The Return of the Twin
twin cylinder engine that has prompted me to look
into the history of the twin cylinder automobile engine is the
The Fiat TwinAir engine,
available in some Fiat 500, Panda, and Alfa
Romeo Miti's, uses an innovative valve gear technology to optimize
performance and efficiency.
With only two cylinders
a total capacity of only 875 cc. and when
turbocharged it produces 84 bhp.This in conjunction with an
level of only 92g/Km, makes it outstanding and a pointer to future
Its appropriate that the
TwinAir, is produced by Fiat, as they had
produced over four million twin cylinder engined cars since 1957.
The TwinAir is in no way
related to those previous twins. These first
of previous twins were produced for the rear engined 500 Nova, in
An air-cooled parallel twin with a capacity of 479 cc, producing
bhp. In 1972 the 500, was joined by the 126, with a similar engine
594 cc, reducing 23 bhp. This was produced until 1987, the 500,
been discontinued in 1977. The final Fiat twin, was 704 cc,
water-cooled unit, producing 26 bhp. First fitted in the 126bis,
produced from 1987 to 1992. This engine was available as an option
some markets in the Cinquecento 700, model, produced between 1992
of the Twin
Cylinder Engine into Mainstream Motoring.
Since 1998 until the
of the TwinAir, the twin cylinder engined
car has been missing from the mainstream manufacturers showrooms.
Historically this was not normally the case, as twins have been
produced from the beginning of the motoring era, with fourteen and
half million produced between 1948 and 1998, being a major
the economy car sector in Europe in that period.
With a few exceptions the
twin has been the preserve of the lighter end
of the automobile spectrum. Used first in the pioneering cars, the
Voiterettes, followed by the so called cycle cars of the first
the last century. Finally by the Mini and Micro cars of the middle
later part of the century. Ofter considered the poor relation of
small four cylinder engine the twin cylinder engine has been of
service to many millions of the worlds motorist.
The Veteran Era. The first twin's were
almost at the beginning of the motoring age by amongst
greatest pioneers, Daimler, Ford and Benz. 1889.
The first Daimler twin designed by Wilhelm Maybach was of a
narrow"V" configuration, with a capacity 565 cc, and
produced 1.5 hp.
1890. A licensed
version of this engine was used by Peugeot.
1891. Panhard and Levisour used and engine of this design in
innovative front engined car, with the clutch and gearbox
chains to the rear wheels, starting a fashion that was to be
for the next sixty years and was the transition from the
carriage to the automobile.
In the USA Henry Ford used an in line or parallel twin, with
cylinders lying horizontally, producing three horsepower,
Quadricycle. He made a total of three of these, the last in
twin's that Ford produced, were the first Model A 9hp, in
Model B, in 1904 and finally the Model F, produced between
In England Dr Fred Lanchester designed a car with many
features. Amongst them was a twin cylinder engine of unique
This engine was different from all other twins made before
or since, in
having four connecting rods to connect the two pistons to
crankshafts, with the aim of producing perfect balance. This
attained but at high cost. Engines of this layout were
Lanchester cars produced between 1906 and 1908. With a
capacity of 4106
cc, producing 12 horsepower running at 760 rpm. By then
engines of this
size had four or more cylinders and this line of development
Daimler fitted an 1060 cc, water-cooled in line or parallel
cylinder engine with the cylinders upright, in their "Phenix
which was still very much a horseless carriage.
1897. Panhard et Levassor
produced a front
engined design fitted with a Daimler Phenix twin cylinder
1206 cc, producing 4 hp, at 800 rpm, It had a cruising speed
of 10 mph.
Mors produced the "Petit Duc"' model with a 4 hp, twin
horizontally opposed engine with air-cooled cylinder barrels
1899. Benz produced a 1728 cc, horizontally opposed
named the "Contra engine" that produced five
920 rpm. This was fitted at the rear of the car.
Decauville Voiturelle, had a 479 cc, vertical twin mounted
in the rear,
it produced 3 hp, at 1,200 rpm.
The "V"usually at 90 degree's, the parallel twin, usually
the horizontally opposed,
were the three configuration
twin cylinder engines, with only rare variations such as the
1900. Paul Daimler the
son of Gottleib Daimler, created a very
significant design the Daimler PD. It had a 4 hp, 1230 cc
engine of 86 mm bore and 116 mm stroke with automatic inlet
low tension ignition. 40 kph was attained at 850 rpm. The
engine was at
the front with an integral gearbox and the PD was seen as
fore-runner of the light car and was the inspiration for the
Daimler model the Mercedes prototype of 1901.
The earliest Renault
all vouterettes, had been fitted with
a De-Deon single cylinder engines. The Type H14cv of 1902, was the
first model to be fitted with an engine manufactured by Renault.
was a water-cooled side-valve inline twin of 1728 cc. producing 14
at 1200 rpm. A later version of this engine fitted in the Model J.
a capacity of 2280 cc and the Model J. had a top speed of 74 kph.
engines fitted to the H and J models had an automatic inlet valve.
10/16 cv of 1903 had mechanically operated overhead and side
valves and produced 16 bhp from a capacity of 1885 cc. One of the
famous Renault models was the Type AG 8 cv. of 1905. Fitted with a
cc. water-cooled side-valve twin cylinder engine producing only 8
The 8 cv. was used as the premier Paris taxi, to well after the
World War, and came to fame as the "Taxi De La Marne"', being used
rush troops to the front in 1914 and saving Paris from being over
by the invading German army. Renault's last twin's were the AX
and 8/9cv of 1909. A later model using the 1060 cc.
and a 1205 cc. larger version. They were produced until
1905. Two makers during
the veteran era, used twin
cylinder engines with two pistons per cylinder, One of them
the Scottish maker Arrel-Johnston. A chassis is shown at the left.
used rocking arms to connect the connecting rods to the crank. The
other was the French manufacturer Gebron-Brillie who's arrangement
shown in the drawing. Arrol-Johnston produced a twin until 1909,
Gebron-Brillie until 1912.
Edwardian era thirty
percent of the numerous British, European and American
manufacturers produced twins.
dominated the eight to ten horsepower classes. with 165 models in
range In comparison, in the same period, only 74 four cylinder
models were on offer. A total of 330 twins were offered for sale
the period 1906 to 1914. The larger models were mostly produced in
early years of the era. Most larger twins had been discontinued by
end of the first decade of the twentieth century.
The Albion 16 hp. was an
example of the large twin cylinder
engined cars of the Edwardian era. On sale from 1906 to 1913, by
time most engines of this size had at least four cylinders.
The list on the left shows
to be exceptional, the majority being in
the 8 to 10 horsepower range.
A List of twins on sale in
1906 Gregoire 8 h.p. (two-cylinder)
more simply known as Grégoire, was
a French car manufacturer. Established
on the Boulevard Devaux in Poissy. Gregoire started off by
manufacturing engines in 1903.
In 1904, the company
to manufacture automobiles. The design was
considered nothing special, but was easily recognizable by its
pear-shaped radiator. The company made cars with single,
1907.The Riley 9 hp was
first four wheeled car
produced by the company. It had a 1034 cc. water-cooled V twin
It was produced from 1907 until 1911. They also produced twin's.
12/18 hp. with a 2039 cc. engine from 1907 until 1914, and a 10
from 1909 until 1914. Both with Riley patent side valves.
The first engine produced by Humber in 1902 had twin cylinder's,
they had produced various twins since then.the 8 hp. of 1909/10,
the largest at 1527 cc. and the last of what be considered full
cars at the time. The last twin cylinder engined car produced by
was the Humberette of 1913 to1915, which was a 998 cc. air-cooled
twin, and classed as a cycle car, although other than the
it was conventional and in no way crude.
In Bradford, Yorkshire, William and Benjamin
had been developing
car since 1906. In 1910 they
decided to start manufacturing cars for sale. The car had a
water-cooled, side-valve, horizontally opposed twin cylinder
822 cc. They produced less than fifty cars by 1914, but the engine
would remain in production for forty three years installed in
of cars and commercial vehicles mostly sold locally, the last
Adler the German car maker
produced a number of light twins after 1907
. The last to be introduced was the 7 hp. with a 80 mm X 100 mm.
Marketed in Britain, as the Lion 12. and the Lion 16. They were
France by the Lion-Peugeot branch of the company and were the last
Peugeot twins, in production until 1912. The other part of Peugeot
produced larger twins from 1906 until 1911.
The Perry Motor Company Limited, of
Birmingham, was formed in
1912 and the first model they produced was the "8". It had a 878
(72 mm. x 108 mm.) water-cooled, parallel twin cylinder engine. It
three speed gearbox and a worm drive rear axle. In 1914 it was
at £147. The "Eight". was produced until 1915.
Apart from a few old designs that would soon be discontinued, the
was becoming the engine of choice for the new ultra light cars at
time designated cycle cars. The Swift was one
example. They had been
making twin since in 1906 in large engine sizes.
Others were the
also been making
twins since 1906 but would survive until
the early 1920's.
newcomer's with the Chater-Lea 8/9. This
was the water-cooled version of the 8/9 engine. An air-cooled
was also available.
Two very different British light cars were on sale in Great
1914 when production of cars stopped due to to the war. When peace
in 1918, they were soon back in production, but only for a short
as car design had moved on.
The GWK 8 hp. was produced
from 1912 to 1919, and was of unconventional design. Its two
cylinder Coventry Simplex. water-cooled engine that was located in
centre of the car. The transmission consisted of a variable ratio
drive, with a live rear axle. Friction drive had very short period
use in very cheap cars in the 1920's.
12 hp Buckingham was typical of the twin cylinder light cars in
in this period, with a mixture of car and cycle car design
It had a 89 mm X 88 mm.
cc.overhead-valve, air-cooled engine.
Up to fifteen cars a week
have been produced until the war
intervened. Alvis took up the design after the was with little
By 1918 the multi
cylinder engine with from four up to in a few
cylinder was the normal in fitment in the majority of cars offered
sale. The twin cylinder engines was now only fitted to cycle
and economy cars and
at that time all were lumped together under the definition of
The true cycle car
at the very cheapest end of the car price range and can correctly
as a ultra light cars using motorcycle technology to attain that
lightness. The GN and the Morgan three wheelers are well known
and both had V twin engine of various make installed in them, with
multi chain final drives that were used in place of a gearbox.
showing the chain final
Morgan family model.
The twin cylinder Economy
in Britain would have a brief period of
popularity between 1918 and 1925. Only one of the pre-war designs
Jowett 8, returning to production, soon to be replaced successive
models until 1940, all with a twin cylinder engine. The four
engined economy cars had been available before the war, but were
expensive than the twins. It was the Austin Seven, that could
them on price and exceed then on refinement that led to the demise
the twin in Britain.
1920/27 ABC 12 hp
advanced aero engines for the ABC company
during the first World war. At the war end development was
stopped and government contracts terminated, so Bradshaw designed
light car to help fill the gap. It had an air-cooled,
overhead valve, twin cylinder engine of 1203cc. The
Ltd became interested in the project and ABC Motors (1920) Ltd was
formed. As the fortunes of the Harper-Bean company faltered, so
Motors . Only about 1500 examples were produced in seven years. A
Super Sports version
numbers, added a bit of
glamore to what was an unrefined noisy car.
1921. Granville Bradshaw was a
controversial designer. He had designed motorcycles with
engine for ABC before the war and after the war also the car
mentioned above, and advanced air-cooled radial
aero engines for the British government during the war. these
were ahead of their time and in service proved unreliable. The 9
Belsize Bradshaw was a conventional light touring car, except for
twin 1289 cc. later 1370 cc. side-valve, fan-cooled engine
had a large oil capacity that helped dissipate the heat of the
distributing it all around the engine, using all of the engine
structure for cooling purposes. It was produced from 1921 to 1924
anything between seven hundred and fifty and one thousand five
Matchless Model K
In 1922 the motorcycle
H Collier and Sons, began production of
their Model K economy car. It had 1.35 litre overhead valve,
air-cooled, twin cylinder engine. The drive train was conventional
the period but the unitary chassis/body and the independent front
suspension was not. it is believed that only 50 were produced by
time production ceased in 1924.
The twin cylinder engined
economy cars in the 1920's was a very British
thing, being only being fitted in cyclecars in Europe such as the
Violet. There were two exceptions, one was the Tatra
Czechoslovakia and other the DKW P15, from Germany.
1923. While working at
Hans Ledwinka had been creating the
design of a small car in his own time. His design had been
the Steyr, management, but he was able to develop and produce this
design after he left Steyr in 1923 to work for Tatra. Designated
Tatra T11 it made the name of Tatra well known throughout Europe.
T11 was the first of his designs using a backbone chassis, a fan
horizontally opposed engine and a jointless independent rear
axle. The engine in this design was a overhead valve 1056cc twin,
mounted in unit with the gearbox on the front of the chassis. The
beam axle being attached to the engine.
This was the first of a
of light car design’s to a similar pattern
that were produced until 1948. The T11 was produced from 1923 to
and replaced by the T12 with a similar specification. The T12 was
produced from 1926 to 1936.
Tatra T11 engine
In 1928 DKW of Zwickau,
Germany, made the first in
a line of inline vertical twin
two-stroke cars the P15. It differed
from all the later twins in having rear wheel drive. The P15 had
two seats which was common for economy cars of the period, as the
cc engine only produced 15 bhp. Its layout and construction was
conventional for the period with a live rear axle, a beam front
transverse leaf springs , a steel chassis frame with a wood
body. About 2000 P15 and the related PS600 sports model were
between 1928 and 1930.
Its significance is that,
two-stroke twin cylinder car in one form or
another, would be in production in some part of Germany from 1928
In 1929 Colonel Frank Searle
managing director of the Rover Co Ltd
of England decided that the company needed a small car to widen
range. He set Maurice Wilks and Robert Boyle, both to become key
figures at Rover, to design and produce a prototype of a small
engined car at his home Braunston Hall near Rugby in a similar way
Herbert Austin had done with the Austin Seven earlier in the
The outcome of their work the Rover 7 HP or Scarab was unlike any
previous Rover design with a Rover Patented engine, transmission
rear suspension layout. The rear mounted O.H.V fan-cooled 60
twin engine was of 839 cc. The ladder frame chassis was of
design with coil spring sliding pillar front suspension and coil
swing axles at the rear with a pivoting support member giving zero
stiffness. The four-seat tourer body was a simple affair of wood
framing clad with steel sheet of compact dimensions, the car being
designed down to a price of £85. Unfortunately the engine
proved to be rough, noisy and prone to overheating. With the
of Colonel Frank Searle from Rover in 1931 the Scarab didn't go
production as it was considered too radical and at the same time
Spartan by the Rover management.
1930. At the beginning of
decade, there was only one twin cylinder engined four wheel car
produced in Britain, that was the Jowett 7 HP. It was a product of
evolution with a specification similar to other small car of the
except for the engine, which was an evolved version of the earlier
Jowett twin. The 7HP was produced from 1930 until 1936 when it was
replaced by the 8HP,the last Jowett twin cylinder car. A further
evolved model again mirroring the style and construction of its
contemporary's. Production of the 7HP amounted to 11,444 examples
1937 Jowett 8HP
1931. The DKW FA was the first
in a long line of DKW
twin's that would influence many other makers designs for
next sixty years. The difference between the P15 and the FA was
drive train, the FA having front wheel drive. The FA 's
transmission layout, was as common practice at the time on front
drive cars, with the with final drive at the front, next came the
gearbox and at the rear the engine. The difference was the transverse
engine/gearbox installation. The 490cc engine produced a modest 15
giving it a maximum speed of 47mph (75 kph). The suspension was as
innovative as the transmission being independent using twin
leaf springs front and rear of the ladder type chassis.
In Czechoslovakia the Aero
company produced their first twin cylinder
car the Aero 662. The 662cc, water-cooled, two-stroke, inline
twin cylinder engine was located at the front of the leaf spring
suspended chassis, driving a three speed gearbox, then a live rear
without a differential. It was produced from 1931 until 1934 with
production total of 2,615. Between 1933 and 1934 Aero produced the
Type 20, with 998cc engine producing 28 bhp. Two thousand five
and forty six were made.
AERO 662 saloon
1932. The only other British
the 1930's was the BSA FW32
only produced in 1932 with 100 made.. It was a four wheeled
the BSA Three-Wheeler Twin of 1930. Both models used an air-cooled
twin of 1021cc, based on a Hochkiss design that drove the
sprung front wheels. The three wheeled version was produced from
1933. In Czechoslovakia
produced a rear engined prototype
the V570, with an air-cooled, OHV,
horizontally opposed twin cylinder engine, but it was not put into
In Germany Standard
Fahrzeugfabrik began manufacturing the Standard
Superior. It was
the designs of Josf Ganz. It had 396cc
horizontal parallel twin two-stroke water-cooled engine
on the backbone chassis just ahead of the
rear swing axles which it drove. From
1928 onwards, the idea of a people's
car with a rear mounted
air-cooled engine, all independent springing
a backbone frame was promoted in Germany by an engineer and
Josef Ganz. Ardie a German motorcycle manufacturer produced an
experimental car with a forked backbone frame the Ardie Ganz, in
Adler a German manufacturer produced another Ganz prototype in
In 1933 the first of his designs to go in production was the
It cost RM1590, or £78 at the 1935 exchange rate.
At the motor show in
Berlin Carl F.W. Borgward presented the
new car "Goliath
400". It was fitted with 2 cylinder ILO engine
cc that produced 12 HP.
In the end of 1933 it was
joined by the Hansa 500, which
was equipped with a 2 cylinder ILO engine of 494 cc that produced
The maximum speed's were
and 44 mph respectively. In 1934 a
convertible saloon was also produced. The purchase prices lay
to version between 1650 and 1720
Towards the end of
Everhard Bungartz, director of the newly
established company Bungartz & Co., contacted Josef Ganz
wanted to develop and build a small car according to his patents.
Technically the new Bungartz
Butz model was very similar to the
Standard Superior, introduced one year earlier. It featured a
chassis, a mid-mounted engine, and independent wheel suspension
swing-axles at the rear.
The Bungartz Butz was
available in two basic versions: the Butz
Cabrio-Limousine and the Butz Touren-Wagen. Both versions were
two-seaters. The Butz had a plywood body covered in artificial
and fitted with metal wings. Unfortunately, only few copies could
sold from the year 1933 to 1934.
The DKW front wheel
drive series of cars were produced throughout the nineteen
a range of models with the names F2, F4, F5, F7, and F8, combined
Reichklasse, Meisterklasse and
Meisterklasse Luxus in various combinations. They began
Reichklasse, with a
fabric covered wooden
body in 1932 . The engine as fitted to the FA was now increased to
cc, producing 18bhp, and from 1933 the engine had been redesigned
incorporate the idea's of Adolf Schnrle to improve the porting.
Approximately 17,000 were produced by
1934. In 1934. they introduced a revised model the F4. The
was now increased to 692cc, the spur gear
primary drive to the gearbox was replaced by a chain. The F5
with a 692cc engine and the F5 Reicksklasse with a 584cc engine,
with a dead rear axle, were produced between 1935 and 1936 with
produced. The F7 with the same two models was made from 1937 to
with 80,00 produced. The final model of the 1930's was the F8
Reichsklasse, with a 589cc engine was made from 1939 to 1942 with
Jawa was a Czech
motorcycle manufacturer, they began car
production at this time with the Jawa 700. It
similar in design if
not bases on the current DKW and was produced from 1934 to 1936.
also made the 600 Minor , similar in design to the 700.
With the onset of
in Europe in 1939, as the military had no
use for economy cars production came
to a stop as factories were converted to arms manufacturing, not
resumed until well into the next decade.
Across the Atlantic, war
didn't come for another three years with car
production carrying on as usual. In 1939 production began of a
economy car, completely alien to the USA, the Crosely.
Powel Crosley, Jr., of Cincinnati, Ohio, owner of Crosley
Corporation developed an ultra light car for the American
with the assistance of his younger engineer brother Lewis Crosley.
had an fan-cooled twin cylinder engine of 638cc, producing
This was located at the front of the cart sprung chassis.
it was crude even by microcar standards and initially sold for
Only 5757 examples were
produced in the next four years, even though it
was the last car to go out of production in the USA before war
material production took over.
The Nineteen Forties
At the beginning of
the nineteen forties all of Europe was at war or affected by war
there was very little opportunities for private motoring.
the exceptions mentioned above , economy car production had ceased
and wouldn't resume until late in the decade. By the time some
manufacturers in Europe were ready to resume car production its
political and in some cases in national landscape had changed.
Jawa in Czechoslovakia had been
secret throughout the German occupation on a new model, but with
advent of peace came a new communist government, state direction
industry dictated that that the new car would be called the Aero Minor
and be produced in a Skoda plant. It had the 615 cc, twin cylinder
two-stroke engine mounted longitudinally at the front of a
chassis driving the front wheels. Independent suspension front and
rear, was by transverse leaf springs. In production from 1946 to
over fourteen thousand were
Aero Minor 11
The DKW plant at
Eisenach in Upper Saxony, Germany, was now in a new state the DDR,
a communist state and the factory was nationalised. Production of
F8 was restarted in 1948 as the IFA and continued until 1955.
Sweden had managed to avoid getting involved in the
fighting Saab 92 Power
during the Second World
but could not avoid the lack of new cars, as most cars had been
imported before the war. The Swedish aircraft manufacturer Saab
opportunity to diversify by producing a small car. In the early
nineteen forties they felt that with only one customer, the
government they were very vulnerable. Their solution was to
to manufacture cars. Before the Second World War Sweden only had
motor manufacturer Volvo and most cars were imported. Until the
imports stopped due to the war, DKW cars were becoming
popular in Sweden, so SAAB decided to design and produce a car
in principle to the DKW but incorporating the latest design
The first car the "92", designed by two Swedish engineers Gunnar
Ljungstrom designed the car while Sixten Sason designed the body.
Having limited manufacturing capabilities Ljungstrom opted for a
twin-cylinder two-stroke engine, located in front of the front
transversely with the gearbox in line and the final drive behind,
the minimum space inside the wheelbase, which could then be
for passenger space. (This was the layout used in the Trabant,
by IFA in the DDR for thirty plus years). The car had a low drag
unitary chassis/body, rack and pinion steering and all independent
suspension with torsion bar springs. Just over twenty thousand SAAB
92’s were produced in six years when discontinued in 1956
introduction of the SAAB 93 in 1955. This had a similar layout to
DKW F9, also with a three cylinder two-stroke engine.
The "Dyna" was
Panhard version of the
Gregiore designed "Aluminum Francais-Gregiore" mentioned
J.A. Gregiore sold drawings of the A.F.G. to Henry J. Kaiser in
United States, and to Hartnett in Australia, but neither took it
further and submitted prototypes to Simca and Panhard in France.
Dyna Panhard, was based on the A.F.C, but Panhard made many
the design while retaining the principle features of the Gregiore
design. First produced in 1946, with a 610cc engine that produced
25bhp, weighed 1052lb and could reach 60mph. n 1950 the engine
increased to 750cc producing 33bhp and a top speed has risen to
despite a weight increase of 220lb. By 1954 an 850cc engine was
standardized on all models.
Also that year the original Gregiore devised chassis that had been
for Panhard by Facel Mettalon. It was replaced in a new model, the
54, but it was still constructed of aluminum, as was the body. The
54 was a six-seat car and could reach 80 mph, on 42bhp. In 1957
aluminum construction was replaced by steel with an increase in
of 440lb.The Dyna 54 was replaced by the PL17 in 1959, the most
prolific model, with one hundred and thirty thousand examples
The last of the breed the 24CT, which was the last Panhard car
was a 2+2 coupe made from 1963 until 1967. Citroen had taken over
company in 1957 and from 1967 Panhard only produced armoured cars.
Despite it's advanced layout the Dyna had not been properly
and was expensive to produce never reaching mass popularity.
A Citreon 2CV
Citroen had started work on the 2CV in
1938 and had 300 prototypes running in France. That car was
put into full scale production due to the advent of war. The war
were spent totally revising the design. It took until 1948 before
car was first shown to the public at the Paris Show. Citroens aim
to provide rural France with a car that would replace the horse
trap, as Henry Ford had done for America with his model T thirty
before. To carry up to four people at speeds up to 40MPH along
country roads in a car that needed a minimum of maintenance at
cost, required an exceptional design and the 2CV was that. Every
of it was new from the power train to the basic almost crude body.
Initially the air-cooled flat twin engine was of only 375cc
the 2CV Power Train
It was at the front of a platform chassis, with the drive going to
front wheels with at first, simple universal joints at both ends
drive shafts. This didn't matter at first due to the low
and the need to keep the cost down. The drawings also show the
suspension devised to deal with those country roads. Long travel
leading arms at the front, were linked to long travel trailing arm
the rear by rods that operated on coil springs located at the side
the chassis. Suspension movement at the front was transmitted to
spring and then to the rear by the linkage, leading to a smother
To make the car as usable for it's designed purpose, the body was
simple with most components removable to provide access and space
required. The 2CV at first glance could be taken
a crude car but looks are deceiving and where it mattered
was produced to a high standard, with hydraulic brakes, inboard at
front and rack and pinion steering. The engine was increased to
in 1954 and later 602cc, but performance wasn't what the 2CV had
designed for, it was as a work horse. Total production was
2CV's alone by 1990, not counting the models derived from it.
nineteen fifties was the beginning of the boom time of the twin
cylinder engine car, with at least twenty different models in
production at some during the decade.
The pre-war management of Auto
Union set up in business
in Ingolstadt, West Germany after the war, at first making spare
for the remaining DKW cars produced before the war. But by 1950,
producing new a DKW car in the form of the F-89 New
was made in Düsseldorf also in West German. Based on the pre-war
but with the 684cc engine moved ahead of the front wheels in a new
chassis and clothed by the body designed for the F9. This was in
production from 1950, by 1954 when production of the F89 ceased
had been made.
Drawing of a DKW F89
began producing the Goliath GT700 in 1950. It had a 688cc
water-cooled, two-stroke, inline twin cylinder engine, mounted
transversely as the DKW f-89. It was located at the front
drive to the front wheels. About 1952 the fuel system was
Bosch fual injection. Thirty six thousand were
1955 an 886cc version
the GP900 was produced, both twins were discontinued
The small Gutbrod
Superior model was produced from 1950 to 1954 using the
front-mounted twin-cylinder two-stroke engines initially of 593cc.
April 1953 the engine size was increased to 663 cc for more
'Luxus 700' versions of the car, while the standard model
be offered with the original smaller engine. Claimed power output
20 hp (15 kW) for the base version, while for the larger engine 26
(19 kW) or 30 hp (22 kW) was claimed according to whether fuel
came via a carburettor or a form of Bosch fuel injection. 7726
were produced before the
factory was forced to close.
Werke GmbH of
Bremen, Germany, began production of the Lloyd LP 300 in 1950, it
twin cylinder two-stroke engine of 293cc. located at the front of
tubular backbone chassis, driving the front wheels, suspension
and rear was by twin transverse leaf springs and the steering was
and pinion. The body was of wood
and fabric. There were also LK estate and LC coupe versions.
18087 were made before it was replaced by the LP400, with a 386cc
engine In 1953 now with a steel body. A
total of 109,878 examples of the LP,LK and LC versions of the 400
produced between 1953 and 1957. In was joined by the LP,LK and LS
models in 1955 with a 596cc engine, and then in 1957 the
Alexander model . The company became bankrupt in 1961 with 176524
the larger engined models produced.
A Lloyd LP600
Hans Glas GmbH, of Dingolfing, German, produced a range of
twins under the name of Goggomobile,from
to1966, and after the
factory was taken over by BMW production continued until 1969.
an air-cooled, twin-cylinder, two-stroke, rear mounted engine
the rear wheels via swing axle. The first model the T250 had a
engine producing13.6hp. In1957 the T400 with a 392cc engine
18.5bhp, was added to the range. Over 280,000 saloon's and coupes
Drawing of a
The FSO Syrena 100/101/102/103
manufactured by the Fabryka
Samochodów Osobowych (FSO) in Warsaw,
from 1955-66. They had a
twin-cylinder, water-cooled, two-stroke engine
of 746cc, mounted longitudinally at the
front driving the
wheels. 177,234 were made by FSO and during its remarkably
production run it
underwent only minor modifications.
An FSO Syrena 102
The AWZ P70
"Zwickau" was a car made in East Germany by VEB Automobilwerke
Zwickau (AWZ) between 1955 and 1958. After 1958 AWZ was
the former Horch factory to the VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke
and called Sachsenring P70.It succeeded the IFA F8 using
same 684 cc two cylinder, two-stroke
engine but with a completely new glass fibre body. An estate version was
introduced in 1956 followed by a coupé in 1957. It was replaced
by the Trabant P50 in 1959 after about 36,000 had been made. The
output of AWZ P70 was 36,151 cars.
Kei car, or
( "light automobile"), is a Japanese category of small vehicles,
introduced in 1949. It wasn't until 1955 when all classes of
to 360cc could be utilized that practical small cars were
The first was the 1955 Suzuki Suzulight SF
of cars that
closely followed the specification of the Lloyd 400. They had a
two-stroke, air-cooled twin-cylinder engine, but very few of this
model were produced. Full production only starting in 1962,
There hadn't a British twin cylinder
car since 1939, after
the war when Jowett
only produced a light van
twin, they stopped that in 1952.
The next British twin was miniature sports car,
produced by the Berkeley
Caravan Company from 1956, the Berkeley Sports SA322.
a wide experience producing GRP caravan bodies and used their
to produce a GRP chassis body assembly. Power was provided by a
Anzani twin-cylinder 322 cc
two-stroke engine producing 15 bhp (11 kW; 15 PS) and mounted transversely
the front wheels via a chain and three speed gearbox. One
and sixty three examples were produced by 1967 when the similar
Excelsior engined SE328 replaced it. This was produced until 1958
1259 examples made. The las t of the Berkeley twins was the B95
B105 models. These were fitted with twin-cylinder Royal
Enfield 692 cc
four-stroke engines, with the 40 bhp (30 kW; 41 PS)
Super Meteor engine in the B95 and the
50 bhp (37 kW; 51 PS) Constellation unit in the
About two hundred of these were produced between 1959 and 1960,
Berkeley failed due to a falling caravan market.
Fiat Nuovo 500
At Fiat Danti Giacosa's only design with a two-cylinder air-cooled
engine was the Nuova
two/plus/two-seat car, it was the true replacement for the
at the bottom of the Fiat range that had had a four cylinder
engine. With a wheelbase fractionally
over six feet and a length under nine feet, it was also a
weighing less than five hundred kilos. The 479cc engines in the
production cars was so under powered with only 13 BHP that
recalled and an up rated engine that produced 16.5 BHP was fitted.
final 500F of 1965 had a 499cc engine producing 18 BHP, sufficient
get to 70 MPH and a fuel consumption of 55 MPG. In production
1975 with almost three pound nine million made.
A version of the Nuova 500 was
Styr-Puch in Austria in 1957, with their own flat-twin air-cooled
engine and swing axle drive and suspension. The Styr 650TR of
1969, was the hottest 500 model made and a competent rally
BMW had been
micro car since 1955. In 1957 they introduced a compact four-seat,
wheeled mini car based on the Isetta. A 582cc version of their
known air-cooled flat twin engine that was located at the rear of
car. The BMW 600
shared with the Isetta the distinction of having a
door at the very front of the car. Almost thirty five
BMW 600's were produced by the time it was superseded by the BMW 700 in
1959. The 700 was a development of the design of the 600. The
size was increased to 697cc, but the biggest change was the fitting of a new body
designed by Michelotti.
Production continued until 1965 and a total of 188,121 examples of
type were produced. An unusual feature of these cars, was the
independent front suspension system used on the cars, probably the
time it was used in any design thousand 600's were made.
The Vespa 400 was
Piaggio companies only mini car. It was a two seat car with 393 cc
two-stroke air-cooled twin cylinder engine giving it a maximum
55 MPH. Thirty four thousand were made in the Piaggio factory in
from 1957 until 1961,
The next model
from VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke, the Trebant P50, was
1957 and it would stay in production until 1989 in almost original
with over three million produced. An 595cc air-cooled version of
cylinder engine driving the front wheels was mounted in a type of
unitary chassis frame. This was clothed in plastic body panels in
similar manner to the present day Smart cars. The panels were
from waste products from other industries, cotton waste from the
industry and Phenol from the dye industry. Front and rear
was by transverse leaf springs and wishbones and steering by rack
pinion. Only minor changes were made for the later P600 and P601
until the twin-cylinder engine was replaced in 1989.
A 1967 Trebant P601
The first NSU designed car to go
into production since 1928 the Prinz was a
with a 583cc
transverse inline air-cooled twin cylinder
engine producing 20BHP. An unusual feature of the engine was the
Ultramax eccentric strap drive for the overhead camshaft. The
construction chassis was independently sprung with wishbones at
front and swing axles at the rear all with coil springs. The Prinz
produced from 1958 until 1973 and almost six hundred thousand were
made. A pretty little coupe version the Sports Prinz was produced
1959 to 1967. The engine was tuned to produce 30BHP and it had a
The first car bearing the
was introduced in 1958. It had a twin cylinder
two-stroke engine 0f 360cc located at the rear. Only six hundred
four were produced that year, but the rate of production had
over twenty two thousand in 1961. This model later with a larger
was in production for fourteen years.
In 1958 Glas, the makers of the Goggomobile introduced a totally
different cars, in two forms the T600 and
T700, both with water-cooled horizontally opposed
four stroke twin cylinder engines of 584cc and 688cc respectively.
transmission was also different to previous Goggomobiles in being
the old classic layout of front engine and rear wheel drive using
live axle. In 1959 the Goggomobile name was dropped and Glas
Isar was substituted. Over ninety thousand examples of
estate versions were produced before production ceased in 1965.
There was an interesting newcomer to the to the light car world
Holland in1959, in the form of the DAF600. Its air
flat twin engine
mounted at the front was not unusual for the time, but the drive
to the rear wheels was. It
consisted of a variable ratio
belt drive controlled by the depression in the engines inlet
this ensured an optimum engine performance. Starting in 1961 the
went through various models with the twin cylinder engine, rising
an initial 600 cc to 750
cc in the 33 to 844 cc in the 44. From
1967 until 1972 a version with a Renault four cylinder engine of
cc the 55 was also produced . Well over half a million of these
cars were produced by 1973 when the type was discontinued. The
models where badged as Volvo’s.
In 1960 Fiat introduced
the "Gardinera", a 499cc station wagon with a similar inline twin
cylinder engine as the Nuova500, but with cylinder horizontal. The
was located under the floor at the
of the car. With
a slight increase in wheelbase and the weight increased to five
and seventy kilos, it was a four seat car with a luggage area
over the engine. It remained in production until 1977 when 327,000
Also in 1960, a Fiat subsidary Autobianchi,
utilised the Nuova500,
platforms to produce the the Bianchina range of models
of a convertible,
a four seat saloon, an estate car and a van version the last two
platform, at their
Desio factory. Over a quarter of a million of all types were
by 1970 when production ceased.
R360 first produced in 1960 was their first car. It was in
car category, with a rear mounted 360cc Vee twin engine driving
rear wheels and was in production until 1966.
type A10, in
production from1960 to
1962, was Mitsubishi"s first car since 1921. It was a small two
door saloon with a 493cc, air-cooled, inline twin-cylinder
stroke engine located at the rear. With independent suspension all
round and a maximum speed of 56 mph. This was replaced by the Colt
600. with a 594cc engine otherwise the same specification,
in production from 1962 to 1965.
Also in 1962
introduced the Minica
360. which had an air-cooled two-stroke
twin-cylinder engine of 359cc, located at the front, driving a
Two-stroke Minica's were produced until 1972.
In 1961 Citroen introduced the Ami 6.
CV platform was fitted with
a 602 cc 22 bhp engine and a odd four door body. It was produced
1971 and over a million examples were produced. A revised version
AMI 8 was introduced in 1969 and produced until 1978.
Toyota made the first of
in 1961 for the Japanese market. With
a twin cylinder, horizontally opposed, air cooled engine of
cc, producing 28 bhp, in a front engine/rear wheel
drive chassis. An updated model with a 790cc engine was produced
1966. This in turn was superseded by the Toyota 1000, which
basic version with the twin cylinder engine installed.
Another Toyota twin was the Sports 800 of 1965. It was fitted with
790cc engine producing 45 bhp. Over three thousand were made
Honda introduced their first front wheel drive car in 1966 the
N360. It was
fitted with a transversely mounted air cooled O.H.C four
stroke parallel twin cylinder engine. Honda had extensive
this type of engine in their motorcycles. Other versions were the
N500, and N600, 1967 to 1973, that had engine sizes to match the
Over 1.1 million examples had been produced by 1971 when the "N"
cars were replaced.
Daihatsu began production
a model in the Kia car category in 1966 the Fellow.
With a water-cooled two-stroke twin-cylinder engine of 356cc
23hp. It had a front engine, rear wheel drive layout. It was in
production until 1970.
Citroen produced a more
civilised, stylish version of the 2 CV in the
million examples were produced between 1967 and 1984.
first with a 435 cc engine , later with of 602 cc engine first
the Ami 6.
Subaru replaced the 360 with the R2 in
still with a air-cooled two-stroke engine of 356cc. This was
with a water-cooled version in 1971 and production ceased in 1972.
The Nineteen Seventies
Daihatsu's replacement for
Fellow, was the Fellow
First produced in
1970, it had a 360cc two-stroke twin-cylinder engine,
the front and driving the fronf wheels. To take advantage in
regulations, a 547cc single overhead camshaft for-stroke
engine substituted for the two-stroke engine in 1976.
wa carried over to a new body shell in 1977, the name be changed
Max Cuore. Production ceased in 1980.
Honda began producing the
Z range of
miniature coupe's based on the N range mechanicals,
from the Z360 Kei cars to the Z600
which was for sale in markets other
than Japan. Production ceased in 1972 with over forty thousand
replaced the R2 in 1972 and was in production until 1992.
time the rear mounted 258cc two-stoke engine was replaced with a
four-stroke until that was later increased to 490cc then finally
Fiat produced a replacement for 500 in 1972 the Fiat126,
was a revamped 500 with a new body shell. It was initially
Italy, with production in Poland by FSM as the 126p beginning in
1973. The engine capacity in a later model the Polish built hatchback 126bis introduced in
was increased to
704cc, with a
new water-cooled unit.
Over four and a
half million were produced before production ceased in
The 126 was
also made by Zastava In Yugoslavia.
Minica with a single overhead camshaft, four-stroke engine
introduced in 1972 and was in production until 1989. As with the
Subaru, the engine capacity was increased as regulation's allowed.
In 1976 Citroen introduced the LN,
utilized a shortened Peugeot 104 platform with a 602cc Citroen
air-cooled twin-cylinder engine. It was later increased to
Citroen introduced another new model based on the full
Peugeot 104, platform
of the Visa the Special, was fitted with a 652 cc version of the
venerable air-cooled flat twin at that time was still in use in
CV. The Visa Special was in production until 1987.The LN was produced
1986, alongside the Ami 6 until 1976, the Diane until 1984 and
from 1978, also the 2CV that out lived them all.
The Nineteen Eighties
In 1980 Fiat
introduced the Panda. One version, the Panda 30, was
fitted with 652cc twin-cylinder air-cooled engine as fitted in the
126, of the time, but located at the front driving the front
Daihatsu Mira L55 series was first produced in1980,
Max Cuore. Again with the 547cc engine.
version the L60
Cuore was produced along side the L55 from 1982. Both were
Before the merger with Peugeot
1976, Citroen had developed a replacement design for the Ami and
models. This was not persuade as Peugeot designs were utilized. In
nineteen eighties Citroen began a joint venture with the Romanian
Government to produce a small car and shelved Citroen design was
basis of the new car. Named the Oltcit, it
produced in two engine configurations, The Club had the air-cooled
from the GS and the Special was fitted with a 652cc version of the
classic air-cooled twin. The Oltcet was produced from 1984 until
with under various names in the later years. It seems that the
Government could not pay Citroen any income from the deal, but
were allowed to have completed cars to sell. These they badged as
The twin-cylinder Axel the Club, was only sold in Romania, from
The Nineteen Nineties
In 1991 Fiat replaced
the front wheel drive Cinquecento,
again produced by FSM in Poland. There where two basic engine
a transverse four and a fore and aft mounted 704cc water-cooled
developed from the 126bis unit. The later was produced only for
market. The Cinquecento was in production until 1998.
Fiat Cinquecento 704
The Twenty First Century
the beginning of
the twenty first century there were no new twin cylinder engined
cars for sale, except what is classified as a quadricycle in
Europe, such as the Aixam
and Microcar, with a specification and performance similar to the
cars and nineteen sixties European minicars of the period, with
performance limitations that exclude them from all but urban
they cannot be considered mainstream for today. Never the less,
are miniature cars in every other respect.
The Tata Nano,
produced in 2008, has to be viewed in the same manner. It also has
modest performance that if it was on sale in
Britain, it would be confined to the slow lane on the motorway
heavy trucks. The 624cc rear mounted engine producing 38ps, is
comparable to those fitted in many millions of small cars of the
but more is expected from even the smallest car in the twenty
In 2010 Fiat added an
option for its latest 500 model
at first glance seemed to harking back to the first 500, it being
a twin-cylinder unit. But there the similarity to any previous
twin ended. At 875cc it was larger than any twin since the
fifties Panhard. It had a novel form of valve gear first used in
four, this combined with a turbocharger gave it a power output at
that compared well with current normally aspiring 1.3 litre fours,
only sixty percent of the fuel consumption and emissions.
In 2011 the TwinAir was an option in the Fiat Panda and in 2012 in
Fiat Punto and Alfa Romero Mito.
This brings us up to date
with the story of the twin-cylinder engine. I am sure there be