Photo by William Maloney
Gift of Edmund L. Robinson
The "Merlin" engine was designed by Rolls-Royce Limited and was initially known as the PV-12 and produced by Rolls-Royce in England and under license by the Packard Motor Car Company in the United States. The engine was licensed in the U.S. in order to provide a 1,500 hp class engine which was not yet ready by U.S. engine manufacturers. Built by Packard as the V-1650-1 it is based on the Rolls-Royce Merlin 28.
The Merlin is considered one of the most successful aircraft engines of the World War II. It first entered service in the Fairey Battle in March, 1936 and is most closely associated with the Hawker Hurricane, and Supermarine Spitfire, North American P-51D Mustang fighters and the Avro Lancaster heavy bomber.
The engine went through continuous development with production ending in 1960 with over 500,000 Rolls-Royce engines built and over 54,000 Packard models.
In addition to the Battle, Hurricane, Spitfire, Mustang and Lancaster, aircraft that used the either the Rolls-Royce- or Packard-built Merlin include:
- Avro Manchester III
- Bristol Beaufighter II
- Curtiss P-60, P-40F/L
- de Havilland Mosquito
- Fairey Barracuda, Fulmar
- Handley Page Halifax, Halton
- North American F-82 Twin Mustang
- Vickers Wellington Mk II/Mk VI
Post-WWII, engines were sold relatively cheaply and were modified for air racing the Bendix Trophy, Cleveland Air Races and the Thompson Trophy.
This engine on display fought in WWII in North Africa with the 66th Fighter Squadron of the 57th Fighter Group. It was removed for overhaul from a Curtiss P-40L Warhawk in Libya.
This engine is located in the Military Hangar on the wall near the Douglas A-26C.
If you have any information, comments on, or recollections of the Packard/Rolls-Royce Merlin, please contact
||12-cylinder, supercharged, liquid-cooled, "V" piston engine
||1,649 cu. in.
||1,300 hp @ 3,000 rpm
Engine Collection Index