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Classic Velocity Blog

Lime Rock - The Engine Bays

Classic Velocity

No matter what the form of the car show or event, everybody wants to see what is under the hood. I have found that even at the more art-of-the-automobile concours, where the coachwork is the star of the show, there is a desire to see what the jewel under the louvered hood looks like. In some cases, the motor is an impressive work of art in its own right. Accordingly, for all of us engineers, I am secretly planning to have an engine concours, where the manicured lawn contains row upon row of engine stands with motors on them. Perhaps I'll call it Horses at the Hamptons, or some such elegant moniker. Coveralls will be the only suitable attire.

For those interested in vintage iron, it is quite normal to have an engine or 3 lying around in a corner of the basement, garage, barn, or shed. It is either waiting to be rebuilt and re-inserted into the vehicle from whence it came, or it is a parts motor, or it is the dead or problematic remnant from a past project. These engines may not always be glorious and shiny, and they may not exceed factory performance specs, but they hope to get back into an engine bay soon.

At Lime Rock, I realized that I had more than a few pictures of engine bays, and that they represented yet another view of the diversity on display. Engines were in the front, in the back, and in the midst. They were long and narrow, short and fat, tall and short. They were longitudinal and lattitudinal. They were water-cooled and air-cooled. They were high horsepower, and low. They were all interesting. My favorite of the weekend was the straight six in the BMW 3.0 CSL (batmobile). Although I am very biased toward air/oil cooled engines, there is something about multiple sidedraft Webers that stirs the soul. I had a pair on my former 2002, and the sight and sound was glorious. On this weekend, it even beat the beautiful E-Type Jaguar motor, a very hard thing to do. then again, who can deny the appeal of a mid-engined Ferrari viewed through the glass. And what about race engines ?

When I have the concours, I may want to have them displayed in their engine bays, but without the rest of the car to distract the viewer's focus. Yes, that's it, "Beauty in the Bay".