22 July 2016

Reliable, durable and long-running: These are your top five six-cylinders

The question seemed simple. What is the greatest six-cylinder engine, ever? But with so many factors to consider, personal experience and exposure typically determine your choices. Grew up with a Ford 300-ci inline-six? Boom, there’s your answer. Are you from Rome and favor Alfa Romeos’ songs? You’re inevitably a fan of their Busso (named for its designer, Mr. Giuseppe Busso) V-6 series.

On Monday, we asked you the above question via Facebook. And some clear themes emerged: Longevity, reliability and production numbers. And to a large degree, the answers were much more straightforward than when we asked about V-8s. Matthew Abela got straight to business, “Mopar Slant 6 - the 170, 198 or 225, but especially the 225 for longevity and durability.” While others like Chris Slade didn’t even bother with qualifications, “jeep [sic] 4.0.”

Surprisingly, there were a few notable absences, in particular the Porsche 911’s flat-six (mentioned only once, by Lee J. Cordeiro, and in reference to a recent, water-cooled version installed in the Porsche Cayman, the M97), in use from 1963 through 1998. Also missing were Datsun’s L-series inline-six (also mentioned once) and BMW’s M30 straight-six, which initially produced 150 hp and eventually became the Formula One car-powering M88 that made over 900 hp! Incidentally, both the Porsche flat-six and BMW straight-six were among Ward’s top ten engines of the 20th Century.

It really wasn’t about flash though and perhaps Doug Campbell summarized it best, “The greatest 6-cyl ever? The one that runs like you want it when you wants [sic] it.”

Without further ado, here are your top five greatest six-cylinder engines of all time (in alphabetical order):

AMC I-6 – Andy Ray didn’t have any doubts about his selection, “Clearly, the Jeep 4.0.” And several agreed, including Andy Porter who replied enthusiastically, “AMEN!!! It was originated by Nash Motors.” But the Nash version that was introduced in 1952, also known as the 196 for its displacement in cubic inches, required maintenance more regularly than the subsequent, completely redesigned I-6 built under the American Motors banner.

Originally displacing 232-ci, the straight-six would live through various iterations, becoming the 4.0-L (242-ci) in 1986 and powering the Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Wagoneer, Comanche and Wrangler until 2006. Chances are if you drove a Jeep in the mid-‘80s through the mid-‘00s, this engine powered it. Reliability? Maybe Thomas Chiasson said it best, “The 4.0 i6 that stole my heart, for years me and my dad kicked the crap out of it and no problems other then drive train stuff...” At least the engine lasted.

Buick V-6 – The Buick mill was an outlier as the only V-6 making the list. Also known as the “3800” for its displacement (in cubic centimeters) in a later version, the Buick V-6 was first introduced in 1962 and survived in multiple guises until 2008. During that time, Buick actually sold the design to Kaiser-Jeep (who renamed it the Dauntless) and later bought the design back during the ‘70s energy crisis.

Dave Lemmenes picked this six “for durability.” While Rob Hempel felt that the engine speaks for itself, electing to weigh in but not state why he chose as he did. Perhaps because more than 25 million were built by General Motors and Jeep.

Ford I-6 – Debuting in 1941 before America joined WWII’s fray, the Ford inline-six was a production mainstay. However, most people who responded pointed to its fourth generation, which debuted in 1964, and specifically the stroked version that displaced 300-ci and was introduced the following year.

While it was mentioned multiple times and “liked” by still more folks, no one who mentioned the Ford straight-six gave any explanation. We suspect that its 31-year-long production run (from 1965 through 1996) and up to 265 lb. ft. of torque probably have something to do with it.

Jaguar I-6 – Jaguar’s inline-six saw production beginning in 1949 and lasting through 1992. While initially installed in the XK120, the engine powered multiple Le Mans winners, including C-types and D-types, as well as the prototypical British sports car, the XKE.

Only two people (myself being one) mentioned them, but the subsequent “likes” were numerous. It was also the only foreign motor that people responded to in any sizeable number. Additionally, the dual overhead cam design makes early Jaguar XK engines (until 1968) among the most beautiful and distinctive engines ever designed.

Mopar Slant-6 – Brian Wermund recalled proudly, “the slant six, leaning tower of power. Nearly indestructible! Believe me we tried.” Over its 41 years of production, from 1959 until 2000, the slant-six was produced in three varieties, from the Low-G (170-ci), replaced in 1970 by the 198-ci version, which used the same block as the larger Raised-G (225-ci) thereby lowering manufacturing costs.

Known as the “Slant-6” due to its 30 degree cant, its slanted design allowed Chrysler’s designers to lower cars’ overall hood height.

Think we got it wrong? Let us know in the comments below.

78 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Craig Anderson Central Wisconsin July 23, 2016 at 13:29
    I can't argue with Ford's 6 bangers or Chrysler's Slant 6's but I'm surprised Chevrolet's Stove Bolt 6 isn't mentioned. With an 81 year production history they must have done pretty much everything right. Having owned/own a Ford 200 I6, a Dodge Slant 6 and my 2nd 1959 235 I6 Chevrolet I think all three are nearly indestructible and are smooth runners.
  • 2
    Jeff McDaniel Chickamauga Ga July 23, 2016 at 16:09
    I'd put my 1970 Mercedes 280 straight 6 against anyone anywhere anytime. Its just that good.
  • 3
    mike rippel Ohio July 23, 2016 at 16:35
    The flathead Mopar inline 6 isn't mentioned, this was an indestructable engine that moved cars along for years. My favorite is my 205HP DOHC Oldsmobile 3.4 build in Canada
  • 4
    Jonathan Meyer Vermont July 23, 2016 at 21:22
    my vote for best 6 Cyl,engine would be the Toyota F series engine found in the Land Cruiser 4.2L and I believe it was originally a gm design.
  • 5
    David Fowler Hendersonville, N.C. July 24, 2016 at 19:25
    I was sure a fan of the 240 Ford 6. I drove a 1969 for Econoline van 467,000 miles with same engine. I did rebuild. It got crashed or would still be on road. Just before it was crashed me and two others drove it non stop from N.C. to N.W. Montana to go hunting pulling a trailer and non stop pack with no issues. It made 5 or 6 cross country trips. When they had the Cash For Cars they were required to destroy the engines by pouring the ground up glass in the crankcase and running until it locked. They sort of kept a running score at one dealer I know and the Japanese cars lasted only seconds. This is put it to the floor and hold it there until it locks. They had one Ford 240 that ran for over 30 minutes no other vehicle ever came close. You can split a 351 cleveland head and weld two together and make a screaming 240 or 300 with canted valves. 7 main bearings make a tough engine and always in balance unlike V-6. You don't have to try to hide the imbalance in the inline 6.
  • 6
    notyettoday Tennessee July 24, 2016 at 20:46
    I personally prefer the Ford 300 because it uses direct gear drive, as opposed to a timing chain.
  • 7
    Jeremy Reseigh Watts Binfield, Berks July 25, 2016 at 10:59
    As an Opel Monza owner I'd naturally make a strong case for the Vauxhall/Opel straight-six CIH engine which ran from 1966-1993 and was a sturdy, reliable workhorse which powered GM cars from the Opel Rekord and Commodore through to the Senator, Monza, Vauxhall Royale and ultimately the Lotus Carlton. Its all-iron construction sacrificed complexity and modernity for simplicity, durability and longevity and thus, were your Top Five to be enlarged to a Top Ten of six-cylinder engines I'd place the Vauxhall/Opel six at, yes, you've guessed it, No.6!
  • 8
    George D Radford SC July 28, 2016 at 13:16
    Wow, no mention of the venerable Chevy 235 and its various variations.
  • 9
    H l Fisher Tennessee July 28, 2016 at 13:19
    How can we forget the Mopar flathead?
  • 10
    J D CALIFORNIA July 28, 2016 at 13:42
    Whoa, whoa, whoa there Nelly! Where is the Chevy 235? Talk about rock solid, there you go. My first vehicle was a 58 Biscayne. It was sitting under a tree for 10 years with 48k original miles back in 85. Flushed fluids, changed plugs then guess what? Vroom!
  • 11
    Brian Uckert NYC Long Island July 28, 2016 at 13:49
    I have a 1968 Pontiac OHC 6 4.1liter - I than John Z. Delorean
  • 12
    Ron Franzino Putnam CT July 28, 2016 at 13:55
    I drag race an 8 second 1936 Ford pickup and drive a supercharged Corvette on the street. But even I know you saved the best for last. It took me 11 years of brutal abuse to kill my slant 6.
  • 13
    Glenn Wilson california July 28, 2016 at 14:05
    how could you leave out the Kaiser/Frazer 6 cyl L226 Continental Red Seal or Supersonic engines?.. from 1947 to 1955 in cars and still are used as industrial engines and in fork lifts today...!!!
  • 14
    Sandy NY July 28, 2016 at 14:18
    What about the BMW six ? Has to be in the top 5
  • 15
    Geno Wi July 28, 2016 at 14:19
    What about the Hutson hornet
  • 16
    Harold Digdon Stewiacke NS. Canada July 28, 2016 at 14:28
    Hi, I wouldn't say wrong but later slant 6 had thrust bearing problems and I think the 3 liter Ford should have some recognition, I have heard of some with 600,000 km. with little or no problems, I'm just saying, Harold
  • 17
    Joe New York July 28, 2016 at 15:21
    Interesting that 4 of the 5 were designed and manufactured in America! Jaguar's engine might have made the 5th slot but not the rest of the car... typical British unreliability.
  • 18
    Joe Elliott Seattle, WA July 28, 2016 at 15:32
    Would the "AMC" still make the list if you separated votes between the original Nash version and the 1986 Renault redesign that shares little other than bore center spacing with its predecessor?
  • 19
    Karl Mickelson Colorado July 28, 2016 at 15:52
    Air cooled Porsche boxer 6, way more durable than most of these, with over 70 percent supposed to still be on the road built from '64 to '98, many with multiple hundreds of thousands of miles on them.
  • 20
    Bob Garber Southern Utah July 28, 2016 at 16:00
    You overlooked some of the best 6 cylinder engines ever. The BMW in-line 6 was the smoothest, longest lasting, and most powerful of them all, h.p. / c. i. d.
  • 21
    Deuce IL July 28, 2016 at 16:01
    The 3.5 "short star" from the sadly lamented Oldsmobile division,wasn't around to long but was a sweet D.O.H.C. V6 that was smooth @ 225 h.p. no slouch,and very durable..................
  • 22
    DICK URBAN HOUSTON, TEXAS July 28, 2016 at 16:08
    Hard to pick but thought very highly of the Jeep 4.0. Lot of power and smooth running for a long time through 3 Jeep Cherokees. Also liked the the Ford 6 from the F-100 days. Very dependable. All 6 in this article were great in their own right.
  • 23
    Will Owen Pasadena CA July 28, 2016 at 16:15
    If you're willing to consider earlier sixes, the GMC six from around 1950 up was a popular replacement for the Chevrolet engine – shell bearings when the chevy still had poured ones, a better head design and cooling system, capable of both greater output and longevity/reliability. As for the AMC 232, I had an IHC pickup with one of those running a Powerglide 2-speed automatic, not exactly a recipe for either grunt or go. A '72 model, it had to be the last US pickup (except for the Jeep Comanche) with a leaf-sprung solid axle, so it wasn't that wonderful around corners either. For no reason I can yet explain I loved it …
  • 24
    Willis Briggs Texas July 28, 2016 at 16:36
    Chevy stovebolts weren't bad either
  • 25
    Jeff Alberta July 28, 2016 at 16:50
    A few changes to this list I'd make - the mighty Mopar Slant six should have been first, not last...they are legendary, period. Secondly, GM's fantastic 230-250-292's belong here as well, and the Stovebolts deserve recognition as well. Thirdly, 3.8's should not even be on this list - the mid-'80's and up 3800's were NOT reliable motors, they were plagued by many electrical issues and then, the last ones with plastic intakes had gasket failures galore.
  • 26
    Charlie Milne Conway, Ontario July 28, 2016 at 17:09
    What about the Stove bolt GM 250 which powered vehicles as well as industrial and marine applications for decades?? Just a bullet proof engine!
  • 27
    Richard Bookler Newtown Square, PA July 28, 2016 at 17:46
    The sweetest straight six ever, belongs to BMW. I also own an Acura NSX with an extremely sweet V6.
  • 28
    Gordon Wright Gulf Shores, AL July 28, 2016 at 17:55
    Gotta agree on the Mopar Slant 6. My lifelong best friend had one in a Valiant when we were teens. From '66 to '68 we beat the living hell outta that poor car. It never gave up. Wish I could say the same for my '65 Goat.
  • 29
    Mike C. Indiana July 28, 2016 at 19:03
    I agree with the choice of the AMC I-6. I had a '94 Cherokee with the 5 speed. The fact that it could be traced back to Nash was an asset not a liability, because it was sturdy, reliable, and easy to service. Updating from a 1bbl carb to fuel injection transformed it from the old grocery getter to a bit of a performer and made the Jeep great fun to drive.
  • 30
    Larry Cramer Northville, NY July 28, 2016 at 20:27
    When did you guys grow up? You missed the best 6 ever. The Hudson Hornet. 3 13/16 bore and 4 1/2 stroke for 308 inches in a Chrome alloy block. 145 HP, 170 with factory Twin H carbs and way over 200 in the 7X racing version. They totally dominated the race tracks in the early 50s.
  • 31
    Ron Blissit Norman Okla July 28, 2016 at 21:18
    How about the Hudson 308 Hornet that dominated NASCAR in the 50s?
  • 32
    erik larsen kansas July 28, 2016 at 10:38
    There were comments on the Nissan, BMW and Porsche. What about Toyota's I-6? It went in everything and took whatever you could throw at it. It was in the landcruiser and I think a variation in the supra. And worth noting is the chevy 292 I-6. It was like the ford 300 and the chrysler 225. You almost need to expand to the top 25 6s built!
  • 33
    Brakeservo New Mexico July 28, 2016 at 10:43
    The Rolls-Royce 20 hp or "small horsepower" engine introduced in 1922 was also very significant. It lead to the development of all the companies post-war six cylinder cars and was also the basis for the re-introduced Bentley engine of 1934. Between 1922 and 1959 the cylinder bore spacing never changed, although virtually everything else was refined and re-designed over the years. I think it fair to say it allowed Rolls-Royce and Bentley to survive as auto makers after WWII and was also the basis for an entire series of straight 4, 6 and 8 cylinder industrial motors used in vehicles as diverse as the Austin Gypsy (a contemporary and competitor to the original Land Rover) and big fire trucks and even the Rolls-Royce Phantom IV of which only 16 were made for 'heads of state' only.
  • 34
    StillOutThere Texas July 28, 2016 at 10:56
    There is a '49 Hudson in SoCal that has had a Slant Six and torqueflite conversion running in it for the last seven hundred thousand miles. 'Nuff said?
  • 35
    Rick Becker New York July 28, 2016 at 23:00
    I remember Pontiac had a (dual?) overhead cam straight six in the mid-1960s that was offered in the same body as the GTO. With competition like that, it's small wonder it didn't become famous.
  • 36
    Michael J Portland, Oregon July 28, 2016 at 11:02
    Long term experience with the Jaguar six in England and here in the US. Change the oil (and use good oil), change the (correct) coolant regularly and you, too, can have an engine which runs and runs. Our 1966 E-Type is relatively low mileage, running original factory bearings, but our 1979 XJ6 now shows over 320,000 miles. At about 275,000 miles I mic'd the crank by dropping the oil pan, found almost no wear at all, so put in new standard main and rod shells along with a new oil pump. It is a very nice looking, and sounding, engine, too!
  • 37
    Bruce C CO July 28, 2016 at 23:06
    I've owned three of these: 4.0L Jeep in a 2005 Wrangler, 300ci Ford in a 1969 F100, and 225 Slant Six in a 1965 Valiant. Agree on all counts.
  • 38
    Halcyondays NW WA State July 28, 2016 at 11:10
    How can we profess to winnow it down to five? I've owned the four in-lines above and liked them all, especially the Jag and the slant six. But where is the Hudson Super Six, which began as the first balanced engine and culminated about 30 years later as the 308 ci Hornet? The Chevy Stovebolt may have been a babbited splasher but deserves more respect than it receives. For example, didn't Juan Fangio rack up big wins behind stovebolts during his climb to fame in the 30's? Speaking of underrated, how about the OHV seven main bearing Nash Ambassador six? Undertuned, spending most of its life in quiet family cars, it is ignored other than for its "Kenosha Duesenberg" and Nash Healy days.
  • 39
    Morris Berry Spruce Head, Maine July 28, 2016 at 11:24
    The Chevy 230/250 engine should be in the list!
  • 40
    Jim Lancaster,PA July 28, 2016 at 11:26
    Far above your mentioned clunkers, BMW's m30 for both performance & reliability
  • 41
    Randy J Shemin Nashville, TN July 28, 2016 at 11:35
    The Nissan family of 6 cylinder engines in the Datsun 240Z through 280ZX and 810/Maxima (and possibly others) are workhorses that seem to last forever. My 1971 240Z has 276k miles on the original (not rebuilt) engine with the dual SU carbs and uses no oil and still runs like a "champ". At 236k miles it dynoed at 127 rwhp, right in line with the original claimed 150 hp at the crank! We've had others in our Z club with over 400k miles!
  • 42
    Mark CT July 28, 2016 at 11:39
    What about the Chrysler flat head? Built from 1938 and used till 1960. An indestructible engine.
  • 43
    John Leese Grand Rapids July 28, 2016 at 11:42
    I agree with you on the 3800 V-6. As a car dealer, we always could rely on this motor even with a lot of miles on the clock. Virtually indestructible!
  • 44
    Jim L WA July 28, 2016 at 11:43
    I had a slant six in a 62 Plymouth Valiant. I was 16 and drove the crap out of that car. That engine took everything I did to it and never let me down.
  • 45
    Denton GA July 28, 2016 at 11:46
    You really need to break out into three groups, straight, V and Boxer. Without a doubt the Alfa V6 (and straight 6, not bad either) are at the top of the heap of mass produced engines in their category. You are dead on with the straight 6's , with the possible addition of the M-B wide shoulder 6 (through 1967). First mass produced with FI (direct on the SL) and great motorsport history. But if you deduct for cost of maintaining (and especially rebuilding), probably dead last!
  • 46
    Charles Gillies Minden, NV July 28, 2016 at 23:47
    The 3.8 liter in-line six cylinder in my 1961 XKE roadster is a simple and antiquated cast iron vessel for displacement from the crankcase to the head gasket. All of the magic happens in the aluminum alloy cylinder head with twin very high lift long overlap cams, hemispherical combustion chamber with huge valves, and cross flow architecture with three 2" SU carburetors on the starboard side flowing air/fuel mixture through to very efficient cast iron headers on the left side into dual exhausts. The cylinder head is why it gets 265 horsepower from a similar displacement and architecture cast iron block as a 230 c.i. GM in-line 6, which puts out approximately half that power.
  • 47
    Curt Brown Mount Wolf, Pa July 28, 2016 at 11:51
    The Chrysler slant 6 was a great motor until 1977 when the bean counter at Chrysler decided to try and save a dollar or 2 by replacing the forged crankshaft with a cast crank. The difference wasn't much in the performance but when they did the switchover on the assembly line they were using forged bearings on a cast crank. I was a parts manager for a Dodge dealer then and cars were coming back on the hook with lower end noise after just 2000 miles and I was actually stocking crank and bearing kits to replace under warranty. Talk about putting a bad taste in you mouth about your new car.
  • 48
    RC Johnson Cross Creek Fl. July 28, 2016 at 11:53
    I drove and maintained my used 1994 32,000 mi. Jeep Cherokee Sport to 387,000 mi. before giving it in to Cash for Clunkers for $16,000 Still miss it! 4.0 Litter 6 cyl I towed my 25 ft. Air Stream with it.
  • 49
    Lew Weinstein Florida July 28, 2016 at 11:55
    How about the Hudson 6 that dominated stock car racing in the early 50's
  • 50
    Luke Maine July 28, 2016 at 11:57
    I thought the Chrysler slant 6 went out of production in 1985 or so, yet you stated until 2000. Was that in another country? AMC 6 banger very tough. I own one. Also had a Ford 300 six. Very rugged.
  • 51
    Bruce Eelman Florida July 28, 2016 at 12:08
    You really should have included the "stovebolt" Chevy straight six. They were reliable, cheap, and powered many Chevys prior to the advent of the small block V-8. Certainly a better choice than the Buick V-6.
  • 52
    George doyle Lakeville ,ma. July 28, 2016 at 12:11
    Gmc big v6 also. And 250 chev and pontiacs overhead cams,, fords 4liter v6 in 98 explorers never burned a drop of oil in 165k
  • 53
    ferd the cloud July 28, 2016 at 12:22
    I like the Buick V-6 too. Not sure if this is still true, but there used to be lots of hop-up parts available for it, especially while it was being raced in NASCAR's Busch Series. Agree about the durability of the Mopar Slant 6. I had one that out-lasted the car it was in, and now happily operates farm machinery. A friend once was going to replace the Slant 6 in his 1965 Dart, so he drained all of its oil and went out into the fields to thrash it to death. He couldn't kill it - ran out of gas and it was still running strong. So instead of replacing it he rebuilt it, and it's still powering that car.
  • 54
    Gary Platz Colonial Heights,Va. July 28, 2016 at 12:23
    The /6 is considered one of the best engines that is often overshadowed by the hemi, B engines and the LA engines. This engine powered the A, B, C bodied cars and the Hyper Pak /6's kicked serious butt in Nascar in the early sixties.There were about 50K aluminum versions that later presented cooling and corrosion problems due to the then coolant available as well as using only water. There has been a club dedicated to th u s engine for over twenty five years. There are quite a few race cars running this engine at the drags to this day.
  • 55
    Alan Virginia July 28, 2016 at 12:33
    M-B M104 (1989-1999) Durable; 220 horsepower out of 3200 cc. Smooth, quiet and and loves to rev at high RPMs. 260,000 miles on ours and the head has never been off and it flew through its last emissions test (exhaust probe).
  • 56
    PK VA July 28, 2016 at 12:39
    No mention of the BMW inline six? You know, the one that powered the E36 and E46 M3, along with all the lesser variants...pretty, pretty, pretty good engine...
  • 57
    E Goodwin Yonkers NY July 28, 2016 at 12:41
    The Jag 4.2L inline 6 was the most fun to drive. The Mopar slant 6 was INDESTRUCTABLE!!!
  • 58
    John California July 28, 2016 at 12:42
    What about bmw's straight six?
  • 59
    R. Moblo Gig Harbor, Washington July 28, 2016 at 12:46
    The Datsun 240Z-280Z 6 cylinder is not only legendary ,but is bullit proof durable. It is really difficult to blow up one of these beautifully engineered engines. My 1970 240z is still running strong after 46 years and 187,000 miles.
  • 60
    Clyde in TS Tumbling Shoals AR July 28, 2016 at 12:55
    You missed the BMW straight six - started in the 1940s and is still being produced today!
  • 61
    Mack King MI July 29, 2016 at 13:10
    You got it right. The AMC / Jeep is the number one 6 cylinder engine , in durability and sustainable performance. While it's accompanying drive train components may wither away, the 4.0L will soldier on forever.
  • 62
    Mack King MI July 29, 2016 at 13:11
    You got it right. The AMC / Jeep is the number one 6 cylinder engine , in durability and sustainable performance. While it's accompanying drive train components may wither away, the 4.0L will soldier on forever.
  • 63
    Len Troy, NY July 29, 2016 at 13:33
    How about Chevy's "Stovebolt" 6? From 1924 to 1954 it was Chevy's only engine until the "small block" VB-8. Phased out in 1990 but was still made in Brazil until 2001.
  • 64
    Frank Branstrom MI July 29, 2016 at 05:27
    I think one needs to separate the v-6 from an inline six.
  • 65
    Bill Baxter Fair Oaks, Ca July 29, 2016 at 18:44
    I'm puzzeled? Why was'nt the old Chevy "Stove bolt" 6 not included in your list of great six cylinder engines? BAX
  • 66
    lee ohio July 29, 2016 at 08:09
    Gents, have flogged ford 6cyl in 63 falcon, 67 econoline, and present 63 comet. but Smoked a slant 6 found out the hard way its called a dip tube in the oil filter. do not let it get clogged. but it still knocked its way to the corner store and back for a year, when I felt like driving it. it still ran when the torsion bar snapped and I recycled it.
  • 67
    Oddimotive Cason CA July 29, 2016 at 20:12
    Cool list! I think the Nissan RB (okay, never sold in the US) and L-series deserve mention and I think a lot of Toyota I6 fans might chime in on this one. It's perhaps less iconic, but the Ford Duratec 6 powered not only the SVT Contour (underappreciated car), but also a number of Nobles.
  • 68
    Scott Jones Greenwood, In. July 29, 2016 at 20:51
    Just from my personal usage & experience: GM 235 Stovebolt 6, Chy. 225 Slant 6, Corvair Opposed, Flat 6, GM 4.3 V6, Chy. Flathead, Spitfire 6.
  • 69
    charlie Mesa, AZ July 29, 2016 at 00:22
    GMC inline 6 truck motor built by Pontiac. Known for their strength and built for hi performance by race car enthusiast in the late 50s early 60s.
  • 70
    Jaunty Uxbridge Ontario July 30, 2016 at 05:54
    Still have my mother's 1971 Plymouth Scamp with the 225 slant six -- 45 years old now and never a problem -- still runs beautifully.
  • 71
    Patrick Kroeger Palm Harbor Florida July 30, 2016 at 08:16
    How could not include the famed Chevrolet "stovebolt" 6 cylinder engine? Nor for that matter the GMC inline 6's from 228 to 302 cubic inches. They have powered everything from deuce and half's to race cars.
  • 72
    John Codman MA July 30, 2016 at 09:24
    The early slant sixes were the best. There were significant drivability issues with the later engines as they didn't take well to the primitive emission controls, milder camshafts, and lower compression. Up until the mid 60s, Tom Hoover's leaning tower of power was probably one of the great piston engines of all time regardless of the number of cylinders.
  • 73
    Gary Voleshen Hamlin NY July 30, 2016 at 11:05
    Reliable, durable and long running, you could easily do an article on the Chrysler slant six alone. I own several in stock, modified, and full race versions. The 1960 factory Hyper-Pak 225 could outrun a 60 Jaguar straight six, and outlast the other engines on your list. The slant six powered "Dart light" and "Feather Duster" cars got 30 MPG plus, in the mid 1970's. Most of the people you meet will have an "indestructible slant six" story from their past to tell you. Yes I am biased, but it is easy to explain ... Thanks, Gary V.
  • 74
    paul varik toronto July 30, 2016 at 23:17
    i had a neighbour back in the early 70s ...he had a 66 vailient 6 banger 1\4 mile drag rocket punched out large doing 11second e.t.s
  • 75
    Pat Dayton OH August 1, 2016 at 14:32
    Seems like the list only considers the post war years. I'd say there were some amazing prewar examples also, whether for durability, smoothness, longevity, simplicity. The Chrysler flathead lived in Dodge, Plymouth, and other badge names from the mid thirties through the end of the fiftys, longer by some accounts. The Packard six saw life also past the war in White trucks, marine and industrial applications for its simple durability. Hudson's sixes amazed the world with power, shaking the competitions 8 cylinders in early NASCAR and still have a performance following squeezing HP out of them. Finally, the behind the scenes companies like COntinental whose engine designs were workhorses across industries whether by actual application or design licensing. Seems to be quite a large part of the sector other than the 50's and muscle eras.
  • 76
    Steve Green No. Monterey County, CA August 1, 2016 at 12:48
    Glad to see that the Rambler (AMC) 6 cylinder engine got some mention on this list. Early iterations (196 flat-head engine, and its successor, the 196 cu.in. OHV six), which powered the Rambler Americans (compacts) and Classics (mid-size) in the late 50's and early 60's, was a reliable, well-designed, and high-performing engine (and still is, in my '59 and '60 Americans, and '64 Classic).
  • 77
    Beau Heide Chicago August 12, 2016 at 19:26
    The Ford 300 was absolutely bulletproof
  • 78
    John Elle Phoenix Az August 22, 2016 at 19:12
    Notably absent is about any 6 that entered production in conjunction with increasingly difficult smog legislation and exited when fuel injection replaced carburetors. There for the AMC 258 Cu In engine gets my favorite. Get by the smog and it was a tough engine, powered many cars and jeeps and was an off road racing contender. The MOPAR flat head had a long life but was hard on rod and main bearings. And the Chevy in line six was over looked too. The Lycoming proprietary engine found it's way into a multitude of applications of it's life. Checker Cabs and Kaiser/Frasier auto's were but a few.

Join the Discussion