What Was The Greatest Dead End In Automotive Technology?

Illustration for article titled What Was The Greatest Dead End In Automotive Technology?

As the automotive industry matures, the oddballs get weeded out. Which weirdo was the most intriguing?

I will always remained amazed at the rotary engine. I don’t particularly like these super Nazi-designed things on their own merit, but I love thinking about how back in the 1970s there was a moment when it seemed like all engines in the future would be rotaries. GM had an engine plan going, AMC was going to stick one in their new compact car. Then everyone figured out that they were expensive and sucked fuel and the OPEC crisis killed pretty much all of those plans.


Mazda was left as the only one carrying the torch (it nearly bankrupted them, too), and eventually it died with them some years ago.

Was there a greater/weirder/more wonderful dead end in automotive tech than the rotary?

Photo Credit: Mazda

Contact the author at raphael@jalopnik.com.

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