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Earlier automobile engine development produced a much larger range of engines than is in common use today. Engines have ranged from 1- to 16-cylinder designs with corresponding differences in overall size, weight, engine displacement, and cylinder bores. Four cylinders and power ratings from 19 to 120 hp (14 to 90 kW) were followed in a majority of the models. Several three-cylinder, two-stroke-cycle models were built while most engines had straight or in-line cylinders. There were several V-type models and horizontally opposed two- and four-cylinder makes too. Overhead camshafts were frequently employed. The smaller engines were commonly air-cooled and located at the rear of the vehicle; compression ratios were relatively low. The 1970s and 1980s saw an increased interest in improved fuel economy, which caused a return to smaller V-6 and four-cylinder layouts, with as many as five valves per cylinder to improve efficiency. The Bugatti Veyron 16. 4 operates with a W16 engine, meaning that two V8 cylinder layouts are positioned next to each other to create the W shape sharing the same crankshaft.

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