Lamborghini V12

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Lamborghini V12
Lambo V12 F1.JPG Lamborghini's V12 Formula 1 engine
at the Lamborghini Museum
Automotive industryLamborghini
Type60° V12 engine Petrol engine
Engine displacement3464 cc,
6192 cc,
6494 cc
Block alloyAluminium alloy
Head alloyAluminium alloy
Valvetrain2xOverhead camshaft,
initially 2-valves per cyliner,
later Multi-valve
Fuel systeminitially Carburettor,
later Fuel injection
Fuel typeGasoline
Oil systeminitially Wet sump,
later Dry sump
Engine coolingWater cooling

The Lamborghini V12 is a V12 engine designed by Lamborghini and was the first Internal combustion engine ever produced by the firm. It first entered production in 3464 cc (3.5 Litre) form in the Lamborghini 350 GT, the first car ever produced by the carmaker.

There are many versions of the story of its development - some say it is derived from a Honda Racing F1 Formula One design, others say that Giotto Bizzarrini borrowed heavily from his own F1 design. Both were 1.5 litre V12 racing engines and the Lamborghini unit has similarities to both.

In any case, when Ferruccio Lamborghini set out to provide Ferrari with competition, he contracted Bizzarrini to design the engine for his car and, according to some accounts, paid him a bonus for every horsepower over what Ferrari's V12 could produce. The finished product was such that, with minor modifications and improvements, the very same engine (in 6.5 litre form) powers the current V12-engined Lamborghini Murciélago LP640, and is estimated to finish its service for Lamborghini with the coming version of the Murcielago, the Murciélago SV [1].

The engine was designed from the start to be a "quad cam" - 2xOverhead camshaft (two cams per cylinder-bank) 60° V12 - as an intentional snub by Mr. Lamborghini of Ferrari's single-cam per-bank design. When the 3464 cc prototype was tested in 1963, it was able to produce 370 Horsepower (Convert/kW PS) at 9000 rpm - a figure of almost 107 bhp (Convert/kW PS) per litre, and unprecedented at the time. Bizzarrini famously insisted that the engine was mechanically capable of reaching an astonishing 400 bhp (Convert/kW PS) at 11000 rpm with an uprated fuel system, but the design was judged adequate, and when fitted with production carbs, all the auxiliary systems and detuned for road use, the engine still made an impressive 280 bhp (Convert/kW PS). For reference, compare the 3.5 litre V12 to the 3.8 litre Straight-6 engine in the 1968 Chevrolet Camaro which produced 140 bhp (Convert/kW PS).

Over the years, the engine has nearly doubled in displacement, seen the modification of the heads to allow four valves per cylinder, the replacement of carbs with Fuel injection and the replacement of a Wet sump lubrication system with a Dry sump. However, the engine that powers the current Murciélago can trace its lineage directly to the F1-inspired design of Bizzarrini and his team more than forty years ago.


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