Science: Rotary with a Twist

For some automotive experts, the most exciting exhibit at London's recent fall motor show was found not among the gleaming new Jaguars and Rolls-Royces on the floor of the main exhibition hall, but inside a back room where admission was by invitation only. There, away from the car-hungry crowds, a young American automotive whiz and part-time motorcycle racer named Bob Karol displayed small models of a bold new engine design that may some day challenge the much-bally-hooed Wankel.

Karol's machine, like the Wankel, works on the rotary principle; that is, the energy from its...

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