The Howell V-4 Engine Project—Full Build
Below we have documented the Joe Martin Foundation Howell V-4 engine build from start to finish. Photos and descriptions of the components illustrate the unique collective craftsmanship—with a beautiful final result.
Howell V-4 Engine Progress—October/November, 2007
Howell V-4 Engine Progress—January, 2008
Howell V-4 Engine Progress—June/July, 2009
Howell V-4 Engine Progress—November/December, 2009
The second time around, we tried a different approach with the cams. Instead of case hardening the surface, blanks were turned from A2 air-hardening steel, and wrapped in stainless steel foil. They were then brought to 1745° in the heat treating oven. A small piece of paper was placed inside the foil with each blank. The paper would burn up and remove any oxygen trapped inside the foil.
Success! Howell V-4 First Pop—March 16, 2010
On March 16, 2010, we successfully completed our second Joe Martin Foundation shop project—the Howell V-4 IC engine. Watch a video below documenting the first pop of the engine, along with the first extended run on March 17.
Congratulations to Tom Boyer and all those who helped for a fine job! The engine was put on display in the Craftsmanship Museum for some time following completion. Tom was happy to start it up for any visitor who wanted to see and hear the V-4 in action. The only remaining tasks were to make a throttle and advance linkage, and to build an attractive display base.
A Note From Jerry Howell’s Family
On behalf of me and my family, we would like to congratulate you and your team on the successful build and run of the Howell V-4. I know Dad was honored to be inducted into your list of craftsmen, and again when you chose to build his V-4.
Dad cannot express his gratitude personally, but again on behalf of my mother Edith, sister Sherry, brother Roger, and myself, we would like to say a big “Thank You” to the Craftsmanship Museum for all you have done to share and promote his work and his legacy.
Allen Howell & Family
Howell Engines Made by Other Model Engineers
Dave Sage’s Howell V-8 Project
Jerry Howell’s original design began as a kind of double V-twin to make a V-4. Dave Sage took it to a new level by doubling up on Jerry’s design to make the engine into a V-8. Naturally, he had to make his own modifications in order to support the longer built-up crankshaft. He also modified the camshafts to change the timing and firing order, making it more like a Chevy small-block V-8. When asked why, Dave responded, “just for the heck of it.” In these early photos taken soon after the first run, Dave’s V-8 is running a single carburetor.
Dave said that engine speed was limited at this point, and to get more rpm out of it he would probably have to add more carbs. Our only regret is that while Jerry Howell saw the start of this project, he didn’t get to see the ambitious extension of his original design finished and running. It looks like Dave did a first class job that Jerry would have approved of.
Terry Mayhugh’s Howell V-4 Project
Terry Mayhugh started this project—only his second IC engine—shortly after the Craftsmanship Museum started our version. Terry’s first IC engine build was a Howell V-twin. It took Terry about 3,000 hours over the course of two years to complete this engine, but he did a fantastic job. Not only does it look good, but the V-4 runs great, too. Castings for the manifolds were unavailable, so Terry machined his from the plans. Notice also the effective base and innovative gas tank.
Watch a video of Terry’s early run of his Howell V-4 engine.