Rolls Royce Merlin

The Engine On Display

The description with the engine states:

"The Merlin was a development of the engines used by the Supermarine Schneider Trophy seaplanes which gained the World speed record in 1931. This 12 cylinder, liquid-cooled engine was first used to power the Fairey Battle bomber.

During WWII the Merlin was used in both fighters and bombers, which included the Spitfire, Hurricane, Mosquito, Lancaster, Fulmar and some Beaufighters and Halifaxes. Built under licence in the USA as the Packard Merlin, it was used to improve the performance of the Mustang.

More than 160,000 Merlins were built, the power increasing from 1050 HP to 2000 HP by the end of the war in 1945.

This particular engine was bought from Krasnostein's scrapyard in Bayswater, Perth in 1975 for $ 30 and restored by Stan Gadja, a Museum volunteer. It was built in England in 1943 by Rolls Royce, developed 1470 HP, and powered a RAAF Spitfire."

Type / History

Type V12 (12-cylinder) inline engine
Manufacturer Rolls Royce
Introduced first run 1933, first flown February 1935.
Primary users RAF, USAAF
Number built about 150,000

The development of the Merlin was commenced as a private venture, Rolls Royce seeing a coming need for an engine with a larger capacity than its then-current Kestrel. When an Air Ministry requirement was posted for new types of fighters, the new engine was ideally placed to be used by both contenders, the Hurricane and Spitfire.

The new engine suffered some teething troubles, particularly with its cooling system (originally evaporative, converted to an ethylene gylcol based system) and gearing, but these were rectified after some redesign. With the approach and passage of World War II, many design improvements, including exhaust system and superchanrging, increased the power of the engine from its initial near-1000 HP to over 2,000 HP.

The engine was also manufactured under licence in the US, as the Packard Merlin. This was the engine of the Mustang, the only allied aircraft which could be seen as a contender for superiority to the Spitfire. Of the total Merlin production, about 37,000 were Packard Merlins.

Wikipedia (See References) indicates a production total of 149,659.


Model II (early model) 66 (in Spitfire LF IX) 133/134 (in Sea Hornet)
Cubic capacity:   1649 (27.02 L)  
Maximum power: 1,030 HP (775 kW) 1,720 HP (1,283 kW) 2,030 HP (1,514 kW)
Weight:   1645 lb (746 kg)