This is one of fewer than 400 examples of the Marmon V16 engine that were made, it’s an advanced American-made design with an aluminum block and heads, overhead valves, cast-aluminum valve covers, and cross-flow heads.

In the late 1920s there was a three-way arms race between three major American automakers to get new V16 engines into production for their most high end cars. These companies were Cadillac, Peerless, and Marmon, and this period would be one of the most memorable in American automotive history.

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Image DescriptionGiven the displacement of 491 cubic inches, or 8.0 liters, the Marmon V16 has a relatively compact and lightweight design when compared to its rivals.

Marmon began development of their V16 in 1926, it was to be a state-of-the-art design by the standards of the era, but its development process was slow and ultimately it would be Cadillac who were first to market with their V16 design in 1930.

To be fair to Marmon, it’s worth noting that their development was slowed when Cadillac poached Marmon senior engineer Owen Nacker from the project. The Marmon V16 would debut in early 1931, it was lighter and more compact than Cadillac’s design, however the Great Depression had descended across the United States in 1929 and few had the funds for high-end new V16 luxury cars.

The Marmon V16 would remain in production from 1931 through to 1933 before the company collapsed and production ceased. Fewer than 400 V16-powered Marmons had been built, and today they’re among the most highly-sought after American luxury cars from the Great Depression era.

The engine you see here is an early-production example from approximately 220 that were manufactured in the Marmon V16’s first year of production, with number 16587 stamped on the block.

As noted above these were advanced engines, with aluminum crossflow cylinder heads and overhead valves instead of the far more common flathead, non-crossflow engine designs that were commonplace at the time.

The engine has seamless nickel chromoly cylinder liners, aluminum pushrods with steel rocker arms, 6.0:1 compression ratio aluminum pistons with forged-steel fork-and-blade connecting rods. It has a displacement of 491 cubic inches, or 8.0 liters, and it’s capable of 200 bhp, a phenomenal amount of power for the time.

This specific Marmon V16 was previously installed in the custom Waterhouse-bodied 1932 Marmon Sixteen owned by Alta Rockefeller Prentice, when that vehicle’s original engine was undergoing a two year rebuild.

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Image DescriptionThis engine is in complete condition inside and out, and the rotating assembly is said to turn freely.

This engine is now being offered for sale in complete condition, it hasn’t been run since its removal from the Alta Rockefeller Prentice Marmon, but it’s noted that the rotating assembly moves freely, the cylinders were fogged before storage, and the crankcase is partially filled with oil.

It’s now being offered for sale out of Macedonia, Ohio with a fan, flywheel, clutch, and rolling display stand. This is a pickup-only sale, and you can visit the listing on Bring a Trailer here.

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Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer

Published by Ben Branch -