Nothing beats the sound of a Wankel rotary, does it? It pierces through any burbling V8 or purring V6, and revs to the sky and back with a shrill of aggression and, if you look at its Le Mans history, high performance and victory. Albeit it a little unreliable.
It’s the unreliability which gives the engine such a bad name. But as motoring enthusiasts we must at least admire the engineering, innovation, and bravery that went into putting the rotary on the road. Let’s face it, I don’t think another car manufacturer would put such an experimental combustion engine in one of their halo cars these days. So let’s enjoy the rotary for what is it. A thing of beauty.
This model is from a model aircraft, but works the same way as the large scale car engine. And as an engine, it features the same cycles as any other combustion engine on the market. It starts with an intake stroke, then compression, then combustion and ends on an exhaust stroke. Unlike other combustion engines, this take place around the shaft via a rotating triangle instead of a piston.
This means it can rev higher, but unfortunately, reliability has all but killed it. Mazda keeps teasing at bringing it back, but common sense tells us to not expect much from the Japanese manufacturer. At least not in the classic way we want it. Gone are the days of the classic RX7 and RX8 rotary engines. These days, we can only wish for something as interesting.