The Engine That Won World War II – Jay Leno's Garage

With 1390 hp, Jay demonstrates the power and engineering of the Merlin 1650-1 engine that was the heart of the P-51 Mustangs and the Lancaster bombers in World War II.
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A new video every Sunday! Visit Jay Leno’s Garage, the Emmy-winning series where Jay Leno gives car reviews, motorcycle reviews, compares cars, and shares his passion and expertise on anything that rolls, explodes, and makes noise. Classic cars, restomods, super cars like the McLaren P1, sports cars like Porsche 918 Spyder and Camaro Z28, cafe racers, vintage cars, and much, much more.

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The Engine That Won World War II – Jay Leno’s Garage

Jay Leno’s Garage


  1. I lived 30 minutes away from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum from birth into my early 20's! It is actually in a town called Mount Hope, at the airport there, which is about a couple hours away from Toronto. They had an airshow every year that my father and I used to attend. So many great memories there. If Jay ever sees this, I have a patch from the museum I'd love to send him. 🙂

  2. I've recently watched another video about the P51 Mustang which used the Merlin Engine.
    I learned about the cooling scoop using the Meredith Effect. "The Meredith effect is a phenomenon whereby the aerodynamic drag produced by a cooling radiator may be offset by careful design of the cooling duct such that useful thrust is produced by the expansion of the hot air in the duct."

  3. A lot of Americans don't realise we Canadians fought in WWII from the start.
    3 years before the USA joined the fight.
    Thank you for the recognition Jay!

  4. Our High school had one of these amazing engines thanks to a great teacher and friend, Don Pridham. He was a pilot, a A&P mechanic and later became a teacher of auto/power mechanics at Estancia H.S. in Costa Mesa CA. This motor would be fired up during open house and other school events. If you really want to understand the power and volume it put out (Noise) run it at night and the hxaust manifolds will glow bright red with a flame 3-4 feet coming out of a collector exhaust. A legend this motor is and a legend he was. Rest in Peace Don.

  5. The Merlin is a fascinating engine, and certainly contributed to the war, but the 270 straight six was the engine that won the war. Powered the deuce and a half, ambulances, command vehicles, and more Above all it was the engine responsible for the success of the red ball express – no supplies = no Army.

  6. Gosh… I'd surely like to know if it is known what this engine was originally was used in… or from what it originally came… Any idear, there? Thanks to Jay…! Loved it.

  7. I think the engine that won the war was the GMC 270 straight six. Half a million were produced during the war. Of course there were several important engines, including the Merlin, but you can’t fight a war without trucks. Lots of trucks.

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