Pretty neat. Thank you for sharing.
Wow, in a car ? Rotary engines were used to power many of the WWI planes, including the famous Sopwith Camels, Fokker Triplanes, and French Nieuports. But this is the first application in a car that I've ever heard of.
Rotary engines were known for their good power to weight ratio, smooth operation, and good cooling. But they weren't known for long life or reliability !
Note that this engine is technically known as a "rotary" rather than "radial". The radial arrangement of the cylinders is the same on each type, but on a rotary the crankshaft stands still and the cylinders spin. Exactly the opposite of a radial.
The Germans had a motorcycle with an engine like that in place of the front wheel.
If you were to put mufflers on that type of engine you would want to have them balanced first!
Thank you Aaron. What a trip.
I wonder what type of lubrication systems were used in the Adams-Farwell car and in the motorcycle ?
The WWI airplanes that I'm familiar with mix their oil into the fuel, and the oil is expended out the exhaust just like with a two-stroke. Pretty messy operation.
Worse yet is that the airplane rotary engines seemed to require castor oil as a lubricant. Other types of oils were tried back in the day and even in more modern times, but castor still seems to be the only thing that works. The combined motion of a piston going up and down in its cylinder, and at the same time whirling around in an orbit, creates horrendous side loads on the piston sidewalls.
Check out the Wasp rotary aircraft engine on You Tube. WW I era 2 cycle. Ran flat out, no throttle I believe.
That car was part of the Harrah car collection in Sparks, Nevada.
Unless things have changed, It was the only one known to survive.
It's amazing how they sound like aircraft engines. Not too much diff. I guess. Strange though, back in the mid 70s I had visited the museum and remember seeing two cars with radial engines.
George n L.A.
It's interesting to hear stories about the WW1 pilots. Due to a steady intake of castor oil the first thing a WW1 pilot would have to do upon landing was run to the outhouse (usually located very close to the runway).
The other challenge was that these engines did not have any throttle control. They would have to use an ignition interrupt button to control the engine.
It is still in the Harrah/National Auto Museum in Reno.
Very unique car and I believe Mike is correct, it is the only surviving example.
That's an amazing car. I didn't know they had Radial Engines as far back as 1906.