Ford GAA engine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ford GAA
ManufacturerFord Motor Company
Configuration60° V8
Displacement1,100 cu in (18 L)
Cylinder bore5.4 in (137 mm)
Piston stroke6.0 in (152 mm)
Compression ratio7.5:1
Fuel systemNaturally aspirated with Stromberg NA-Y5-G carburetors[1]
Fuel typeGasoline
Cooling systemLiquid
Power output500 hp (373 kW) @ 2,600 rpm
Torque output1,050 ft⋅lbf (1,424 N⋅m) @ 2,200 rpm
Length59.02 in (150 cm)
Width33.25 in (84 cm)
Height47.78 in (121 cm)
Dry weight1,470 lb (667 kg)

The Ford GAA engine is an American all-aluminum 32-valve DOHC 60-degree liquid-cooled V8 internal combustion engine with a flat plane crankshaft designed and produced by the Ford Motor Company before and during World War II. It features twin Stromberg NA-Y5-G carburetors,[2] dual magnetos and twin spark plugs making up a full dual ignition system,[2] and crossflow induction.[3] It displaces 1,100 cu in (18 l) and puts out well over 1,000 pound-feet (1,400 N⋅m) of torque from idle to 2,200 rpm. The factory-rated gross output was 500 hp (370 kW) at 2,600 rpm.

The GAA powered several models and derivatives of the M4A3 Sherman medium tank.


Immediately preceding World War II, Ford developed an aircraft engine similar to the Rolls-Royce Merlin. It was a 60 degree V-12 of 1,650 cubic inch displacement a matching set of cylinder bore/piston stroke figures to the Rolls-Royce Merlin aviation engine, using an aluminum block and head; dual overhead camshafts, and four valves per cylinder. The intention of this design was to help Ford break into the anticipated large market for aircraft engines. This engine was built to typical aircraft standards: it was light, high performance, and highly reliable. Everything was safety wired or staked with close attention to detail on every part. Available information suggests this design performed well.[4]

However, it never went into production as an aircraft engine due to the United States Navy's decision to only use radial engines for its aircraft and the Army's contractual commitments to existing manufacturers.[5]

With the approach of war, increasing orders for M4 Sherman tanks were causing supply issues with the 9-cylinder radial Wright R-975 Whirlwind engine used. The U.S. Army decided it needed to source additional engine suppliers, choosing a version of the Ford GAA cut down from twelve cylinders to eight for various vehicle applications.

In 1942 after the British Tank Mission visit to America in April, there was some pressure from British car and commercial vehicle manufacturers to use in British tanks the new Ford V8 tank engine designed by Larry Sheldrick, rather than the Meteor then under development by Rolls-Royce from the Merlin aero engine, as an adapted aero engine "would not be suitable as a rugged tank engine". The Ford engine prototype had a few hundred hours test-bed running by that time. It was a liquid-cooled Vee similar to the Meteor, but two-third the size and Robotham doubted its reliability at 600 bhp. The 600 bhp Meteor was designed to fit in the same space in the Crusader (tank) as the Nuffield Liberty L-12 engine of 340 bhp output. But the Ford V8 developed only 500 bhp, and had "teething problems" which were not overcome until after the Normandy landings in 1944.[6]


All-aluminum Ford GAF V8 tank engine, next to an M26 Pershing, The Tank Museum
  • The GAA was used in the M4A3 (1,690), M4A3(75)W (3,071), M4A3(76)W (1,400), M4A3 (105) (500), M4A3E2 (254), M4A3(76)W HVSS (3,142), M4A3(105) HVSS (2,539), M10A1 (1,413), and M7B1 (826).
  • The GAF powered the M26 (2,222), M26A1, T28/T95 (2), and M45 (185).
  • The GAN powered the T23 (248) and M4A3E2 (254).
  • In order to meet the need for a larger engine, Ford resurrected the V-12 version as the GAC, which produced 770 hp (570 kW) and powered the T29, T32 (6).
  • A number of M74 tank recovery vehicles were rebuilt from M4A3s, which used the GAA.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Berndt, Thomas. Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles (Krause Publications, 1993), p.193.
  2. ^ a b Berndt, p.190.
  3. ^ Berndt, pp.190 & 193.
  4. ^ citation needed
  5. ^ citation needed
  6. ^ Robotham 1970, pp. 160,161,183-185.
  7. ^ Berndt, p.193.


  • Berndt, Thomas. Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 1993. ISBN 0-87341-223-0.
  • Sprowl, Bob. Ford's First Dual Over Head Cam V-8.
  • Aircraft Engine Historical Society.Aircraft Engines in Armored Vehicles
  • Hunnicutt, R. P. Firepower: A History of the American Heavy Tank. Novato, California: Presidio Press, 1988. ISBN 0-89141-304-9
  • Robotham, William Arthur (1970). Silver Ghosts and Silver Dawn. London: Constable. pp. 160, 161. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]