The V8 engine is an 8 cylinder V configuration engine with the cylinder mounted on to the crankcase in two sets of four. All eight pistons driving a common crankshaft. Most banks are set at a 90-degree angle to each other. some of them at a narrow-angle such as with 45, 60 and 72 degrees most commonly. The v 8 is basically two parallel inline-four engines sharing a common crankshaft. The simple configuration with a flat or single-plane crankshaft has the same secondary imbalance problems as two straight-fours, resulting in impact vibrations in large engine displacements. After the year 1920, most of the V8 engines have used the complex cross-plane crankshaft with heavy counterweights to eradicate the vibrations, which makes the engine smoother than V6 making it less expensive than the V12. Many V8s continue to make use of single plane crankshaft because it allows faster acceleration and highly efficient exhaust system designs.
The limiting factor in mass production and sales of V8 engines was the difficulty in starting large engines using a hand crank. Not only does increasing the size of the engine make this harder, but the number of pistons is also a factor because, with a 4 cylinder engine, a piston comes into compression every half turn of the crank, and overcoming this with the crank is not difficult. With eight cylinders, there is only 1/4 of a turn of the crank before an additional cylinder comes into compression. To overcome this problem, electric starters were developed. The introductory marque to equip its cars with electric starter motors was Cadillac, in 1912, and Cadillac consequently was the first production automobile with V8s, introduced 2 years later. It sold 13,000 of the 5.4 L (330 cu in) L-head engines in its first year of production, 1914. Cadillac has been primarily a V8 company.