Continental Motors started producing engines in 1905 and a radial aircraft engine was made in 1929. Production included automobiles, and engines for other manufacturers. They also produced gasoline and diesel engines for tanks in the 1950s.
Continental started producing their well known 4-cylinder horizontally-opposed aircraft engines in the 1930s, followed by 6-cylinder engines after World War 2.
The first in the family of 4-cylinder engines was the A-40 designed in 1930. This was followed in 1938 by the A50, A65, A75 and A80. This designation reflected the power output in horsepower. The military designation was O-170, indicating horizontally-opposed cylinders of 170 cubic inch displacement.
These reliable engines powered many light aircraft in civil and military use in the 1940s. The engines are identical in appearance, bore, stroke, weight and piston displacement. The higher power variants differ only in compression ratio and maximum allowable rpm. Most engines were built for aircraft operating from basic airports and feature no starter or generator. These engines were started by hand swinging the propeller. In the 1950s the A-65 was developed into the more powerful C-90 and eventually to the 100-hp O-200.
Various models of aircraft from Aeronca, Interstate, Luscombe, Piper, Porterfield and Taylorcraft used this Continental engine. Contemporary engines were the Franklin 4AC and the Lycoming O-145.
Engine Type: 4-cylinder, air-cooled, horizontally opposed
Power: 65 hp (48 kW) at 2,300 rpm
Weight: 170 lb (77 kg)
Cylinder: bore 3 7/8 in (98mm), stroke 3 5/8 in (92mm)
Displacement: 171 cubic inches (2.8 litres)
Compression ratio: 6.3:1
Fuel consumption: 4.4 US gal/hr (16.6 litres/hr)