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Tatra T955, aircooled W18 engine from 1943.

A W18 engine is an eighteen cylinder piston engine which usually has a single crankshaft with three banks of six cylinders arranged in an inverted broad arrow configuration.

An early example is the Isotta Fraschini Asso 750 which was used to power the Italian Savoia-Marchetti S.55 seaplanes flown by Italo Balbo into Century of Progress exhibition held in Chicago in 1933. This engine used the same layout as a recent series of engines produced by Bugatti - basically a vertical six with three adjacent banks of cylinders set at 60° each to make a W-18.

In 1967, Scuderia Ferrari engineer Franco Rocchi built an experimental 65×50mm, 498 cc W3 engine, effectively a single crankpin module, in order to assess the potential for a 3-litre W18 Formula 1 engine.[1] Although the engine developed 80 bhp at 11,000 rpm and 160 bhp per litre, the idea was abandoned. Subsequently in 1972 Formula 1 rules were changed to outlaw the use of engines with more than 12 cylinders. Rocchi used this module as the basis for a 3½ litre W12 engine for Life Racing Engines in 1988, although this was infamously unsuccessful.[1]

Recent W18 engines powered the Bugatti EB 118, Bugatti EB 218, Bugatti 18/3 Chiron and Bugatti EB 18.4 Veyron concept cars in the late 1990s. This engine featured three banks of six cylinders set 60° apart. The W18 engine was abandoned due to shifting problems.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ludvigsen, Karl (2005). The V12 Engine. Sparkford, Yeovil: Haynes Publishing, 356–357. ISBN 1-84425-004-0. 
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