Rotary engines are crazy little things at the best of times, but these tuned cars step it up a notch. We look at some of the most insane rotary builds on the planet.

The words ‘Sensible’ and ‘Rotary’ are pretty much opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to modified cars, as a unique and temperamental engine design more suited to the race track than the road is just not sensible even in it’s mildest form. But modified cars aren’t about being sensible, they’re about fun and enjoyment, and there’s not many things more fun and enjoyable than a crazy tuned rotary engine vehicle; when they work that is!

Here’s our pick of ten of the wildest rotary engine creations out there…

World’s Most Insane Rotary Builds

Mazzei Formula 5 render

Mazzei Formula 5

Let’s start with a project that’s not even finished yet but it’s so awesome it has to be included, the Mazzei Formula 5. Ever heard of a Superlite SL-C? Most people haven’t, but it’s a lightweight Le Mans style kit car using a mid-mounted engine and transaxle gearbox, like an American equivalent of the British Ultima sports cars. Ever heard of a 5 rotor engine? Probably not, as until this project it’s never been done before!

Even ignoring the fact it’s a 5 rotor, this powerplant is going to be a full billet motor revving to over 9000rpm and fitted with a gigantic 106mm Garrett G57 turbo making around 1400 horsepower. Combine all these things together and we’re talking a road legal car that will have the sound and performance that’s up there with the legendary Group C or even F1 V10 cars of the past, and we can’t wait to see it completed. Check out the Mazzei Formula YouTube channel to follow the build.

Adam LZ 4-rotor Supra

Adam LZ 4rotor Mk5 Supra

While the quad rotor is most rotary fans dream engine, and therefore there’s quite a few quad rotor builds out there, it takes a whole different level of person to not only do a quad rotor build, but to do it to a brand new Mk5 Toyota Supra. And that’s exactly what Adam LZ did.

Getting a Mk5 Supra and stripping it back to a bare shell, adding a full custom cage, a Street Hunter wide body kit, carbon doors, carbon roof, sequential gearbox, and a dry sump quad rotor engine revving to 10,000rpm is one hell of a build. But best of all, it’s no show car, he’s built it to use hard on track, and isn’t afraid to take it to the limit every time he turns the key. Watch it in action here.

Mukka Motorsport 6-rotor FD RX-7

Mukka Motorsport 6 Rotor RX-7

While two rotors are awesome, and three and four rotors are usually confined to people’s dream builds, what about a six rotor? Mukka Motorsport in New Zealand have a wide variety of crazy race cars, but the wildest is a FD RX-7 drift car packing an 880 horsepower naturally aspirated six rotor engine!

Rotary engines tend to sound like a piston engine with twice the amount of cylinders running at twice the rpm, so this 6 rotor sounds like a V12 race engine being revved to the moon, and that, combined with the fact it’s a tire destroying monster, makes us absolutely love it. It’s still early days for this car but the track footage we’ve seen so far is enough for it to instantly make this list.

Mia Yeselie rotary Starlet

Mia Yeselie KP Starlet

KP Starlets are tiny little rear wheel drive hatchbacks that were made from 1978 to 1984, and despite being super light, fast they were not, with the quickest models leaving the Toyota factory with just 75 horsepower.

Being such a small and light car, despite it’s lack of performance, makes it one of those cars that feels like you’re doing 100mph even when you’re not even doing half that speed, so imagine how it must feel if it could do 0-208mph in 6.6seconds? That’s exactly what this KP Starlet, named Mia Yeselie, can do, thanks to a two rotor 13B Turbo engine making absolutely insane amounts of power. It must feel absolutely terrifying.

How much power does it take to accelerate like that? Well the car, even with all the lightening, is likely to weigh more than standard thanks to a stronger and heavier rear axle, massive rear wheels, full cage, and much more, so 750kg at least. So, that tiny two rotor is likely to make at least 1300 horsepower to pull that feat off! See it an action on the drag strip in this video.

Mazda 787B

Mazda 787B

The most famous Mazda race car ever made, the Mazda 787B is legendary, partly due to its incredible sounding quad rotor engine, and partly due to its famous win at the 1991 Le Mans 24 hours. Despite winning the world’s most famous race against incredible opposition, that was actually the only race the 787 series of cars ever won, despite also competing in the Japanese and World sports car championships.

This carbon and Kevlar body masterpiece weighed just 850kg and ran massive 12×18 front wheels and 14.75×18 rear wheels, and made almost 700bhp at 9000rpm, though allegedly it was capable of up to 900bhp if reliability and fuel consumption wasn’t an issue!

RE-Amemiya GReddy VI

RE-Amemiya GReddy VI

One of the wildest ideas for a modified car ever, Japanese rotary legends RE-Amemiya got a tiny Autozam AZ-1 Kei car and tuned it in to something almost completely unrecognizable from the original; an insane 3 rotor turbo supercar that resembled a miniature McLaren F1 far more than it did the original car.

With amazing looking bodywork shown off by the bright white pain, it wore matching white Desmond Regamaster Evo wheels and 295 wide tires. This thing was powered by a 20B 3 rotor engine and GReddy T78-33G turbo making 500 horsepower at 1.1bar boost. While 500bhp is a lot of power, bear in mind the AZ-1 weighed in at just 720kg from the factory, so it had the supercar smashing performance to match its incredible looks. Watch this video to see it up close and on the road.

Queen Street E46 BMW

Queen Street E46 BMW

Spending about £100,000 on plating your engine bay in 24k gold isn’t the first thing any normal person would do to a drag car, but crazy things like this is exactly what makes the modified car world so interesting.

With an estimated cost of $1million Australian dollars through its various builds, this black E46 BMW might look like a modified M3 show car from the outside, but under the skin it’s a full on drag car powered by a big power rotary. Running both a 3 and 4 rotor engine over the years, this thing makes upwards of 1500 horsepower and has just as much go as the incredible amount of show it has.

Some cars are show cars that just look like race cars, but this one truly is both, and to this day, despite existing for over 15 years, is still used on the drag strip at big events in Australia. Watch it run down the strip here.

Rod Millen RX-7 FC Pikes Peak

Rod Millen 4wd FC RX7 Pikes Peak car

Kiwi rally legend Rod Millen is probably most famous these days for his Pikes Peak and Goodwood Festival Of Speed exploits in the 1000bhp+ Toyota Celica and Tacoma, but in his earlier years of racing he had great success in a variety of rotary powered cars, and the wildest was this FC RX-7 he built for the Open Class of the 1991 Pikes Peak hill climb. Check out some old footage of it going up the mountain here.

Like the kind of car Mazda themselves would’ve built for Group B rallying if it wasn’t outlawed, this thing had a 3 rotor engine pushed right back in the firewall for better weight distribution, a massive single turbocharger, and most unusually for an RX7, it was four wheel drive! Open Class rules stated the car had to look externally standard, but they didn’t say it still had to be metal, so the entire body is fiberglass and wrapped around a chromoly space frame chassis.

As you might imagine for such a weapon, Rod won the class with the car, and after living in Japan for many years at tuner RE-Amemiya, it’s back in New Zealand and restored to its former glory and sees track action to this very day.

Want learn more about Pikes Peak? Here are some of the best Pikes Peak cars of all time.

A front right side shot of a black Rotor Mazda RX 7 driving

Mazzei Formula 7

This beast of a FD RX-7 was once a cover car for Fast Car Magazine, and for good reason too, it looks, sounds, and performs, absolutely amazingly. This mean and moody black RX-7 may well be a road car, but it’s no ordinary one, packing well over 1000 horsepower thanks to a quad rotor engine packing a GTX55 turbo, and putting the power to the rear tires via an air shifted Quaife sequential gearbox.

This flame throwing screaming monster may be ridiculously fast, but it’s got just as much show as go, rocking deep dish Work Meister S1 wheels, a RE-Amemiya wide body kit, Scoot carbon bonnet, and a fully trimmed and caged interior.
The ultimate RX-7 road car? Probably! Read our full feature on it next to get the full story.

Rob Dahm 4-rotor turbo AWD RX-7 FD

Rob Dahm’s 4-rotor Turbo AWD

Probably the best known RX-7 on the planet right now, Rob Dahm’s quad rotor turbo RX-7 combines the wildest parts of many of the other cars in this feature all in to one crazy creation.

Inspired by Ken Block’s Hoonicorn Mustang, under the skin of this wide body FD is a full spaceframe race chassis and suspension setup, a quad rotor turbo engine that’s made over 1400 horsepower on the dyno and is claimed to be capable of as much as 2000, and most usefully when you’re making ridiculous amounts of power, a Skyline GT-R based active all-wheel drive system.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave in recent years we expect you’ve already seen this car in action, but if you haven’t, we highly recommend you head to YouTube and check out the many videos starring this car to see what all the fuss is about!