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Ford scraps a thrifty V-8 for smaller engines

Ford Motor Company said it is scrapping plans to mass produce an eight-cylinder version of a modified fuel-thrifty conventional engine in favor of six- and four-cylinder engines using the same technology, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Ford has been testing a programmed combustion engine, known as Proco, and was planning to introduce it perhaps as early as 1984. The V-8 Proco was seen as a way to boost fuel economy for bigger engines.

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But Ford says demand for those big engines is rapidly eroding as the cost of gasoline continues to rise. Sales of V-8 engines are expected to amount to only 20 percent of the market by the time Proco cars reach the showrooms, compared with 60 percent last year.

The Proco engine uses a sophisticated fuel-injection system to spray precisely timed and measured amounts of gasoline into each cylinder to improve combustion efficiency.