Author: Nicholas Faith, Hardbound, 233 Pages, ISBN: 9780046500016, First Edition, 1976 - **Second-Hand book in excellent unread condition**
The Wankel rotary engine—named for its inventor, Dr Felix Wankel—is the single most revolutionary new idea in motoring since the piston engine was developed. As Nicholas Faith writes, 'had the rotary engine been developed seventy years before the piston engine we now use, and not seventy years after, anyone selling the idea of the heavy, noisy, complex reciprocating engine, using fuel far more refined than that required by a rotary, would have been laughed out of court.
Nicholas Faith traces how Wankel first solved many of the problems of the rotary engine—which in theory is much more efficient than the piston engine—under contract for the Luftwaffe; how the first key developments were undertaken by a small German motor-cycle company, NSU ; how the idea was spread world-wide by an American showman-businessman, Roy Hurley; how a quiet Japanese engineer first produced a working commercial model of the engine; how the idea is used for everything from model (and full-sized) aeroplanes to outboard motors, and how the giant General Motors gave its seal of approval to the idea four years ago.
The book is partly a story of technical advances. Much more, it is the intricate and fascinating story of the human and business factors which affect a major invention. It involves, on the one hand, big, modern corporations—each with its own mystique, its own internal conflicts—while, on the other, it brings in innumerable wheeler-dealers, bankers, entrepreneurs, middlemen, characters who sometimes seem to have strayed from the more casual, more personal days of nineteenth century capitalism.
And yet, now, over twenty years after Dr Wankel first worked out the exact figuration of his engine—a design of great elegance, both to the qualified engineer and to the layman—only two manufacturers actually make the engine and the motor industry is still not converted to its virtues.
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