Rolls-Royce Once Made A Twin-Rotor Wanklel Engine That Ran On Diesel


Just in case you wanted to brag about how exotic your engine was compared to a quad-turbo W16 Bugatti engine.

If it isn’t making a splash for trying to loosen its snobbish ways in favor of outlandish millennial-approved designs, Rolls-Royce can rest its credibility on quality jet engines that have made it the Double R logo of the most well-known in the aeronautics industry. Rolls can also pack a mighty V12 punch with its internal combustion engines, but things tend to get weird when it’s engineers try to pioneer a new motor using an exotic recipe.

Engineering Explained dives into probably the weirdest engine to come from Rolls-Royce—a Wankel rotary engine that was split into two separate rotors developed in the late 60s and early 70s. That’s enough to turn quite a few heads, but stranger still is the fact that this rotary motor had no spark plugs. That’s right, it was a diesel.

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If you’re scratching your head wondering how on Earth it works, we’ll try to provide an abridged version of Jason Fenske’s famous explanations. Basically the engine has one smaller rotor stacked on top of a larger one. The larger rotor is responsible for compressing the fuel and air mixture for optimal diesel explosion before sending it into the smaller combustion chamber, which is responsible for sending power to the wheels. But why did Rolls feel the need to make such an engine in the first place? It certainly wasn’t for a range-topping luxury cruiser. Instead it was intended to be used in military applications, but despite the ambitious plan, the engine seems to have never made it to production.

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