The rotary engine had its moment of automotive glory with Mazda, but while the Japanese automaker’s rotary engines where small-displacement, high-revving, buzz bombs, one American startup tried a very different approach, designing an 11.6-liter big-block rotary running on diesel for marine applications.
The company was Rotary Power International, and the engine was the Model 2116R. According to press materials dated August 2000 unearthed by Car Expert, the 2116R was a two-rotor engine with an aluminum block, 8.5:1 compression ratio, and a stratified direct injection system, as well as spark ignition. This would have allowed the 2116R to run on gasoline as well as diesel, or even kerosene or jet fuel, according to the company.
Rotary Power International quoted an output of 1,000 horsepower at 3,600 rpm and 1,550 pound-feet of torque at 2,400 rpm.
The company also discussed other, larger rotary marine engines, including the four-rotor, 23.1-liter 4231R