Unusual Internal-Combustion Engines

Updated: 11 June 2015
Solid fuel engines added
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Almost everyone is aware that their car is powered by an internal-combustion engine. What they may not realize is that the basic design has changed very little ever since Karl Benz patented the first automobile in 1886.

An enormous variety of unconventional internal combustion engines have been invented, almost universally with total lack of success. The list below attempts the near-impossible task of classifying them, and links you to details of the engine, where such details currently exist on the site. It does not pretend to be a complete list, but it is growing. Some of the engines have been animated by Bill Todd, a master of the craft.

I have followed the accepted practice of calling engines like the Wankel "rotary-piston engines" to distinguish them from "rotary engines" where the whole engine rotates.

The truly bizarre engines that fit nowhere else used to be housed on this page; they now have their own Miscellaneous IC Engines gallery; see The Polizzi flap engine, apparently one of the great losers of all time. And yet... there is now The Pivotal Engine.


(The greyed-out engines have not yet been delivered to the Museum)

These are external links; not responsible for the content of external sites. An increasing number of these links are becoming dead but are retained here as their titles are the only clue to tracking down the engines.

The Janova Engine. (University of Arizona) Live

The Ball Piston Engine. Dead link

The Rand Cam Engine. Dead link

The Antonio Sanchez Hybrid Engine (Spain) Live

The Dyna-Cam Engine Dead link

The Perlex Engine Dead link

The Veselovsky rotary engine Dead link

The Quasiturbine Very much alive

The Rotary of Koushi Akasaka (Japan) Not much info here.

The Rotatorque Engine New

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