Wankels were pretty popular in the 60's and 70's. My father in law had a Johnson with a Wankel Rotary. He says it was a very good machine, with good top-end, great mileage, and good reliability. It was lacking in the low end power, however, since a Wankel engine has almost no power until it winds up.
Last year I went to a place nearby called Sno-Pros. You may have heard of them as they own and operate a Monster truck. Anyway, I needed some parts for my dad's Polaris, and I went down there to pick through there junk pile. In their service shop, I saw one of these old Johnson rotaries being restored. I went over and talked with the mechanic for quite a while, and was checking out the machine. I was very impressed how well built the sled was. Every available option, including reverse, was there. It was a BIG machine. The track must have been 2' wide! I noticed that the machine didn't use a regular snowmobile-type drive system with the variable pitch pulleys for the drive belt. Instead it used a 2-speed transmission with 2 forward gears, neutral and reverse. The transmission was coupled to a centrifigal clutch like a go-cart would have, and the track was driven with a chain. It made sense to me because a Wankel engine has theoretically no redline, so why bother trying to change the drive ratio? Instead, the low gear was meant for pulling heavy loads slowly, and the high gear was your trail cruising gear. Engine RPM dictated your speed, and your drive ratio was constant. The mechanic started the machine for me. It ran smooth and quiet, and made almost no smoke.
I guess there must have been some other issues keeping the Wankel out of future machines, but it sure looked like it could have been a winner if they would have kept going in that direction. Some things die even though they might be better (think of the Tucker automobile!).
<P ALIGN="CENTER">All my babies are "In Perfect Running Order"!</P>
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One of the parts mahines I used to fix up my ol Lynx had a Wankel rotary engine.I think it was a 303.It was some kind of special thing, but I can't remember just what it was called.Maybe a Lynx series 1, or something.It had a Mikuni carb too.I swapped the carb and hanlebars to another lynx I got rid of.All I had to buy was a carb flange adapter to hook it up to the 292.It ran pretty good, but if you jumped too high sometimes the carb would fall off upon landing.
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