I'm admittedly a rotary fan. I've owned a bunch, and love them. I'll be honest, the original appeal was due to their obscurity, but over time and consideration they began to make much more sense than a conventional piston engine. Don't mistake, the modern selection of rotarys, the sheer lack of volume of production in relation to piston engines has made current choices not the wisest of decisions. The potential affordability of the motor is lost amongst the general public now. That's a bit of a bigger topic covered in a previous post here: Party Time
At one point in life, Rotaries were ready to take over the world, every company playing with them, with plans nearly completed to release them to the public. Two major things occurred that slayed the sales to the public beyond mazda: #1, the excuse of poor fuel economy. #2, GM screwing AMC. You see the AMC Pacer was originally designed to have a rotary engine, this motor was to be provided by GM, who last minute decided to ditch the project. This caused a massive retooling and redesign for the nearly finished pacer. I've always been curious to the true motivations of GM for this move and how it affected AMC who died not long after. I've always been curious to see more of GM's Rotary program.
The Missing Link. It's curious why I see Holdens for sale in Japan from time to time, I do know they import all obscurities, but what I didn't know is that GM was serious about their rotary program, but didn't want anyone to know. They hid them in Japan Australia, and New Zealand: A Holden Morano rebadged as a Mazda Roadpacer, a 3400lb car with an naturally aspirated 13b. Mazda's plans were to sell them to Japanese aristocrats, the car even came with a vocal dictation system built right in.
Oddly enough this raises more questions about GM's rotary program: did they ever really build many rotaries themselves? Or did they just play pretend with other peoples motors on a more than half assed effort? What was powering the original rotary Corvette prototypes provided by Pinnifarina? REad more about it here: Rotary Corvette and a neat little article about it here: Savior.
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