Cylinder and Piston, Liberty 12 Model A V-12 Engine


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Cylinder and Piston, Liberty 12 Model A V-12 Engine

Collection Item Summary:

Liberty 12 Model A

The Liberty was co-designed in a week in mid-1917 by Jesse Vincent of Packard Motor Car and Elbert Hall of Hall-Scott Motor Car. They set out to design an engine with maximum power and minimum weight that would lend itself to mass production, and planned a series that would include 4-, 6-, 8-, and 12-cylinder models. To ensure a workable engine in the shortest possible time, they used only proven components. They succeeded: the first 8-cylinder engine was delivered in early July.

Demand for lower-power engines was already being met, and wartime experience showed the need for high power, so only the 12-cylinder model was produced in quantity-20,478 of them. They were manufactured by Packard, Lincoln, Ford, General Motors, and Nordyke and Morman. Liberty-12s powered many aircraft types, but most were built for the de Havilland DH-4.

Collection Item Long Description:


Circa World War I

Inventory Number


Physical Description

  • Type:
  • Reciprocating engine, 12 cylinders, V-type, liquid cooled
  • Power rating: 449 hp at 1,940 rpm
  • Displacement: 27 l (1,649 cu in)
  • Weight (dry): 383 kg (844 lb)
  • Liberty engine cylinder and piston; liquid-cooled; dark green; has valves, springs, piston with rings and wrist pin.

Credit Line

Transferred from the U.S. Air Force



Country of Origin

United States of America


Diameter 13 cm (5 in.), Length 51 cm (20 in.)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


PROPULSION-Components (Engine Parts)

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