This was the first engine to be produced by the Allison Division of General Motors. The prototype engine ran in 1931 with an output of 650 hp at 2400 RPM. By 1936 a major redesign resulted in 1000 hp at 2600 RPM. The Curtiss P-40 was the first production aircraft to use the V-1710, which was rated at 1060 hp at 2950 RPM. The original North American P-51 was powered by a version producing 1150 hp. The engine was also used in the Bell P-39 and P-63 fighters with the engine mid-mounted, requiring a long drive shaft passing below the pilot. By the end of the war engines were producing over 2000 hp.
The engine on display is an early production F-model built in 1941 for the twin-engine Lockheed P-38D/E that used superchargers driven by the exhaust gas. The engines were built with internal changes that resulted in the propellers turning in opposite directions to help alleviate the torque effect. The letter L in the –F2L designation indicates that this engine was fitted to the left wing of the P-38. 540 of these engines were built. Later models produced one hp per pound of weight.
The Allison engine was a contemporary of the Rolls-Royce Merlin in the UK. Both were liquid-cooled
V-12s that saw continuous development during WW2. However, the Allison engine was initially developed for maximum performance at lower altitudes making it more suitable for ground attack and medium altitude fighters.
Technical Details: (F2L model)