How can a machine configuration that has proven to be unreliable , and has various problems, still has fans and is one of the timeless automotive commodities.
At this time we can only find new cars with engine configurations that use pistons in them, even though in the past few decades the world has been given a type of engine that does not use pistons at all. The machine is a Rotary machine.
Not from Japan, Rotary Machines are the result of German Engineers
The Rotary engine was first created by an engineer from Germany named Felix Wankel in 1919. with the engine code DKM on his piston-less engine configuration, this car has a power of 21 horsepower, the first version of this Rotary engine has a rotating housing and rotor. .
Felix Wankel’s first version of the Rotary engine inspired other engineers . Hans Dieter Paschke, to modify the ideas of his predecessors. With the KKM engine code, Hans made this machine only have one rotating part , namely the rotor. It is the Hans Rotary machine version that is still in use today.
Hans’s KKM machine has various advantages, such as smoothness of the engine, compact parts, and a silent engine sound. The various advantages offered by Hans’s KKM engine have made various car manufacturers try to apply the machine to their model line.
Rotary Machines in Production Cars
The first production car to successfully apply the engine was the NSU Spyder in 1964, the NSU Spyder used a small one-rotor configuration that was embedded in the rear of the car, which made the car have two trunks at the front and rear of the car.
This car has a good appearance and has the ability to drive at high rpm, even though with the various positive sides the car has. It turns out that along with the mortal enemy of the rotor engine configuration, namely the Apex Seal error.
So that the car, which should have been the first breakthrough in the configuration of this rotor engine, has not succeeded in shifting the position of the piston engine which has long controlled the throne. As a result, this car only produced 24 units before finally ceasing production in 1967.
NSU tried to fix the problem with the apex seal and began to introduce its newest product, namely the NSU RO 80 in 1970 to 1977 and even then it did not meet the sales target quota from the NSU, so in the end the NSU RO 80 car was discontinued again.
Mazda’s devotion to Rotary Engines
On the other hand, the Japanese manufacturer, Mazda is trying to redevelop the Rotary engine to ensure that the Rotary engine they are using is in a state of minimal problem. Mazda introduced their latest model using the 2 Rotary engine configuration in 1967, which they named the Mazda Cosmo.
Mazda Cosmo is a compact sports car which is their masterpiece , but without prior readiness. Mazda found that the Rotary engine they were using was difficult to meet standard exhaust emissions.
So that to meet these regulations, and still make the Apex Seal on their Rotary engines work properly, this Mazda Rotary engine is claimed to be able to burn the oil levels in the engine.
But that didn’t seem to stop them from using Rotary machines until 30 years later. Mazda uses the name RX for its model line that uses Rotary engines such as.
- RX-2 1970-1978
- RX-3 1971-1978
- RX-4 1972-1979
In fact, Mazda also created the only car with a pick-up model that used a Rotary engine configuration named REPU in 1974. With high confidence, Mazda even firmly embed the words “Rotary Power” on the lid of the Mazda REPU unit.
However, because this car is claimed to have bad torque. Mazda stopped production of the car in 1977. On the other hand, the longest-lasting model that uses the Rotary engine configuration is the Mazda Cosmo.
Even the last generation Mazda Cosmo is equipped with a 2000cc twin turbo sequential engine with 3 rotors that produces 300 horsepower and around 300ft. Lbs. The Mazda Cosmo is an excellent car that gives the world a new view of the engine with a Rotary configuration.
However, due to the high price and the well-known engine that is wasteful of fuel. Mazda decided to stop producing the Mazda Cosmo in 1996.
Mazda is not the only manufacturer trying to develop Rotary engines in its model line. The American manufacturer, General Motor, also showed interest in the Rotary engine configuration.
GM had provided various concept cars with these engine configurations, the XP 882 and XP-897 g types, which were some of the GM concept cars that were planned to use Rotary engines, but unfortunately these types failed to launch on the market.
The appearance of the legend
Until the 1980s all the automotive manufacturers in the world decided to leave the Rotary engine configuration. Only Mazda hasn’t given up on giving the world a reliable Rotary engine without having any major problems.
It’s incomplete if you tell the story about the Rotary engine without mentioning the big name RX-7. Cars that were present to the public in 1978 managed to sell around 800 thousand units before finally ceasing to be produced in 2002.
Its ability to devour high rpm, the roar of a fierce engine sound and a sporty appearance are selling points that have made various automotive enthusiasts go crazy. Not to mention considering the Mazda RX-7 is a car that has various achievements in motorsport .
Various appearances of the RX-7 in several racing games and its appearance in action films with automotive themes, have further boosted the name of this sports car from Mazda. The compact engine, good weight distribution and optimal center of gravity are factors that also give the RX-7 a good reputation. So that to this day, this car still has a lot of fans around the world.
The RX-7 was replaced by the RX-8 in 2004, but instead of providing positive refreshments and developments, the RX-8 has a reputation that is no better than its predecessor.
Exhaust emission regulation again becomes a big problem which requires the RX-8 to reduce its power to meet these regulations.
To this day rumors of a revival of the Rotary engine from Mazda continue to circulate among the world’s automotive enthusiasts. Mazda is rumored to be resurrecting the Rotary engine, through its newest MX-30 concept product. It is rumored that Mazda will provide a Hybrid- Rotary engine configuration option , on the MX-30 model.
Although rumors are circulating, the MX-30 will only use the Stock Hybrid system instead of the Plug in Hybrid . But these rumors can be a breath of fresh air for fans of this piston-less engine. Mazda still seems unable to move on from the Rotary engine configuration which provides many wonderful experiences for them.