The last rotary has been built by Mazda

Last year Mazda said that come next June it would end production of the RX-8 and, by extension, the rotary engine. Well that day has arrived. Mazda has announced that last Friday, June 22, the final Wankel rolled off the assembly lines in Hiroshima. 

A final run of 1,000 special editions called the RX-8 Spirit R were built staring last November. Due to overwhelming demand the run was extended to another 1,000, but the last one of these has now been finished. A modest gathering of assembly line workers bade the final model farewell as it left the factory. Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi reassures us that its production will start again in some form, but it will likely be a hydrogen cell hybrid of some kind.

Since the debut of the 1967 Cosmo Sport 45 years ago the rotary has led a roller coaster of a life, bringing Mazda great success and also to the brink of bankruptcy. But the automotive world was a better place for it, and it is with great sadness that we pour some sake on the curb and bow our heads for a moment of silence.

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24 Responses to The last rotary has been built by Mazda

  1. buzzin says:

    tis’ sad times

  2. Aaron says:

    good riddance to the RX8… the FD would have been a tough act for any successor, but the rx8 is the such a boring car…

    • Derek says:

      clearly youve never taken an rx8 to an open track day.

    • Watt2159 says:

      I wouldn’t necessarily call the RX-8 a “boring” car, its fun to drive, but when compared to its predecessors, it just feels like it could have been something more.

      • Dan says:

        It might not be a worthy successor to the FD, but I applaud Mazda for at least trying to continue in the spirit of its 90s sports car. All the other automakers either killed their cars completely (Supra, 3000GT) or took a long hiatus (300ZX, NSX)

  3. Nigel says:

    Ok so what will Ama san do now, (RE Amemiya) builder of some of the coolest 7’s.
    (Super rare RE edition Rx-8).
    (Rx’s were awesome).

  4. L.A.M says:

    Wow makes me want to put a rotary in my corolla just to keep them alive :/

  5. Tyler says:

    So who’s going to be the one to stash a Spirit R in the garage for thirty years?

  6. IMO says:

    Mazda going the way of hydrogen is a very exciting moment for the future. I can not wait to see what they are cooking up P: If there is a semi rotary hydrogen hybrid that just sounds so neat.

    I have no idea how hydrogen combustion works yet though (especially engine design), so I do not know if that magical cross over would be possible, but if it is similar to a normal fuel combustion chamber-wise then I am sure we will see a new form of rotary, ya?

    • Bruno says:

      yes they have hybrid-hydrogen powered Rotary engines since the late 80’s, early 90’s.

      they have a Mazda RX8 that was sold in 2006 to Norway and Japan.
      featured a Renesis H-Hydrogen engine. 200hp.
      They also made it inside a special edition of the MAZDA5.

      The cars and engines are featured at Hiroshima Mazda Museum.
      I have visited it its unbelivable.
      I have tons and tons of pictures on Facebook.

  7. Dweezle says:

    Mazda have already built a Hydrogen Rotary.
    They are far more efficient then piston Hydrogen engines.

    • IMO says:

      This is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I can not wait for hydrogen to begin to take over for fossil fuels.

  8. Kevin T says:

    They should of built a rotary electric hybrid…with the high reving hp, the low end immediate torque of an electric battery would of did some wonders not to mention improve on the gas mileage of the wankel

  9. Lincoln Stax says:

    I grew up in the 70s. Seeing those rotary RX-2s, -3s, -4s, Cosmo, REPU and of course the original RX-7 all around me was very cool. Mazda was my favorite of the Japanese brands just because of the awesomeness of the rotary engine. It’s going to be a small, sadder automotive world without a rotary-engined car in it.

  10. Victor says:

    I wonder how many years we have left until rotary engine parts are as hard to find as NOS Cosmo Sport Housings

    • kev says:

      I think the bigger concern, is that all the rotary rebuilding experts are close to retirement now. All that hard-won expertise from building hundreds of rotaries in the 70s and 80s will soon be gone.

      • Victor says:

        I wouldn’t be too worried about that, I know that in Puerto Rico there are many young guys that know how to put a rotary together because of the passion there is on the Island for them. I bet its the same in Australia.

      • ewok says:

        I can think of only one old guy rotary mechanic/workshop that’s closed recently in Melb and it was no great loss when he closed either. Most of the ones I know are under 40.

  11. Darryl says:

    We knew this day would come…. Makes me sad. And I agree about the knowledge base dwindling… Now I’m really on the hunt for quality old school pieces…

  12. Danny says:

    When I saw the news last year that mazda would discontinue the RX-8 I poured out some Royal Purple on a bonfire, only the best for the motor that burns oil on purpose..

  13. Bruno says:

    Hey i think its time for you guys a JNC , to do a tribute Rotary shirt.
    i already have the 787B one… but id love to see a special Rotary shirt…
    or maybe to reminisce, a Mazda Cosmo Sport shirt …. not the one with the Toyota and Datsun….

    One only for Mazda ….

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