The Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 is almost certainly the most famous aircraft engine in history, I’m sure there are other contenders of course but I’m convinced the Merlin has them beat.
Although most believe the engine is named for the famous wizard of the same name from the legend of King Arthur, it’s actually named after the Merlin bird of prey (Falco Columbarius), a species of falcon that’s been a popular falconry bird for centuries.
Rolls-Royce began developing a new aero engine in the early 1930s, it was initially named the PV-12 which stood for “Private Venture 12-Cylinder”, as the engine has been developed without any government financial assistance. This seems almost laughable now considering how much the Allied governments of the world would eventually rely on the engine that the PV-12 would become.
Rolls-Royce Merlin Engine – Basic Specifications
The Rolls-Royce Merlin is a 27 liter (1,650 cu. in.) V12 with an aluminum alloy crankcase, aluminum alloy cylinder blocks with high-carbon wet steel liners, and aluminum alloy heads.
Phosphor bronze was used for the exhaust valve guides with cast-iron used for the inlet guides, four valves are used for each cylinder – two inlet and two exhaust. The inlet valves are steel with “stellited” ends as are the exhaust valves, though the exhaust valves also have sodium-cooled stems.
Each camshaft operates 24 rockers, with 12 on each side and each valve has twin concentric coil-springs. The 12 pistons are lightweight alloy, each is uses a forged nickel-steel connecting rod, which is attached to a forged nitrogen-hardened nickel-chrome molybdenum steel crankshaft.
Initially the Merlin produced approximately 1,000 hp, but by the end of the war this number had over doubled, and Merlins were reliably producing well over 2,000 hp.
The Merlin Engine Shown Here
The engine you see here is mounted to a display stand and finished to a very high degree of quality throughout, it also comes with a rare Merlin tool kit containing almost everything you need for servicing the engine.
Over the years since the end of WW2 Merlin V12 have been fitted to an astonishing variety of vehicles, from cars and boats to tanks and just about everything in between.
If you’d like to read more about this engine or register to bid you can click here to view the listing.
Images: ©2019 Courtesy of RM Auctions