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Rolls Royce vs. Packard:Who Built a Better Merlin?
#1
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Garrett Meadows
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Posted on: 2020/2/6 20:04
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Re: Rolls Royce vs. Packard:Who Built a Better Merlin?
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Packard Newbie
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Great article Garrett - thanks for posting. Chris.

Posted on: 2020/2/6 21:11
'If you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right!' Henry Ford.
1939 Packard Six, Model 1700
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Re: Rolls Royce vs. Packard:Who Built a Better Merlin?
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Steve
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Great read, very informative.

Posted on: 2020/2/6 21:29
Steve
Old cars are my passion

1951 Packard 200
1953 Packard Clipper Custom Touring Sedan
1955 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer Tri-tone
1966 Rambler Classic 770 Convertible
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Re: Rolls Royce vs. Packard:Who Built a Better Merlin?
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JWL
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Merlins were being built by four manufactures by the end of the war: Rolls Royce, Packard, Ford and Continental. The main requirement by the RAF was being able to change engines, regardless of who made them, with no changes to the aircraft in which they were being installed. Regardless of which was the better engine, Packard's accomplishments in building a manufacturing facility of 100,000 square feet in the matter of several weeks and making more than 55,000 of these engines is something to take notice. There is more - much more - to this story.

Posted on: 2020/2/7 12:31
We move toward
And make happen
What occupies our mind... (W. Scherer)
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Re: Rolls Royce vs. Packard:Who Built a Better Merlin?
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RogerDetroit
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Hello JW,

You listed Ford as a manufacturer of Merlin engines, I suspect you mean Ford of England as Henry Ford refused to build the Merlin in the USA. FOE produced Merlins at Trafford Park, Stretford, near Manchester and total production at Trafford Park was 30,428.

You also listed Continental. Only 6 development engines were made by Continental Motors, whereas Packard produced 55,523.

Graham Kozak's article briefly mentioned the issue of thread sizing.
From http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/ ... rd-thread-systems-265742/

"An often asked question is; "did Packard replicate the British thread system when they built Rolls-Royce Merlins under license during World War II?" The answer is yes; all threads that were used on the Merlin were accurately replicated by Packard. This would include BSW (British Standard Whitworth), BSF (British Standard Fine), BSP (British Standard Pipe) and BA (British Association)." ..." The job facing Packard when they undertook manufacture of the Merlin was daunting to say the least. It's bad enough having to build a complex product like the Merlin but exacerbating the situation was the fact no tool maker in the U.S. made Whitworth taps or dies. Therefore, Packard were forced into making their own. Although this created a significant hurdle to overcome, the effort was well worth it, Packard and Rolls-Royce components were interchangeable."

BTW, Graham Kozak is a member of Motor City Packards and a volunteer at the PPG. You can read more about this young man here: https://autoweek.com/authors/graham-kozak

Posted on: 2020/2/8 10:28
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1941 Model 160 Convertible Sedan
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Re: Rolls Royce vs. Packard:Who Built a Better Merlin?
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JWL
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Roger, thanks for the additional info on the Continental-built Merlins. I was not aware of the number they built and that they were only in the beginning developmental phase. Yes, Ford of England as the third manufacturer. I guess one could surmise that a Lancaster bomber - in the later stages of the war - could have engines from three manufactures. I don't know if this was ever the case, but it was a possibility. I am aware of the difficulties Packard had in matching the English threads, just one of the many things they had to deal with in manufacturing the V-1650. Thanks for pointing this out.

Don't hold me to this too hard, but I believe all the Mosquitoes built in Canada were powered exclusively by the Packard-built Merlins. They were built in Canada because of the rich timber resources in that country. They were then ferried to England for service.

As I wrote, there are many chapters to this story.

Posted on: 2020/2/8 12:29
We move toward
And make happen
What occupies our mind... (W. Scherer)
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Re: Rolls Royce vs. Packard:Who Built a Better Merlin?
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58L8134
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At a Hershey in the 1990's, while looking over a '40 Packard I struck up a brief conversation with an older gentleman. He volunteered he started his engineering career at Packard and had been assigned to the Merlin project. He was very proud of the job they had done preparing for volume production such a complex machine which had been largely low volume with a great deal of hand-fitting of components. Along came his friend, we went our separate ways, but still wonder who he was. Hershey is great for such encounters, part of the fun.

Steve

Posted on: 2020/2/12 17:51
.....epigram time.....
Proud 1953 Clipper Deluxe owner.
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Re: Rolls Royce vs. Packard:Who Built a Better Merlin?
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Bob
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I think the first qualification/clarification you have to make is to define 'BETTER'.

Better for performance?
Better for economics?
Better because of less maintenance? I understand Packard put gaskets where RR never considered putting them.

Better is a subjective term.

My neighbor across the runway restored a Spitfire that had been in the Normandy Invasion. In his research he found that Packard had made improvements to the RR design. He found a Packard Merlin and installed it. His big mistake was taking it to Oshkosh (the Hershey of aviation) the year Glaciar Girl showed up, so he only got Reserve Grand Champion.

It was fun sitting on our deck every day seeing that Packard roar down the runway....and especially see it do a low pass at full bore!

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Posted on: 2020/2/12 20:02
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Re: Rolls Royce vs. Packard:Who Built a Better Merlin?
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Tim Cole
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I'm not much of a war "buff" because the dead aren't here to express their opinions. However, judging from how many Rolls-Royce motorcars ran without engine work into the late 1970's I don't see any argument against hand built motors.

As well, the engines were built to RR specifications and prior to Packard were holding off the Germans single handed.

Posted on: 2020/2/13 9:12
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Re: Rolls Royce vs. Packard:Who Built a Better Merlin?
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bkazmer
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It's not really an issue of the build quality of an individual engine. The Packard manufacturing process meant you could have more planes and keep them able to fly more often.

Posted on: 2020/2/13 9:48
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