are auxiliary exhaust ports (visible on the drive side of the engine)? Less frequently seen on water cooled cylinders, usually partially intended to address exhaust valve and valve seat problems at the time.

Yes, It does look like there are small ports and yes I also noticed the small hose connections next to the pushrods when working on the post. The holes at front and back of the heads are most likely welch plugs or core plugs for sand removal from the water jacket core as in most liquid cooled engines. It could be a valve aspirated 2 stroke which would match the magneto speed and the tuned intake???
The great Jaguar story started in 1922 when 21-year-old Billy Lyons formed a company in partnership with a neighbour to produce motor cycle sidecars in Blackpool where they lived.
Following the war, the SS name was dropped, for obvious reasons, and the company became Jaguar Cars. The new saloon was not ready and so several, more traditional models were introduced after the war. The Le Mans 24-hour race provided unparalleled publicity worldwide and Lyons was determined to win it.
In 1961 the E-type was launched in Geneva and caused as big a sensation as the XK 120 had in ’48.
Once a showstopper, always a showstopperThe world-class restoration of 1961 Jaguar E-Type Chassis No. Dodge Brothers Company remained an independent firm until 1928, when it became a major division of the fledging Chrysler Corporation. This large water-cooled V-Twin engine with several unique features certainly fits into that department. The fuel and air mixers feeding this induction system are of the auxiliary air valve type and the spring-loaded valves are next to the camshaft gear. Whatever it was it wasn’t a success and they stuck with 50 degrees and later 60 degrees.
A smaller rocker is pushing on a device which maybe an injector or let’s call it an atomizer.
I relied on another knowledgeable enthusiasts thoughts on this in the rush to make a deadline and should have double checked it. This is going to bug me till I figure out what this is and who built it– or someone else does.
The first and best known of these was the little Austin 7 Swallow, in open and saloon versions. During the later stages of the war Lyons and his senior engineers, Bill Heynes, Claude Baily and Walter Hassan designed a new engine for a planned radically new saloon car (sedan).
The competition model, designed the XK 120C or simply C-type, was based on the XK 120 but with a lighter body and chassis. A handful of roadgoing D-types were produced and known as the XKSS – the supercar of its age. The three carb 3.8 XK engine gave virtual 150mph performance and superb acceleration but also typical Jaguar docility and torque for high speed but relaxing motoring.
In ’67, the three styles were upgraded and named the Series 2 models (hence the earlier cars have become known as the Series 1 models). The smaller saloon range was supplemented by the S-type and 420 models, and the Mark X became known as the 420G. The mag also has a double ignition point housing on the backside much like Bosch used on some of their units, which can be adjusted to vary the ignition timing.
There is also the possibility that the pair of holes on the drive side might have been used for the exhaust ports? The wide V shape would have required an unusually broad radiator and hood configuration during a time when car builders were incorporating increasingly narrow hoods and radiators.
If you look closely at the photo taken from the timing side you will clearly see that between the two exhaust pushrods is the single inlet one. I believe those huge scientifically shaped intakes act as a precharge chamber for the air intake to swirl or vortec the air. And he added an interesting point that the holes in the sides of the castings could be there to ad more cylinders to the design.

Until then they had been rather ugly appendages but the Swallow sidecars, as they were known, were very striking and attracted a lot of interest and healthy sales. Lyons wanted a glamorous engine that would give real performance and offer potential for development. In 1948 it was decided to launch the engine in a sports car which would gain some useful publicity, garner a few sales and enable Jaguar to try out the engine on a more tolerant bunch of customers.
With the powerful engine, the 120 promised racing car performance on the road, yet with practicality and comfort. Meanwhile, the XK was making a tremendous name for itself on the world’s race tracks and provided an important breakthrough for a young man called Stirling Moss. The Mark XI followed the Mark VIII and was fitted with an enlarged 3.8-litre version of the amazing XK engine, this power unit also being optionally offered in the XK 150, the range being supplemented by the higher spec XK 150 S models. Once again, the engine was intended for the XJ12 saloon but was offered in the lower volume sports car first. Many V-Twin magnetos and battery ignition systems fire the spark plug near the end of the compression stroke and also a wasted spark at the end of the exhaust stroke.
Another scenario is the exhaust may have passed through passages to the sides of the heads.
A twin overhead camshaft configuration was chosen as it satisfied those criteria and gave the company great technical credibility. The orders flowed in and the XK 120 led Britain’s crucial post-war export drive, being especially popular in Hollywood. XKs also distinguished themselves in rallying and record-breaking, proving the car was far more than a very pretty face. The D-type, often dubbed an aircraft on wheels, came next missing a winning debut by seconds but won in 1955, 1956 and 1957. Introduced in Roadster and Fixed Head Coupe styles, both were blessed with pure, very beautiful sculptural shapes. Still powered by the extraordinary XK engine, the car offered new standards of ride and refinement, thanks to Bob Knight who was pre-eminent in this field. With the announcement of the updated Series 2 XJs, an additional and very stylish 2-door Coupe model was added in six-cylinder- and V12-engined versions.
He agreed with me that the intakes are very advanced for the period and may have been an ad on at an attempt to get the engine to run. Models in 1931, Lyons evolved his thriving company a step further by arranging for the Standard Motor Company to produce engines and chassis of SS design for the company to fit long, low rakish bodies which suggested great performance but did not quite live up to that promise. Such a complex design had not really been produced in serious quantities before and it was a brave move. The Roadster was joined by the Fixed Head Coupe and Drop Head Coupe, before all three were succeeded in 1954 by the XK 140 range.
In 1975 the XJ-S replaced the classic E-type and the XJ saloon continued to be updated, including the very advanced all-aluminium cars, until replaced in 2009 by a completely new design. I ASK: IS this in lieu of carburetor & Am I looking at a TUNED fuel injection setup ??? With the absence of some fuel bowl or similar device one would have to assume some other type of delivery system.
I would tend to agree with the aircraft engine because lightweight didn’t seem to be the primary concern in the automotive world during its infancy.
The other(left side of the photo) doesn’t seem to have anything reacting it except possible back pressure . Whomever produced this engine seemed to be very advanced or trying new things with the assistance of a thermal engineer. I know I probably way off but maybe this may spur some other thoughts to rediscover the inventor.

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