By on February 8, 2013

What is the best part of a modern auto show? It’s not the constant running from one press release to another. It certainly isn’t fighting your way to the front of the throng to get some blurry photos of the latest sports car. It isn’t even the airport-grade lunches and cheap booze. No, it’s the cutaways. Nowhere else will you find the sheer quantity and quality of mechanical cutaways as an auto show. There are engine cutaways, transmission cutaways, and cutaways of entire vehicles. Click past the jump to see 28 of our favorites from the Chicago Auto Show.

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20 Comments on “Chicago Auto Show: Best cutaways of the show...”


  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Alex, could you describe what we’re seeing? It’s interesting that most of the new engines are going back to chains instead of belts.

    What’s going on with that F150? Showing the new steels and aluminum in it? And when have you ever seen a F150 with Pirellis?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The automakers have been going back to timing chains for a while now. In the US market, belts are far less common than they once were.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      I’d guess a lot of that is to show off the construction techniques in use. That lower control arm looks to be fully boxed, which is a nice change from the more flexible open stampings used in the past. Sadly I see no B-Max cutaway in there; it would be difficult to show off its layered door pillars unless the various compositions were color coded, the better to illustrate where the boron and other steels were used in its construction. An illustration of the interlocking mechanisms for that mini-mpv would also be interesting, as it’s designed to hold all 3 surfaces together during collisions, yet still allow egress once the car has come to a stop.

      It’s hard to see there, but the FIAT engine cutaway is one of the more surprising for those who know how poppet valve engines work. “Look, ma; no camshaft! (on the intake side)” And the Ford with its internal oil-bathed belt is another surprise, as that sort of treatment has until recently been reserved for drive chains.

    • 0 avatar
      bwright1991

      F-150′s have had Pirellii Scorpion tires for a few years now.

  • avatar
    Alex L. Dykes

    These are all the engine cutaways we found on the floor of the Chicago Auto Show. They range from the complete Chrysler engine line up to Ford’s Ecoboost line and some from VW, Mazda and GM.

    Not too sure what Ford was trying to demonstrate, but I believe their entire display was steel.

  • avatar
    Spanish Inquisition

    No labels? Come on guys. While I can pick out the Skyactiv G and D engines, the rest of the stuff is a complete mystery to me. Even just the manufacturer’s name would be useful. If you really want to kick it up a notch, get a technical writer to comment on the new technology and design features of these engines.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    Ford has a large display of cut a way engines and even a complete vehicle sliced through the center at the worlds largest Air show Osh Kosh Wisconsin. I also would like to hear more comments on these engines.

  • avatar
    niky

    We need picture labels!

    What a fantastic set. This stuff is certainly more interesting than looking at sheetmetal that the entire internet has seen months before the show…

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I agree with many of the others some labels of at least what brand engine and preferably the specific engine and/or trans would be nice.

    I love the 1/2 wheels on the F150.

  • avatar
    ellomdian

    I don’t know what the engine in the last 2-3 pics is (with the color coded lights,) but man, its pretty as a floor model. It stands in almost direct opposition to the completely polished cutaway in the earlier picture, which is nearly impossible to see any detail in.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    These are expensive and time consuming to prepare. I’m glad they still do it. Thanks for posting.

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    Best cutaway engine in the world is at the Edvard-Hazy Smithsonian Aviation Museum in Dulles Virginia. The Pratt & Whitney R-4360 radial aircraft engine. It’s a 4 row, 28 cylinder aircooled engine displacing 71.5 liters! Over 4000 HP. Used in many military and civil transports between 1945 and the advent of the jet age. It’s amazing to me that the engineers that designed this complex machine did not have computers, just slide rules and log-log paper.

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      The Convair B-36 had six of them, buried in the wings in a pusher configuration. Do the math, a “tuneup” consisted of changing two spark plugs per cylinder, 28 cylinders per engine. Now, imagine doing this outdoors at a SAC base in Alaska.

      P&W had lots of test cells. Without computers, prototype engines were built and usually exploded. Redesign the failed part, rinse and repeat.

      Once in production, they rarely lasted very long in service. The Boeing 377 Stratocruiser airliner was nicknamed the Boeing Tri-motor, because it often arrived with only three of the four 4360′s still turning.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    what happens to these cutaways? Someone would love to buy one for a man cave.

    • 0 avatar

      GM has engines, intact and cutaway in their Heritage Center so I assume most of them are kept by the companies. I’m sure that the specialty shops that make the cutaways will be happy to take your money and make you one. Two of the leading cutaway fabricators, Webb and Sterling Performance, are in southeastern Michigan. I sent each of them a request for media access and I hope to do a story about how they make these amazing displays.


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