This paper presents a device that detects light emerging from the combustion inside a series production automotive engine. Simultaneous time and wavelength resolution is achieved by this system and it can be applied in a simple manner to either diesel or spark ignition (SI) engines without any geometrical modification of the combustion chamber. An optical probe is inserted into spark plug or glow plug. A fiber is connected to the probe and leads the light to a spectrograph, which provides spectral analysis in the UV and visible wavelength ranges. An intensified streak camera with time resolution in the microsecond range completes the detection unit. This measuring system enables timeresolved emission spectroscopy applied to the light emitted during the combustion in a series production engine. Time-resolved emission spectra are presented from both a diesel and an SI engine. The time behavior of the internal temperature in a diesel engine combustion chamber and its dependence on engine speed and load are measured with this setup using a multiple two-color method. In an SI engine, the time behavior of the emissions of specific molecules or radicals is detected. Thus, differences in the combustion process are demonstrated to be caused by operation with different fuels.