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Digital Subscriptions > Diesel World > April 2019 > ALL IN THE FAMILY PART 1


How do you get six exhaust pipes out of a four-cylinder engine? The experimental 135 hp two-stroke Model H race engine used a Cummins interpretation of the Uniflow system used by GM. On the block, you can see the inlet manifold lining up with the ported sleeves and inlet ports that were scavenged by a crankshaftdriven Switzer-Cummins blower at about 3 psi. On the exhaust side, the head was the standard H unit, but the Siamesed intake and the exhaust ports were all used to exhale—and that’s how you get six exhaust stacks on a four-cylinder engine. The pump was an updated SD. Persistent rumors state that Cummins tossed this engine into a river after the Indy race. Here’s proof that that is a completely busted myth.

Every manufacturing company has a foundational product. Sometimes, that product comes right away, but for the Cummins Engine Company, that foundational product came over a decade after its 1919 beginning. Its direct offspring continue in production today.

Much of founder Clessie Cummins’ early efforts with compressionignition technology involved the HVID system (pronounced “veed”). He quickly learned the limitations of HVID and moved past it, but his thinking also extended beyond engine designs and into engine markets.

First On-Road Engine

By the end of the 1920s, Cummins saw a diesel market in the automotive realm—“automotive” meaning anything operating on the highway. Due to technical barriers, automotive diesels were generally regarded as impractical in this era and weren’t being widely pursued. Working toward an achievement in that realm, Cummins repowered a used 1925 Packard limo with one of the company’s most modern engines—a four-cylinder Model U marine diesel. Normally, this engine made 40 hp at 900 rpm, but Cummins tweaked it to make 60 at 1,300; and, in January 1930, he went on the road to make some news.

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