The R-985 Pratt & Whitney radial engine, also known as the R-985 Wasp Junior, was originally developed in the late 1920s and put into service in 1929.
Over the course of the 1929 to 1953 production run almost 40,000 of them would be built and fitted to a range of aircraft including the Lockheed Model 10A Electra, the Lockheed Model 12A Electra Junior, the Beechcraft Model 18, the Grumman Goose, the Beechcraft Staggerwing, the Howard DGA-15, and the Spartan Executive.
Many of the original engines are still flying today, and there’s an entire industry set up to keep vintage aircraft engines like this in top flying condition – including any and all parts that may be required and the expertise to maintain and rebuild them.
The R-985 Pratt & Whitney has a capacity of 985 cubic inches (hence the model name) which works out to 16.14 litres. It’s a 9 cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial engine with horsepower ranging from 300 hp to 450 hp depending on the specific model and the altitude at which it’s operating.
The engine was designed as a mid-sized version of the larger R-1340 Wasp (1,340 cubic inch) radial engine by Pratt & Whitney, and the two engines used the same mounting system resulting in them being interchangeable.
A number of companies have appeared over the past few decades that specialise in taking vintage radial engines and other classic aircraft parts like this and turning them into glass-topped coffee tables and other high-end furniture items – typically using engines that are no longer serviceable.
The R-985 Wasp Junior you see here is listed as being a 450 hp version of the engine and the seller notes that it turns freely. It doesn’t come with a logbook so hours and history are unknown, though it does appear to be complete and would likely make a good candidate for parts, restoration, or conversion into one of those aforementioned tables.
It’s listed currently with an $8,000 USD Buy It Now price and it will need to be collected on location rather than shipped due to the weight and complexity of moving it.
Images via eBay
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Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with millions of readers around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.