How Much Do You Know About Straight Engines?


By: Mark Lichtenstein

6 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

So, you think engines are awesome? Do you think you know all there is to know about every type of engine made? Today, we're going to test your knowledge about straight engines? Ready? Set? Go!

Want to take this quiz, but you're not sure you know enough about straight engines? Let's refresh your memory. A straight engine, otherwise known as an inline engine, is your garden variety internal combustion engine, just like the V engine or the horizontally opposed engine. 

The straight engine is, however, considered easier to build and, because of its design, it doesn't need as many cylinder heads and camshafts. The straight engine was once the gold standard of what came under the hood of most cars. 

However, in the early to mid-1900s, the straight engine was largely replaced by the V engine, especially in larger vehicles, because the V engine was smaller and was a better fit for the smaller front ends of today's cars. This is not to say that the straight engine is no longer used. Still, the straight six may eventually go the same route as the straight eight. Sad.

Take this quiz to find out how much you know about straight engines.

What kind of engine is a straight engine?

A straight engine is a kind of internal combustion engine, often found in aircraft and cars.


What is the difference between a straight engine and an inline engine?

The two terms really mean the same thing, except in one respect. In American aeronautics, the terms are interchangeable, but an aeronautical straight engine could actually be any number of configurations, including a V.


How many cylinders are there in a straight engine?

Straight engines can be configured with any number of cylinders.


What makes straight engines easier to build than other kinds of engines?

The engine blocks of straight engines are easy to mill out. Because of the arrangements of the cylinders, the cylinders and crank shaft can be easily milled from a single block.


What is the "flaw" of four cylinder inline engines?

Inline fours tend to rattle around. The vibrations an engine produces vary depending on the number of cylinders. Thus, four cylinder boxer engines, despite having a different configuration, also vibrate weirdly.


What order do the pistons in a straight four fire in?

In an inline four, the first and fourth cylinders fire at the same time, and the second and third fire on their turn.


Why do gearheads often favor straight engines?

Straight engines are a lot easier to take apart and fix than their more complex cousins.


How common are in line four cylinder engines?

In line fours are the most common automobile engine today.


What do you call the four cylinder in the Honda S2000?

The slant four is a fairly common configuration of engine, wherein the engine is installed at an angle, which, in combination with the chassis structure, changes the vibrations felt in the cabin.


What engine is a hybrid of the straight engine and the V engine?

The narrow-angle V had some of the advantages of the V engine, but was actually worse than the straight engine when it came to comfort.


Which aircraft uses a straight four engine?

The Tiger Moth's 4 cylinder increased visibility.


What is unique about straight engines in buses?

By mounting the straight engine horizontally, bus manufacturers can fit the engine under the floor


What was a direct result of the use of the straight eight?

The use of longer straight engines requires longer engine bays, which make the front ends of cars longer.


What technological innovation made the smoothness of the straight six not matter anymore, in relation to straight fours?

Lanchester balance shafts solved the smoothness problem with in line fours. An older technology, it was reintroduced by Mitsubishi in the 1980s.


What motorcycle was famously built around the inline four?

The Indian Four featured an inline four mounted visibly, like the jewel in an engagement ring.


What is the approximate displacement range of inline sixes?

Inline sixes sit right in the middle of the wider internal combustion displacement range, from approximately 2 liters to 5 liters.


Which car maker manufactured the first straight six engine?

Spyker, then making cars and aircraft, made the first straight six engine, though the modern Spyker tends to use V engines, usually sourced from Audi.


Which Ford still famously uses a straight six?

Australians get to enjoy the Ford Falcon, which stubbornly sticks with a straight six layout.


What are straight six engines often replaced with in modern cars?

In line sixes produce about the same amount of power as turbo-4s, but the smaller engine is much more fuel efficient, and smaller.


Which major car maker specializes in straight sixes?

BMW is still at the top of the heap when it comes to building high performance straight six engines.


Why have some car makers returned to the straight six?

The modern straight six has supplanted many V8s because it is more fuel efficient, and with modern innovations it can combine that with ease of maintenance.


What is the firing order of a straight six engine?

Like a four cylinder engine, the middle pistons fire at about the same time.


How many bearings do high performance inline sixes use in the crankshaft?

High performance straight sixes use four bearings in the crankshaft to increase torsional stiffness.


What was the displacement of the BMW IIIa aviation engine?

The BMW IIIa aviation engine was the famous WW1 straight six aviation engine. It was massive, at 19 liters.


How much horsepower did Mercedes Benz's first straight six, a 10 liter engine, make?

A Smart Car could easily overpower an early Mercedes, since that first MB straight six could only muster the horsepower of 75, while Smart Fortwo has 89.


What type of engine is the archetypal British sports car engine?

Straight six engines are as synonymous with British sports cars as drop tops and rain.


How long did Chevrolet produce its iconic straight six engine?

Chevy introduced its straight six in 1929, and kept it running, with updates, through the 1980s until they finally put it out to pasture in 1990.


What was the angle of the Chrysler Slant-6?

This slant six was in production for about twenty years, starting in the 1970s mostly in A body cars. It sat at a jaunty 30°.


What was the name of the first American engine with overhead cams?

Jeep's Tornado Straight 6 was the first mass produced American engine with overhead cams, introduced in 1963, the year the world was introduced to Doctor Who.


Which Nissan marked the auto maker's move away from the straight six?

The 1984 300ZX marked Nissan's abandonment of the straight six. The move to the V6 was due to the relative size of the engines, the sizes of other auto parts, and the dimensions of engine compartments.


Which iconic Honda motorcycle featured a straight six?

The Honda Kalkyrie was the one Japanese bike that could get you respect at a biker club. It featured a massive, heavy, loud straight six that looked like it belonged in a car. In its final year of production, Honda produced the Rune variant for enthusiasts.


When was the diesel OM603 3.0 L introduced?

Mercedes-Benz introduced the straight six OM603 3.0 L diesel engine in 1985.


In which vehicle can the diesel straight six Cummins engine be found?

Dodge Rams often feature Cummins diesel engines, which are straight sixes.


For what applications are China Yuchai International's flat six diesel engines?

China Yuchai International's straight six diesels are used in many kinds of machines, from cars to trucks to tractors to boats.


What is Rolls Royce Maritime famous for making?

Rolls Royce Maritime is known for making huge, powerful straight nine diesel engines.


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