When we talk about boxer engines, our thoughts immediately turn to the famous 4 and 6 cylinder engines that have marked the history of the Porsche brand. The ancestor of these engines developed by the engineers of the Stuttgart company was a small motor air-cooled 4-cylinder boxer, first mounted on the Beetle in 1938.
Adolf Hitler wanted Volkswagen to provide German citizens with a cheap and economical car that could carry up to five people. The project was entrusted to Ferdinand Porsche and the Beetle, which was not mass-produced until after the war, has become one of the most iconic and popular models in history with more than 21,529,464 units sold.
From 1.0 to 1.6 liters
Volkswagen’s small 4-cylinder boxer engine featured a crankcase and cylinder head made of alloy special aluminum and magnesiumair cooling and a valve timing system.
The first version built had a displacement of 985 cc, but it was the later variant of 1,131 cc, launched in 1945, which was chosen for the mass production of the Volkswagen Beetle and the Volkswagen Type 2, the commercial model better known as Bulli. This engine with a compression ratio of 5.8:1 could deliver a maximum power of 24 or 29 hp and a torque of 68 Nm at 2,000 rpm.
Volkswagen T1 from
In 1950, it was the turn of the 1.2 liter (1192 cc) engine, called Type 122, which increased the compression ratio to 7.3:1 and which, on the Beetle, produced a maximum power of 41 hp and a maximum torque of 88 Nm at 2,400 rpm. Later in 1967 a 1493 cc 4-cylinder boxer engine developing 45 or 54 bhp was introduced, from which a larger 1584 cc (Typ 126) power unit was later derived, increasing engine power .
From 1.7 to 2.0 liters
The robustness of this engine led Volkswagen to develop and introduce in 1968 on the family car Type 4known as the 411/412 and an evolution of the 1500 and 1600, a new larger, heavier but also more powerful 4-cylinder engine.
It had a displacement of 1,679 cc, a compression ratio of 7.8:1 and could deliver maximum power and torque of 76 hp and 127 Nm respectively. Also used in the Volkswagen Porsche 914the 1.7-liter 4-cylinder boxer was joined by two less powerful versions: the first with 1.8 liters and 68 hp and the second with 2.0 liters and 71 hp.
Volkswagen 411 Variant
To replace the last generation of the 4-cylinder air boxer and to meet the new emissions policy, Volkswagen launched in 1982 a new engine for the Type 2 only. He brought with him interesting technical solutions such as liquid cooling and culasse Herona special type of combustion chamber in which ignition takes place in the piston space and not in an area of the cylinder head.
Known as “water boxer“, this engine was offered not only with two different displacements (1.9 and 2.1 liters) and outputs of 60 and 111 hp, but also with different carburetor and injection systems.
|985 cc||1938-1942||24 ch||Volkswagen KdF-Wagen, Kübelwagen|
|1 131 cc||[1945-1953||24 to 29 ch||Volkswagen KdF-Wagen, Kübelwagen, Beetle, Type 2|
|1 192 cc||1950-1991||30 to 41 ch||Volkswagen Beetle, Type 2|
|1 493 cc||1961-1971||45-54 ch||Volkswagen Beetle, Puma|
|1 584 cc||1966-1989||42 ch||Volkswagen Beetle, Type 2, Type 3, Karmann Ghia|
|1 679 cc||1968-1983||76 ch||Volkswagen Type 4, Type 2s, Porsche 914|
|1.8 liters||1968-1983||68 ch||Volkswagen Type 4, Type 2s, Porsche 914|
|2 000 cc||1968-1983||71 ch||Volkswagen Type 4, Type 2s, Porsche 914|
|1,914 cc liquid||1982-1992||60 to 90 hp||Volkswagen Type 2|
|2,109 cc liquid-fueled||1982-1992||87 to 111 ch||Volkswagen Type 2|