The Hisso began life as the first mass produced engine to have a solid aluminum cylinder block. It consisted of a 2 piece crankcase that was split horizontally on the center line of the crankshaft. Each 4-cylinder head and single overhead cam valve system was a single piece aluminum casting.
The entire V-8 engine was 718.88 cid and produced 150 horsepower. It was used as an aircraft power plant during and after World War 1. Many more were made than there were airplanes to put them in so they were declared to be war surplus.
It didn't take long for the auto racing industry to adapt it by turning it around backwards. The big V-8 proved to be fast at 470 pounds but the front end heavy cars were difficult to drive.
By the late 1920's, Hisso engines were being raced using just one bank of 4 cylinders reducing it to a 359.44 cid SOH 4 cylinder power plant. Even this limited their use to outlaw tracks because they were still too large.