Saturday, April 2, 2016

Rotary Powered Snowmobile: 1972 Arctic Cat Panther 303

First, it was the rotary powered bikes.  Those were strange.   I'm not a 2-wheel guy, but the Hercules W-2000 was a make/model I'd never heard about and the RE-5 was only something I was vaguely aware of -- so imagine my surprise when a link to a rotary powered snowmobile lands in my lap.  Find this 1972 Arctic Cat Panther 303 here on eBay with starting bid of $299 and $700 buy-it-now located in Perry Hall, MD.  Tip from Hugh.

Sachs was the German engine builder who licensed rotary technology from NSU (where Felix Wankel was an engineer) to make the engine for the Hercules W-2000 -- and you can find similar Sachs rotary engine in this Arctic Cat.  It does show some signs of wear/tear, but the seller says it runs great.

For a while it seemed that the revolutionary spinning rotor would take the place of the aging piston in the combustion world -- and the compact/light weight design was a natural fit for motorcycles, snowmobiles, jet skis, chainsaws, and lawn mowers -- but the fuel efficiency and durability (and cost of manufacture) doomed the Wankel to be an artifact of the past.  However, for a motorhead and a lover of arcane stuff -- this little spinning 294 cc single rotor demon (making 23 horsepower at 6000 rpm) is a treasure!

See another strange machine designed by Barney Coopersmith?


  1. Norton Motorcycles also had a rotary even the British cops had a version may have been a sachs motor.


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