You should then try airplane engines - most of which were designed BEFORE our beloved stokers.
I have the misfortune of having to pull a cylinder off our 1946 Cessna 140. It flies behind a Continental C-85, which is approx. 200 cubic inches and develops 85 horses at 2575 rpm. This cylinder is about a dozen years old, but has only flown about 200 hours. We found during our annual inspection this particular cylinder had very poor compression. Compression is tested using a leakdown test, where you apply 80 psi air to the cylinder through the sparkplug hole through a calibrated orifice in the tester. The rate of cylinder leakage causes a compression reading, less than 80psi. "GOOD" would be anything above 70psi, notated as 70/80, or 73/80, etc. 50s and 60s are becoming troubling, and lower readings are cause for serious concern. 3 of the 4 measured 75/80 or better. This particular cylinder measured 35/70, and we could hear air leaking from the exhaust. NOT good. First thought was to fly it a bit and see if the compression would come up (sometimes the ring gaps become lined up, or a piece of carbon or lead residue will hang on a valve seat), but I suggested that we pull the valve cover and look, about a 10 minute job.
We got the valve cover off and noticed the rocker arm hit the valve about 3/32" off center - it was almost touching the spring keeper/washer with its edge. I was able to push down the valve a bit and found it wobbled significantly in the guide. Again, NOT good. My mechanic saw this and said that the jug had to come off the engine. Damn...that's a bummer, and $$$$. If this was a car, it would have the equivalent of about 10,000 miles on it.
As GregL suggested in the thread where this went off-topic, maybe the rocker is supposed to hit the valve off center to rotate the valve at each actuation. Maybe so, but this was REALLY off, even he noticed it more than usual. The rocker arm wasn't loose or anything like that, so it was put together that way. We didn't take any other valve covers off to see if it was normal or not, but none of the others were low on compression. Seeing as this engine was designed before WWII, I don't know if valve rotating was "in" then, and it's a low compression engine, certified on 73 octane fuel.
For more low-tech - it uses magnetos for ignition, a generator for 12V supply, and basically a John Deere tractor pull cable actuated starter. OK, it was built in 1946. The problem becomes that the engines made today use the EXACT SAME technology. Only very recently have aircraft engines started to use electronic ignitions, and even the fuel injected engines use a crude mechanically regulated constant flow injection system. Very recently, a few engines have been developed and certified with FADEC controls (Full Authority Digital Engine Controllers) where all you do is push the throttle which is nothing more than an electrical signal, and the engine computer does the rest to figure proper fueling and ignition. Gee, sounds like cars of 20 years ago already.....
But, things are starting to turn around - diesels are making in-roads in certified aircraft as they can burn Jet A, and also more fuel efficient. Some day 100LL fuel will go away as it won't be practical or feasible to have leaded fuels in the refinery stream any longer. Unleaded fuels are being developed along with engines to use them. Modern machining and materials are becoming common in aircraft engines.
Even still, with the antique technology they use, aircraft engines are some of the only engines that are designed to run at high power settings (75% or more) continuously. An automotive engine in that application would self destruct quickly. They are also highly reliable given proper maintenance. Some of the larger, turbocharged engines produce 350hp or more from 540cid at 2500 rpm, and do it reliably. Just don't make big power additions or reductions quickly to avoid "shock cooling" the engine. That can cause cracked heads which means $$$$.
OTOH, GregL flies an Airbus where he has to worry about none of this. Just push the levers and make noise. Overhaul times on a jet engine are measured in 10's of thousands of hours. I'm lucky to get 2000 hours. Turbines are a good thing..... He also doesn't have to pay the maintenance bill or the fuel bill.....