This beautiful image shows a WWII era Spitfire starting its V-12, 27-litre (1,650 cubic inch) Merlin engine.
The Merlin was (arguably) the most successful aircraft engine of World War II – variants were built by Rolls-Royce in Derby, Crewe and Glasgow, as well as by Ford of Britain at their Trafford Park factory, in the north of England. The Packard V-1650 was a clone of the Merlin built in the USA – it was fitted to the North American P-51 Mustang as a replacement for the poorly performing Allison V-1710 engine.
The North American P-51 Mustang was transformed by the addition of the British engine and saw a significant boost in power, high-altitude performance and speed.
To download the wallpaper, click the image and then click it again. You can read more about the Merlin engine here.
This image was taken by the talented SAC Graham Taylor of the RAF Coningsby Photographic Section.