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Liberty L-8 (Packard) V-8 Engine


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Legend, Memory and the Great War in the Air exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

The Liberty's purpose was American mass production of standard units when the U.S. entered World War I. Co-designed in a week in mid-1917 by Jesse Vincent of Packard Motor Car and Elbert Hall of Hall-Scott Motor Car, with a planned series of 4-, 6-, 8-, and 12-cylinder models, this Model L-8 was the first Liberty engine. However, power requirements made it obsolete before entering service, and the twelve-cylinder Liberty was then built.

To ensure workable engines in the shortest time, only proven components were used. The Liberty's success was due entirely to the fact that the best engineers, production experts, and manufacturing facilities were provided to the Government. Leading automotive manufacturers, including Ford, Lincoln, Packard, Marmon, and Buick, built the engines.

The Liberty 12 Model A powered numerous aircraft including the de Havilland DH-4, the Navy-Curtiss NC-4, Fokker T2, Loening Model 23, Douglas World Cruiser, Douglas M-1 Mailplane, and Curtiss H-16 flying boat.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


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


  • Elbert J. Hall
  • Jesse G. Vincent

Credit Line

Transferred from U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C.




  • 3-D: 134.6 × 68.6 × 94cm (53 × 27 × 37 in.)
  • Support: 50.8 × 69.9 × 48.3cm (20 in. × 27 1/2 in. × 19 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Physical Description

  • Type: Reciprocating, 8 cylinders, liquid cooled, dual ignition, V-type
  • Power rating: 216 kW (290 hp) at 1,700 rpm
  • Displacement: 18 L (1,649 cu in.)
  • Bore and Stroke: 127mm (5 in.) x 178 mm (7 in.)
  • Weight: 261 kg (575 lb)


PROPULSION-Reciprocating & Rotary

Inventory Number