The Most Reliable Engines Ever Made

Last Updated on January 22, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

Among the most reliable and high-performance engines are some engines from Chevrolet, Ford, Cummins, Volkswagen, and Ferrari. In this case, they are the Ford Flathead V8, Chevrolet Small Block V8, Cummins 6BT, Volkswagen Flat 4, and the Ferrari Colombo V12, among many others. These engines are not the most powerful, although they are the most reliable of all those ever built. 

Key Takeaways

  • The Ferrari Colombo V12 engine was designed by Gioacchino Colombo and was used in a variety of Ferrari models between 1947 and 1988
  • The Volkswagen Flat 4 engine was used in various Volkswagen models, including the Volkswagen Beetle and the Volkswagen Type 2
  • The Rover V8 engine was based on the Buick 215 V8 and was produced under license by Rover
  • The Duesenberg Straight 8 is an eight-cylinder engine and it was a very popular engine choice for Duesenberg’s luxury cars

The 7 Most Reliable Engines Ever Made

Ferrari Colombo V12Excellent performance and power that allowed to win a wide variety of competitions.
Volkswagen Flat 4The engine was produced for 70 years due to its reliable and safe use.
Cummins 6BT
The engine withstands high workloads requiring minimal maintenance and offers a long service life
Rover V8Improved V8 type engine that was used in several Rover models
Chevrolet Small Block V8One of the most efficient and long-lasting engines used in small trucks and cars
Duesenberg Straight 8One of the most powerful engines during the 1930s
Ford Flathead V8The first V8 engine with an affordable cost aimed at the masses of people

What Are The Most Reliable Engines Ever Built?

The engines of a vehicle are the main part of the heart of the whole machine. However, different engines have different designs, as they are not equal to each other. This is how we can learn about the most reliable engines that could have ever been built. 

While these engines are not the most powerful, they are the ones that offer formidable performance. This set of engines mentioned below has delivered great results to a small group or the general public at large.

Ferrari Colombo V12

One of the most reliable early engines is this Ferrari model. In particular, it is an engine designed by Gioacchino Colombo who also worked on some engine designs for Alfa Romeo together with Enzo Ferrari. This engine was the first of its kind to be of the V12 type. 

Moreover, it was one of the most eligible engines to participate in Formula 1 racing. In the first year of this engine, six victories were achieved, which marked Ferrari’s great success. Also, this engine grew from 1.5 liters to 4.9 liters over the years.

This is how we heard about this engine in the 250 GTO. Even the wide variety of achievements and evolution allows this engine to be an undisputed part of the most reliable engines ever built.

Volkswagen Flat 4

Of course, many people would not choose the original Volkswagen Beetle as their primary vehicle. Anyway, it is necessary to consider that the 4-cylinder engine in this car was built 70 years. So, this marks the great success and great reliability of this engine. This air-cooled engine was manufactured between 1936 and 2006.

In fact, in those years control of the Volkswagen factory passed into British hands. In those times the British army required some cars and the Germans needed to produce them. So, Ivan Hirst got the British military to buy 20,000 units of the original Beetle. From this moment on, Volkswagen only achieved excellent results by continuing the production of this engine.

Cummins 6BT

This engine was originally designed for construction and agricultural equipment. Therefore, the design of this engine had to be able to withstand a high workload. Therefore, the high workloads allowed this engine to offer good performance and reliability. That is why this particular engine began to be used in many Dodge trucks.

Thanks to the high performance of this engine, not too many refinements will be required when used in large trucks. A minimum level of maintenance was required to reach 350,000 miles. In this regard, the engine produced approximately 440 lb-ft from torque power with a turbocharger bolted to the 6BT of this engine.

Rover V8

In the beginning, this engine was called Buick 215. Compared to the other engines, it was a powerful option, considering its light and small size. However, some design problems arose producing inconveniences in the use of this engine.

Rover’s chief operating officer saw the potential of this engine and acquired the tools and rights. This is how the Rover V8 came about after some changes were made to the original design.

Thus, this engine was used in several Rover models and was one of the most reliable that this manufacturer could produce between 1967 and 2006. In turn, specifically, this engine was one of the main reasons why many people decided to buy a Rover and get rid of their previous vehicles.

Chevrolet Small Block V8

It was 1955 when Chevy took some ideas from Ford regarding the power of V8 engines. In this case, Chevrolet was trying to develop an engine that was efficient and also highly durable. This is how the Chevrolet V8 small block became one of the most reliable engines of its time and to this day.

Even the production of this engine was designed to be included in cars and small trucks. At first, this engine had 4.3 liters and produced 160 horsepower. Over the years it was upgraded to a 6.5 L engine to generate 330 horsepower. Also, in 1996, this engine with the latter characteristics was used for the Chevrolet Corvette.

Duesenberg Straight 8

Despite what would have happened if this company had manufactured and sold more units, this company closed in 1937. However, at that time it had already manufactured one of the most reliable engines in the world. In this case, it was a 6.9-liter inline 6-cylinder engine that offered 265 horsepower. This was possible before the addition of a supercharger.

So, once the supercharger was added, power had risen to 320 horsepower. At the time, it was one of the most powerful cars built during the 1930s. Of course, in later years cars were built that were much more powerful than what this engine offered. In any case, the functionality of this engine was highly reliable with formidable performance. 

Ford Flathead V8

Of course, this engine was not the first V8 engine in all of history. However, it was the first type of V8 engine to be truly affordable and convenient for the great masses. Just like what happened with the Ford Model T, this engine was available at an affordable cost to most people.

Also, it was not the most powerful engine, although it offered excellent characteristics due to its design. Here the lack of complexity was a positive point in lowering overall costs.