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Bryan
Hagerty Employee

5 of the strangest engines that made it to production

An engine puts the auto in automobile; without one, you merely have a carriage and have successfully shifted yourself backwards by 120 years. A century-plus of engine development has brought forth a vast array of solutions to the internal combustion problem. Virtually every person who has set their mind to building a car has experimented with the number, orientation, and even shape of the cylinders.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/5-of-the-strangest-engines-that-made-it-to-producti...

73 REPLIES 73
Zephyr
Instructor

I believe NSU had a Wankel powered model for a short time. Although everyone associates the Mazda Wankel with the RX7, the Wankel was also an available option for their small pick-up truck for a couple of years. The rotary engined ones had round taillights, the conventional engine models had rectangular taillights. The conventional engined model was also sold as a Ford. I can't remember the model. Although it never went into production, someone (Ford?) had a mock-up of an atomic powered car on the car show circuit for awhile. 

jrmedsel
Pit Crew

Ford's version of the Mazda pickup was the first generation Courier

Billthecat707
Instructor

Also the rx-2 and rx-3

Sanduners
Pit Crew

What no Pontiac Tempest 4 cylinder, half a V8 in 1961-63?  Even Mickey Thompson build and ran this engine.

GoFast
Advanced Driver

In a rotary engine, the output (more accurately eccentric) shaft is not 'geared.' There is, however, one pair of gears per rotor: the smaller one with external teeth is fixed, the larger one with internal teeth is attached to the inside of the rotor.  These gears merely keep the rotor and eccentric shaft motion in phase and do not transmit torque. 

markmathes
Pit Crew

V8-6-4

markmathes
Pit Crew

Quad 4

MMikeJBenN27
Passenger

You are wrong about the Chrysler Turbine engine.  While 130 horses is not earth-shattering in a post-war car, 465 lbs. ft.  is EXCELLENT.  Performance was good.  The reason Chrysler killed the Turbine-as-a-car engine project was super-high production costs, that would have made it impossible to sell at a reasonable price, and, it was discovered in later versions, very high exhaust emissions that seemingly couldn't be cleaned up, which would have made cars so equipped illegal for street use.

lesrof2evils
Pit Crew

How about the  COpper BRAzed engine used in the Crosley?

GoFast
Advanced Driver

The point of Honda's NR750 was that use of oval pistons allowed 8 valves per cylinder for greatly enhanced volumetric efficiency (better breathing).

engineuser
New Driver

Or maybe, 8 valves per combustion chamber?
CircuitBurner
Passenger

That Honda engine was not a 4 cylinder emulating an 8.

It was only two of those pistons emulating their proven V-4 design.

Basically removing the cylinder walls between each pair of V-4 pistons increased displacement allowing a lower friction reduction in bore radius that also ran cooler.

1994scta
New Driver

Just curious of how well the rings sealed? Seems tough to get an even distribution of pressure to the cylinder walls.
engineuser
New Driver
Cytecnick
New Driver

It may have never been put in a car (that I know of ) but Napier-Deltic made one of the strangest, coolest 2 stroke diesel engine designs I've ever seen :
TonyT
Technician

The GMC 702 truck engine was frightful! Two 305 V6's stuck together that resulted in a torque monster that regularly ate U-joints and, in the hands of the inexperienced, axle shafts. On the plus side, it was quiet, but being fed by two 2BBL carbs it wasn't exactly responsive.
JackVan
Detailer

The last Chrysler turbine was in a 1976 B body. It ran better than the earlier ones. The EPA measurement of the exhaust sample include the ambient cooling air, so they were not measuring just engine exhaust. That was one of the problems. The high price was caused by the turbine wheel high temp metal and machining. We tried using hot pressed ceramic ones, but ceramic tech was not there yet. The 1964 car ran even with a 4 speed 300hp 327 Impala out on Woodward that year. Since a turbine was peak torque at stall, the hole shot was pretty good. The govm't forced the crushing of the 1964 cars with the body import waiver terms, and crash liability added to the final disposition of the remainder. Jay Leno's still runs fine.
SJ
Technician

Stanley Steamer.
JGeske
Instructor

Not many made it in auto production, but were seen in ships and planes: Opposed Piston Engines. Such a novel concept.
TikiBarJim
Pit Crew

What about the German tractor manufacturer that had an air cooled diesel for power. I forget the name.
hyperv6
Racer

The turbine was never really production.
Chickensnob
New Driver

Suzuki built a production motorcycle with a Wankel engine in the 1970's.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

The V8 Honda NR750 motor is pretty weird but cool idea.
hyperv6
Racer

By far the W 8 w 12 and W 16 from VW, Bentley and Bugatti.