the car junkie daily magazine.


BangShift Question Of The Day: Which Engine Is The King Of The Inline Six World?

BangShift Question Of The Day: Which Engine Is The King Of The Inline Six World?

You have to love the inline six. It has been built in an amazing array of displacements, styles, and for applications ranging from fire trucks to economy cars. They have been muscle car engines in places like Australia and they have been unkillable leaning towers of power here in the US of A. I have owned straight sixes in big trucks and while you aren’t going to get anywhere in a hurry, you’re going to get there, no matter how hard you try to kill the engine. BMW used the engine for ages in their cars which are some of the most highly regarded road going sedans ever.

Austin Healey was famed for their 3.0L inliner back in the 1960s and GM’s Atlas LL8 was produced for seven years from 2002-2009. Ford has their own legendary inliners with the tough as nails 300ci engine being produced in the million of examples. Hell, it was so ballsy the thing was used as the primary motivation for UPS trucks for a long time. If that isn’t a testament to their yeoman-like strength we’re not sure what is. There was the Twin H Hudson six that dominated NASCAR, the inline six Cummins diesel that in its various forms has powered trucks of all sizes, and the multitude of flathead sixes as well….like the one that was run in turbo form at Indy. Are we forgetting Jaguar and the 3.8L engine that powered the E-Type cars and lots of others over the years?!

Sooooooo many options.

I could go on forever like Bubba in Forrest Gump, but I won’t. Instead I am going to put this question into YOUR hands and we’re pretty sure this will turn into a bloody straight six slugfest before too long. Jimmy Six? Hemi six? Cummins diesel? 144ci Ford? (If you vote for that one, you have a mental illness) Ford/Dodge/Stude flathead six? Hudson six?   . Get after it!

BangShift Question Of The Day: Which Engine Is The King Of The Inline Six World?






  • Share This
  • Pinterest
  • 0

37 thoughts on “BangShift Question Of The Day: Which Engine Is The King Of The Inline Six World?

  1. Michael Thompson

    If you’re talking “classic” inline six the Ford 240-300″ has no peer. Nearly 4″ bore, 7 main bearings and 12 ports from the factory are stats that the lesser makes can only dream of.

  2. Mouse

    Come on guys. The GM 235 and derivatives is king. They were used in all kinds of racing including Indianapolis. Go fast after market parts makers like Offenhouser and Millar got famous because of the 235.

  3. KCR

    I think it all matters on what KING is to you. The Ford 300 is a great engine ,and can be modified greatly.The Rambler 196 has a forged crank and rods and can take some high RPM’s .The first gen Dodge Cummins pickup 5.9 .Stock I think they were 160 HP . However could be modified with a Banks kit to over 1000HP. Then there was a continental gas 6 cyl truck engine. I believe from maybe late 50’s to mid 60’s It was over 500 cid. I think I remember 533 being the size .And most came factory with a 4 BBL carb and some on FWD ready mix trucks came with 2 X 4 carb setup. And I was told it got gas footage. I don’t know the answer myself. Is it RPM’s ? Modified HP ? or original CID ? In lines are cool as hell,And stock always seam very reliable .Just a great configuration for an engine.

  4. Jeepster

    Jeep/AMC 258
    military, industrial & civilian use as well
    like the slant six, they can run a week without coolant, oil, and 2 plugs removed.

    1. Cliff Morgan

      Yeah, this is a hot set up! But try and find a Wayne head these days. It’s about as hard as finding Ardun heads. Bring lotsa $$$

  5. Clark

    I will agree with the AMC/Jeep guys but I am going to say the 4.0 Liter I6. They have the longevity of the 258 but they will actually move out of their own way. The 4.0 and 258 work well together if you merge the two. 258 crank and rods in a 4.0 block with 4.0 pistons is 4.5L or 4.6 with any overbore. I have about 50K miles on that setup in my Cherokee.

  6. Cliff Morgan

    I almost bought an AMC Gremlin in 1970’s. They had a “high altitude kit” that had 3 carbs & hotter cam. I love 6’s & that would have been a cool car. Also hafta put in a plug for the old Jimmy 6, which could beat the flathead Ford V-8s in early 1950’s. Hudson Hornet had a flathead 6 that was run in NASCAR & could beat the Olds V-8’s. I think my all time favorite is the Mopar slant 6, maybe just cause of the design. Hmmmm, maybe I can find an old Gremlin & put a slant 6 in it and….

  7. 57Phil

    The original 6 Cyl King is obviously the Hudson 6, From Nascar to Drag Racin, to Bonneville to the PanAmerican Road Race, this 6 has been a winner whever it has eun,

  8. Scott M

    Most of them are tough as hell, right now Im lucky enough to have a 4.0 Jeep a 235 chevy and a GMC 302 . All of them are solid engines.

  9. threedoor

    Gas, probably the Ford 300, light truck diesel 12valve 6BT, midrange truck International DT466.

  10. oldguy

    Had a 64 1/2 hand me down in 1972 – 170ci 6 + 3 speed .
    no syncro left on second year – used to laugh when friends tried to drive it …
    Damn thing would wind to no end in second an stay w/ a 68 318 Plymouth
    on the street .
    Did not have the built in valve float RPM limiter the 70’s Ford 302 motor did ….
    but don’t ask how I know about that

    1. man

      i thought i was the one who was gonna have to break the bad news…. im a mopar man myself, but credit where credit is due

  11. Jeff White

    Pontiac OHC 4.1 in-line. Short lived, big on power, bulletproof, high reviving awesomeness.

  12. laurence

    I like the hemi 6. have seen 500hp from 265ci NA with triple weber carburettors on pump fuel.

    in the turbo world it\’s probably the 2JZ from toyota.

  13. Big G

    Got a red diamond 450 in my bus. Monster gas inline 6 that wont blow doors off but gets the job done.

  14. F.R.O.

    The RB inline 6 should be nominated, because they were not only used in Nissan Skylines, but also Holden Commodores. The RB engine like the Toyota 2JZ are known to be able to handle massive amounts of power.

  15. Emil Michael Merusi

    Two come to mind.. The GMC 292 and the Dodge / Plymouth Slant Six. The 292 was a proven dirt track engine, I think the Dodge came along too late to compete fairly.

  16. Greg Knaggs

    Gotta be the 4.0 litre Barra 6 from Aus in all it\’s forms, NA and turbo. Bullet proof and huge power levels. All the rest are pretenders to the cause!

  17. Ike

    I’m sure there are some oddball straight 6’s out there that are rare and unavailable to most of us that are king, however for most of us, I’m also going with the AMC 258 or 4.0. Although the Ford 300 is really hard to beat too! Damn, you Bangshift! Now this is all I’m gonna be focused on today!

  18. \"Gasser Dave\" Young

    Currently building a 1949 Anglia with a 4-speed & 9\” rear (4.86) for some 1/8 mile fun. A small block Chevy V-8 is sleeping in the frame rails until I can complete the 250\” six: 327\” domed pistons (4\” bore), aftermarket rods, lump port head, Crower 304FDP cam, Precision Engine Service ram intake with an 830 Holley, and many crossed fingers! Kind of a \”go or blow\” deal but should be a good 7,000 RPM engine.
    So my vote would be the late-model Chevy inlines.

  19. Aron

    Umm 2jz … the true strength of this engine is unreal even in stock form, just add boost. This engine has maybe been the fast i6 ever. Capable of 2000+ horsepower

    Also a cool one to look at is the falconer i6 5.0 that Chevy designed for racing

  20. Terrible Tom Barnhill

    So what’s the answer Chad, I gotta know so if the subject ever comes up I can sound like I know everything !

  21. Muz

    In australia in the early seventies . Chrysler didn’t bother with v8’s in their race cars. They had the 265 R/T six pac. The six pac referred to the triple 2 barrel webber side draft carbies from factory. Google Valiant Charger for the ultimate six cylinder.

    cause now we have the barra ford so the contest is over

Comments are closed.