WANKEL: The Curious Story Behind the Revolutionary Rotary Engine by Nicholas Faith

WANKEL: The Curious Story Behind the Revolutionary Rotary Engine

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When the rotary engine was conceived several centuries ago, it was recognized as a perfectly logical machine: a wheel-shaped motor that could efficiently use 100% of the energy put into it. But steam came along and with it the piston engine, which became the reciprocating combustion engine leaving the rotary far behind. Wankel is the story of this neglected engine invented by Felix Wankel. The rotary has had more revivals than the Frankenstein monster, and has never been quite dead--even now. In fact, there is still considerable hope that it will replace pistons in the automobile. Wankel, who refused to help the author of this book (as also did General Motors, who now have 150 million dollars sunk into the development of a usable rotary engine), is writing his autobiography, which should be as cranky and eccentric as the present book is genteel and foot-flogging. Wankel is rich today but not greatly interested in his patented baby: instead he's building a ZIP, an oceangoing rotary-engined ship which is designed to streak evenly through, under and over the roughest waters and to be fueled at floating gas stations on the high seas. The story is one of overcoming one bug after another in the engine's development through the decades; of corporate egos; of the Japanese Mazda's success and current problems; of VW's commitment; and of VW's promised 1976 rotary model. Streets full of humming bugs and sportsters fairly soon?

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1975
Publisher: Stein & Day