|The Merlin Engine|
Packard V-1650 "Merlin" Engine
The V-1650 liquid-cooled engine was the U.S. version of the famous British Rolls-Royce "Merlin" engine which powered the "Spitfire" and "Hurricane" fighters during the Battle of Britain in 1940. In Sept. 1940, the Packard Co. agreed to build the Merlin engine for both the American and the British Governments, and adapted it for American mass-production methods. The first two Packard-built Merlins to be completed were demonstrated on test stands at a special ceremony at the Packard plant in Detroit on August 2, 1941. Full production began in 1942 and by the end of World War II, more than 16,000 Merlins had been produced in the U.S.A. The Army Air Forces used the engine almost exclusively in the famed P-51 "Mustang", for it provided greatly improved high-altitude performance over the Allison V-1710 engine used in earlier series of the airplane. The V-1650 Merlin also replaced the V-1710 in the "F" series of the P-40. The British also used Packard-built Merlins during the last three years of the war in their "Spitfire", "Mosquito", and "Lancaster" airplanes.