Continental Motors Company was an American manufacturer of internal combustion engines. The company produced engines as a supplier to many independent manufacturers of automobiles, tractors, trucks, and stationary equipment (such as pumps, generators, and industrial machinery drives) from the 1900s through the 1960s. Continental Motors also produced automobiles in 1932–1933 under the name Continental Automobile Company. The Continental Aircraft Engine Company was formed in 1929 to develop and produce its aircraft engines, and would become the core business of Continental Motors, Inc.
Continental Motors entered into the production of automobiles rather indirectly. Continental was the producer of automobile engines for numerous independent automobile companies in the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s, including Durant Motors Corporation which used the engines in its Star, Durant, Flint and Rugby model lines. Following the 1931 collapse of Durant, a group having interest in Durant Motors began assembling their own cars, the De Vaux-Hall Motors Company, using the Durant body dies, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Oakland, California, and under the De Vaux brand name. When De Vaux-Hall collapsed in 1932, unable to pay creditors, Continental Motors assumed automobile assembly and marketed the vehicles under the Continental-De Vaux brand name for the balance of the 1932 model year.
Continental Motors introduced a completely new line of Continental-branded automobiles for 1933. These cars were not based upon the 1931 De Vaux, a product of the De Vaux-Hall, which had been using body dies left over from the former Durant produced by Durant Motors until 1930.
The 1933 Continentals were marketed in three model ranges: the largest and most expensive was the six-cylinder Ace, next was a smaller six called the Flyer and also the low-priced four-cylinder Beacon. The 1933 Beacon roadster was the lowest price full-size car offered for sale in the United States in the 1930s, costing only $US335. None of these met with success in the depression era economy. At this same time, Dominion Motors Ltd. of Canada was building the same Flyer and Beacon cars under arrangement with Continental for sale in the Canadian market, and importing the larger Ace models. Dominion then converted to building Reo brand trucks. The Ace and Flyer models were discontinued at the close of the 1933 model year. Finding that its cars were unprofitable, Continental stopped assembling even Beacon automobiles in 1934.
Continental was a major manufacturer of horizontally opposed 'flat four' airplane engines and supplied a similar engine for Sherman tanks during World War II. Apparently the US government contracts continued during the Korean War. As the jet engine began to replace piston engine powered airplanes, Continental began losing their military contracts. The jet engine technology thus creating an understandable end to Continental's military prosperity. When Korean War ended, Kaiser Corporation, who used Continental engines in all their vehicles, was able to gain ownership of a Continental engine making factory.* It was during that time of downsizing Continental's operations that many Continental employees dispersed to find jobs elsewhere in the industry -those engineers finding new jobs at other companies like the newly formed American Motors, even Chevrolet.
Kaiser, working with a Continental-designed engine, introduced the USA's first mass-produced OHC inline six-cylinder engine. It debuted in Kaiser-owned Jeep Corporation vehicles in the mid-1960s. However, Stutz built both single and dual overhead cam inline six-cylinder engines in, respectively, the late 1920s and early 1930s (sohc) and the early 1930s (dohc). Moreover, these were fitted in Stutz production cars (though their numbers were comparatively small).
Particular models of John Deere tractors are currently being supplied by Continental since the ownership transfer to Korea, as stated on the tractor's engine identification plate.
Automobiles that used Continental engines
The following automobile companies used Continental engines:
- (Y112 4 cyl. first Jeep during World War II)
- Checker (pre-1965)
- Continental (see above)
- De Vaux
- Durant Motors, including:
- Howmet TX (turbine race car)
- Kaiser-Frazer, including
- Kline Kar
- Morris Cowley
- Morris (manf'd under licence)
- 
- 
- Owen Magnetic
Motorcycles that used Continental engines
- Indian (pre 1953 models)
Trucks and buses that used Continental engines
Tractors that used Continental engines
Some models used Continental engines for only part of their production lifespan; others used them exclusively.
- Allis-Chalmers Model G[a]
- Allis-Chalmers Model U
- Case Model VC
- Ferguson TE-20
- Ferguson TO-20[b]
- Ferguson TO-30
- Ferguson TO-35
- International 350 and Farmall 350 diesels[c]
- Massey-Harris 44-6 and 101Sr
- Massey-Harris Pony[a]
- Massey-Harris 33[d] and 333[e] diesels
- Massey-Harris 50 / Ferguson F-40[f]
- Massey-Harris 81[g]
- Oliver Super 44
- Some Silver King tractors
- Massey ferguson 135
Continental built many engines for the US military, some by license, and many of unusual type.
Inline: several conventional gasoline I6s were built for trucks, the COA331 (licensed from REO), 6602, 22R, and AO895 (also used in some armored vehicles). Later the M-A-N licensed multifuel LDS427, LD465 and turbocharged LDT465 were developed, also for use in trucks.
Radial: in the late 1930s 7 and 9 cylinder air cooled radial aircraft engines were adapted for use in armored vehicles. The W670 and R975 were considered very reliable by the British in North Africa, but were not developed further.
Opposed: just after WWII an air cooled O6 was developed for armored vehicles. All were supercharged, AOS895-3 models had carburetors, -5 models had fuel injection with no increase in power, but greater fuel mileage.
V type: in the early 1950s an air cooled V12 engine was introduced for armored vehicles. Later the AVSI-1790 was developed into the AVDS-1790 diesel version, which was often retro-fitted to earlier vehicles.
(Vehicles often change engines during production and/or service life)
- Gun motor carriages and tractors
- Landing vehicles and carriers
- Armored recovery vehicles
(tank chassis / winch capacity)
- N-62: 62 cu in (1.0 L) gasoline 4 10 hp (7 kW)
- Z120: 120 cu in (2.0 L) gasoline I4 20 hp (15 kW)
- D193: 193 cu in (3.2 L) diesel I4 39 hp (29 kW)
- D201: 201 cu in (3.3 L) diesel I4 40 hp (30 kW)
- ED208: 208 cu in (3.4 L) diesel I4 42 hp (31 kW)
- Z134: 134 cu in (2.2 L) gasoline I4 33 hp (25 kW)
- F124: 124 cu in (2.0 L) gasoline I4 27 hp (20 kW)
- BY4112: 112 cu in (1.8 L) gasoline I4 45 hp (34 kW)
- COA331: 331 cu in (5.4 L) gasoline I6 146 hp (109 kW)
- LDS427: 427 cu in (7.0 L) multifuel I6
- LDS/LDT465: 478 cu in (7.8 L) multifuel I6 175 hp (130 kW)
- R6602: 602 cu in (9.9 L) gasoline I6
- 22R: 501 cu in (8.2 L) gasoline I6 145 hp (108 kW)
- AO895: 895 cu in (14.7 L) gasoline O6 295–375 hp (220–280 kW)
- R6572: 572 cu in (9.4 L) gasoline 6 207 hp (154 kW)
- R975: 973 cu in (15.9 L) gasoline R9 400 hp (298 kW)
- AO/AOSI895: 895 cu in (14.7 L) gasoline O6 500 hp (373 kW)
- AOSI895: 895 cu in (14.7 L) fuel-injected gasoline O6 500 hp (373 kW)
- AV1790: 1,790 cu in (29.3 L) gasoline V12 810 hp (604 kW)
- W670: 668 cu in (10.9 L) gasoline R7 262 hp (195 kW)
- AVSI1790: 1,790 cu in (29.3 L) gasoline V12 1,020 hp (761 kW)
- AOI268: 269 cu in (4.4 L) gasoline O4 707 hp (527 kW)
- AVSI1790: 1,790 cu in (29.3 L) fuel-injected gasoline V12 1,020 hp (761 kW)
- AVDS1790: 1,790 cu in (29.3 L) diesel V12 1,020 hp (761 kW)
- Leyes, p. 87
- Hodges, David (1994). The Guinness Book of Car Facts and Feats. England: Guinness Publishing. p. 256. ISBN 0851127681.
- Hemmings Motor News (print and expanded in blog), 12/10/2008
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 26
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 37
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 56
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 160
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 69
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 78
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 100
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 107
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 112
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 116
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 131
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, pp. 136-137
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 143
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 144
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 151
- Flory, J. "Kelly", Jr. American Cars 1946-1959 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Coy, 2008), p.1012.
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, pp. 169-170
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 173
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 178
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 180
- Georgano, G. N., Encyclopedia of American Automobiles, 1971, p. 177
- Stephens, Richard E. The Rise and Fall of the Stephens Automobile (self-published, 2001), p. 15
- "Allis-Chalmers G engine". Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- "Ferguson TO-20". Retrieved 30 March 2018.
- "Farmall 350". Retrieved 30 March 2018.
- "Ferguson F-40". Retrieved 30 March 2018.
- "Massey-Harris 81". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
- Doyle, David (2003). Standard catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles. Krause Publications. ISBN 0-87349-508-X.
- Foss, Christopher F. (1974). Jane's Pocket Book of Modern Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles. Collier Books. pp. 45–49. 73-15286.
- Foss, Christopher F. (2000). Jane's Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles Recognition Guide (2 ed.). HarperCollins. pp. 112–122. ISBN 0-00-472452-6.
- Leyes II, Richard A.; William A. Fleming (1999). The History of North American Small Gas Turbine Aircraft Engines. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 1-56347-332-1.
- Georgano, G. N., ed. (1971). Encyclopedia of American Automobiles. New York, NY USA: E. P. Dutton. ISBN 0-525-097929.