Marvel At This Tiny Flathead Four-Cylinder Engine

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It's small, intricate, and amazing.

If you have ever wanted to build your own tiny engine, a company called Stirlingkit has been making scale engineering marvels for a while. Its latest piece is a 17.5cc (1.06 cubic-inch) water-cooled motor measuring just 5.3 x 1.7 x 3.5 inches.

In the video below, you can see the kit version being assembled, including the intricate valvetrain. The engine can be built and left on the stand as a display piece, but it's also designed to power radio-controlled cars, with its high-torque specs being most suited to 1/8 or 1/10 scale rock crawling models.

YouTube / JohnnyQ90

The engine is based on the old-school flathead design made popular by Ford's early V8 that kicked off the hotrod movement in the 1950s. That means the valves are on the side rather than the modern method of placing them on top of the cylinders and it runs on gasoline. Although it comes as a kit, a vice is needed to put wrist pins through the connecting rods and the valve lifters need to be kept to tolerances. The kit costs $999.99 (only $750 for the first 50 purchases) but you can also buy the finished version for $1,049.99. However, you'll also want the starter kit with spark plugs and a cooling system to go with the engine assembly.

YouTube / JohnnyQ90

When the YouTuber starts the engine constructed in the video it sounds rough and likely needs a break-in period. After a while, though, and with an increased idle speed, the engine starts to smooth out and sounds excellent when revved up. Unfortunately, the starter motor fails, but the YouTuber promises that when a replacement arrives, he'll build a three-speed transmission for the engine.

Before anyone decides to go ahead and build an RC car for the engine, it's worth noting that most gas-powered RC car engines are two-stroke units. For the size needed, simplicity is best for reliability. However, as a fun project and bragging rights, the Stirlingkit I4 engine looks and sounds fantastic. For fun, we're now tempted to hit the buy button and build a new RC Ford Mustang drift car for the engine.

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