18 Cylinder Cold Start – What A Beast Of An Engine

Take a look at this 18 cylinder tractor engine. This is a glimpse of what it’s like to start the engine cold. It takes a few cranks to get Herbie going, but once everything is in motion there is no stopping it for sure. The engine finally roars to life and begins to settle in to a nice loping purr after a few minutes.

A couple of things to notice before we get too far in. For starters, this is not an airplane engine. At first glance it might look like it is such, but that’s not the case. This is actually a modified Curtiss Wright 18 cylinder beast.

She has a fifty four liter capacity. That means you get 3 liters per cylinder. That is pretty impressive. What’s more impressive is the horsepower output. That ranges anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 depending on your need for speed. The long and short of it is you don’t want to get in the way of this gal when she really gets going.

The other thing to notice is that there seems to be a lot of smoke. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the engine. What you are looking at is the phenomenon that happens when you have an 18 cylinder cold start. A lot of times the oil settles to the bottom of the engine and it takes a bit of time to express it out through the exhaust. Once it does, it runs pretty clean.


What is Really Going On

The really incredible part about all of this, though, is what the engine is actually used for. This is a tractor pull competition motor. This sport, or spectacle as some would say depending on who you are, was wildly popular in the south for a good bit of time. Then, it seemed to make its way around the nation and became somewhat of a nationwide phenomenon for a bit in the United States. Some of you who just watched the video probably had a nostalgic throwback and knew exactly what that engine was for. The tractor pull circuit is still alive and well in the United States; it is just not as popular as it once was. It has certainly taken a back seat to other sports like Nascar and dirt track racing of all things.

However, the sport is huge in the Netherlands. Take another look at the video and you’ll notice that the people in it are not native to the United States. This was actually shot in Zwolle, Netherland. The engine was produced by the Herbie racing team. They are seen in the video making sure the engine is prepped, and ready to go before each pull.

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Team Herbie competed in the European pulling event known as the European Super Bowl. This year the event will be held in Ahoy, Rotterdam on March 7, and so far has over seventy pa