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History of Engines

Attached is a piece I wrote for "Car and Trucks" some time ago.

The mechanical wagon with the awful name ‘automobile’ has come to stay….” Quoted from the New York Times, 1897.

No matter how far back we go in the automotive industry or how far advanced these engines become, it is still is a matter of accuracy and standing behind what we do that defines the services we provide.

The early days of the automobile as we know it:

In 1885 Gottieb Daimler invented, what is regarded as the prototype for gasoline engines as we know them today. On January 29, 1886, Karl Benz received the first patent for a Old cylinder head.gasoline powered car. Three years later, in 1889, Wilhelm Maybach built the first 4 cylinder four stroke (4 cycle) engine.

Panhard & Levassor were the first car manufactures in 1889 followed by Peugeot in 1891. Daimler and Benz were just getting started but they only used their cars to test their engines which they made money from by licensing their patents and selling engines to other full line manufacturers.

The first American commercial automobile manufacturers were Charles Duryea and his brother Frank. They were bicycle builders who became fascinated with gasoline engines and automobiles. They built their first motor vehicle in 1893 in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Duryea Motor Wagon Company sold 13 models of what was then considered an expensive limousine by 1896, which remained in production well into the 1920’s.

Contrary to popular belief, the first mass produced automobile was actually built by Ransome Olds in 1901. Olds invented the original concept of the assembly line and started the automobile industry in Detroit.

Into the auto industry steps Henry Ford. Mr. Ford built a vastly improved assembly line and was the first to install a conveyor belt-based assembly line around 1913-1914 in Highland Park Michigan. Mr. Ford’s first car, the Quadricycle, was built in 1896 but his success however came after he formed the Ford Motor Company in 1903. The model T was introduced in 1908 and by 1927 the Ford Motor Company had manufactured 15 million cars!

Do you know who and when the first complete automotive electrical system was developed comprising a magneto ignition, spark plugs, lighting system, generator and regulator? It was Bosch in 1913.

That being said, cylinder heads and engines for that matter, haven’t changed that much over the years. Is this guy kidding????????? It’s true! The materials, specifications, designs, overhead cams, Variable Valve Timing, fuel injection, titanium valves etc all are fairly recent innovations.

ALL engines require a set of specifications that must be rigidly adhered to by technicians and machine shops alike. In that regard, the machining process hasn’t changed at all. The expertise and accuracy of what we do has must improve along with the design changes that the automotive industry is implementing. Does anyone really care that an engine using a Multi Layer Steel (MLS) head gasket has to have a micro inch finish of 15-25 ra versus 50 to 60 ra for a composite gasket? I certainly don’t. I put my trust in the shop doing the work to know that kind of information. Have you ever asked your shop if they have a profilometer to measure that?

We have machined cylinder heads from the early 1900’s on up to today’s latest designs. We’ve built antiques, muscle car engines and cylinder heads, circle track, drag race, granny grocery getters and everything in between. If it’s long distance we stay in touch via the Internet using e-mails, pictures and video. We always involve you in the repair process so that we fully understand your expectations of us and then we strive to exceed them.

From gasoline to diesel, L.P. gas, CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), hybrid, import to domestic, Packard to Citroen, we can handle all your cylinder head needs.

Southeast Cylinder Head
1438 West Anderson Street
Orlando, FL 32805

Toll Free: 855-791-0132
Phone: 407-730-9777