All of us know that the small-block Chevrolet V8 was a masterpiece of engineering that made the high-performance overhead-valve V8 affordable to the masses, and that the Mercedes-Benz OM617 diesel is basically immortal, and that the Toyota R engine defined what it means for a vehicle to be considered Warlord Grade. The AMC straight-six. The Model T engine. The Volvo Redblock. Those engines get the respect they deserve. But what about the engines that we don't think much about, the ones that worked hard in their millions and somehow missed attaining legend status?

The list of engines beloved by their aficionados but not thought of often by the rest of us goes on and on: the Renault Ventoux, Mitsubishi 4G1, MeMZ-968, and so on. But my vote goes to the Chrysler flathead straight-six. This engine was produced starting in 1929 and was still being made for stationary industrial use in the early 1970s. It powered just about every type of Chrysler vehicle made for decades, hauled supplies for all the major Allied armies in World War II, and was even developed into a five-bank, 30-cylinder tank engine. It was simple and reliable and outlived most of its competition, and you rarely hear much about it these days. What's your choice?

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