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Saturday, December 28, 2019

The one-off rotary-powered Mustang pony ever built

One of the radical changes ever made to a legendary American muscle car, the Ford Mustang is to replace its default engine with a rotary engine as its drivetrain. By whom? Does Ford do that? Nobody knows.
Visitors to the National Auto & Truck Museum in Auburn, Indiana, can walk right up to the rotary-powered Mustang and give it a close inspection. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/37g3C8i)
It could happen when an American aircraft company named Curtiss-Wright Corporation who had previously signed a joint agreement with NSU, a German automotive company in the 1960s to be able to develop its own version of the Wankel engine, one that was of a high-performance nature specifically engineered for aircraft.

The Wankel engine, or more popularly known as the rotary engine, was first developed by a German engineer named Felix Wankel in the 1920s and receiving a patent in 1929, and coincidentally at that time, Wankel was working at NSU where his engine was developed furthermore.
The fan shroud is almost as long as the rotary engine itself and sits well back in the chassis. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/37g3C8i)
In the ensuing years, NSU licensed the Wankel engine design to various car companies around the world, including AMC, Mercedes-Benz, Citroen, General Motors, Nissan, Suzuki, and Toyota, yet it was Mazda that installed the Wankel engine for the RX7 and RX8 cars ranging of 1978 up to 2011.
Notice the V-8 distributor cap with only two spark plug wires fitted. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/37g3C8i)
The Wankel's rotary engine concept, based on three-sided rotors spinning on a single shaft, was truly innovative, as it used 98 percent fewer moving components than conventional OHV or OHC combustion engines. Its simplicity of function is truly astounding.
Plenty of documentation is presented alongside the Mustang including the original registration and State of New Jersey Certificate of Ownership. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/37g3C8i)
So who actually initiated to install the Wankel engine in the Ford Mustang? Nobody knows. But what is certain is that this red-colored Mustang fastback obtained from dealer Dockery Ford in Morristown, New Jersey, and was registered in the name of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, Wright Aeronautical Division on July 28, 1965.

The engine installed in that Mustang is a Curtiss-Wright-designed Twin-Rotor RC2-60 rotary, displacing a mere 240 cubic inches and able to develop power up to 185 horsepower at 5,000 rpm. It weighs only 237 pounds, but its compact length of 18.5-inch made it ideal for small cars; it stands at just 21.5 inches tall. Smaller than a 289 Ford small-block V-8, it fits in the Mustang's engine compartment with plenty of room to spare.
Aside from the single exhaust emanating from the driver’s side, it’s impossible to tell that this rotary-powered Mustang is any different from a standard 1965 Mustang. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/37g3C8i)
Like many interesting concepts that go nowhere, the only one of Wankel-powered Mustang was ever built. And according to the placard at the National Auto & Truck Museum where this legendary muscle car was on display until this day, "This project was dismissed when Ford decided not to pursue the Wankel engine." The Mustang was donated to the museum by Steve Estes of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

For the present that has entered the electrified vehicle era, Ford has also been built an electric-powered Mustang pony, wanna see it? Click me... *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | HEMMINGS | NATMUS]
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