Built by the Allison Division of General Motors for the Army Air Force in 1930, the 1710 cubic inch, 12 cylinder liquid-cooled engine was the first envisioned to run at 1,000 horsepower. The early models powered such notable aircraft as the P-40 Warhawk, and the P-51A Mustang. Intermediate models powered the twin engine P-38 Lightening, where the engines actually ran in opposite direction of rotation from each other to help balance the aircraft. The engine served throughout WWII with a final Turbo-Compounded version producing 2,800 horsepower.
Its only flaw was progress, which lead to the invention of the Gas Turbine (or “Jet”) engine. After it was retired from military service, countless surplus examples were used in Unlimited Class Hydroplane Race Boats, where it became the standard to beat. In all, the V-1710 was one of the most notable reciprocating engines ever built; it’s infleunce being felt to this day in both Aviation and Automotive design.