News Culture

What’s Your Favorite Engine From the Past?

Honda's B-Series four-cylinder is one of my all-time favorite engines, for its volumetric efficiency and remarkably high redline.
Chris Rosales, Andrew P. Collins

Alex Goy’s recent writeup about the Bentley W12’s swan song got me thinking about bygone engines. What’s your favorite engine from the past?

A Honda B16. Honda

There are so many goodies to pick from, but my first thought was the Honda B16. Some variants of that pokey little 1.6-liter dual-overhead-cam VTEC mill made an astounding 100 horsepower per liter without a turbocharger. And, revved to a hilarious 8,000 rpm!

I’d even argue that the B16 was a key element to Honda establishing itself as a powerhouse of sport compact performance. Versions of it were shipping in Civics for years before finally coming to the U.S. in the ’99 Civic Si and Civic Del Sol VTEC. Quick sidebar: the Del Sol Si ran a single-overhead-cam D-Series engine — only the “VTEC” branded Del Sols came stock with a B-Series engine in America.

Like many millennial sport compact car nerds, I worshiped the B series and B16A2 specifically as the heart of one of my all-time favorite cars (the aforementioned 1999 Civic Si). I had a B18 myself in my base model Integra, but alas, I had the lowly non-VTEC model. It still felt pretty swift! And of course, versions of the B18 saw duty in the fabulous Integra GSR and Type R.

I believe some aftermarket outfits are still making their own Honda B-Series engines, but I think it’s safe to say it counts as an engine from the past.

Now I’m gonna throw it to the comment section before this turns into a Honda engine history lecture … but maybe that’s a fun idea for another post someday.