I'm having a "wonder moment", and I'd like to learn something from those of you that know more about the subject than I do. In the years before and after WW2, many engine makers that built exceptionally powerful engines used the straight 8 layout for their race motors and high performance road cars: Bugatti, Miller, Duesenberg, Alfa Romeo, and Mercedes all built straight 8's that were highly admired and more than competitive. I just read an article on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straight-eight_engine) that explains the major advantages and disadvantages of the layout, so my curiosity is pretty satisfied, but I'm curious if any other HAMBers understand this stuff well enough to shine more light on the discussion. Inline engines, both 6 and 8 cylinders, apparently have better inherent balance characteristics than V layouts. All other things being equal, 8's deliver smoother power than 6's. The downside of the straight 8's seem to be length, weight, and flexibility of the long crankshaft; Alfa and Mercedes both reduced the problem of shaft flex by putting the cam drives and power takeoffs between cylinders 4 and 5. So, length and weight are the remaining disadvantages, particularly for racing cars. I guess that for big luxo cars like Mercedes or Cadillac, those wouldn't be deal breakers, except that nobody wants to tool something as expensive as a new engine if it will only have limited application. A new V8 tooled for Chevrolet, near the low end of the product line, serves perfectly well to power a Cadillac too (if you keep its humble origin a secret from your customers). I've deliberately skipped over the several mass-produced American straights like the Buick OHV and several flatheads like Packard and Chrysler, merely because they have only occasionally been competitive in hot rod or racing applications. Okay, I've mostly satisfied my own curiosity by doing a little research. Seems a shame, though, that the straight 8 layout is totally history after having been the top of the pile for many years. If anyone else finds this interesting and has anything to add, hop on.