I just watched a documentary on Ford's experimentation with an X-8 design engine. Apparently they tried a number of different versions, air & water cooled, flathead & overhead, etc. All this circa 1920, concurrent with Model T production. One thing for sure, Ford's thinking didn't seem to be locked into the I-4 of the T.
This got me wondering if Ford had a fascination for short engines. After a brief fling with 6's, they continued to make a inline 4's until they started making the V-8. Perhaps there was some perceived technical or financial advantage to short crankcase castings, or maybe short crankshafts, or something else ?
I'm not arguing the relative benefits of the 6's. Just wondering if there is some common theme running through the I-4, X-8, and V-8.
I think he was trying to balance things. If he had a short crankshaft with 4 cylinders around it, he could make a smoother running engine with all 4 cylinders turning a single crank journal or 2 journals. It would also balance the torsion on the crankshaft. With a straight in line engine, you have a lot more potential for twisting a crankshaft. I think the x8 would be more adaptable for an aircraft engine than for a car.
Thanks for bringing this up. It is a treat to see that marvelous creation again.
Made several of these a few years ago. Not exact by any means, but they look neat.