RPS Motor Sport: A Rotary Goldmine
The Lure Of The Wankel

I often wonder what possessed Felix Wankel to one day sit down at his desk and think, ‘Right, today I’m going to design a piston-less engine.” Never do I have this thought and not end up concluding that he must have been nothing short of a genius seeing how simple the concept of what he designed is. But in its most recognisable form – the Mazda rotary – the Wankel engine hasn’t fared well in recent years as emission standards and fuel efficiency have become paramount in modern-day engine technology. So as we all sit here and wonder if or when the Wankel will make another appearance in the future, we might as well celebrate it. And there’s no better time than now…


In Japan, the seventh day of the seventh month of the year has always marked the celebration of all things related to the RX-7 and rotaries in general. I kicked things of yesterday with a look at Car Shop Glow’s time attack FD3S, and you can expect some more rotary-centric coverage from me throughout this week. Right now though, I want share with you a tour of a very special shop that Sean from Top Gear Malaysia brought me to on my recent trip to Kuala Lumpur. RPS Motor Sports turned out to be a true revelation and one of the most character-filled shops I have ever visited.

Located in a nondescript industrial estate in a very quiet area of the city, this is a busy little operation. There are two basic sides to it: the main workshop area where I found a few classics under the knife, as well as the garage next door where bodywork and fabrication is taken care of.


We were greeted by Prem, who along with his brother set up RPS and put it on Malaysia’s tuning workshop map. Among an eclectic mix of rotary-powered machines parked out front was this very cool FC3S RX-7.


The workshop only has one lift but the RPS guys manage to squeeze five cars into the space.


Two examples of the Capella Rotary – or RX-2 as they’re known outside of Japan – in for some maintenance set the theme for the shop rather well.


As Prem invited me to come inside I spotted another classic. Being the first RX-7, the SA22C is a bit of a legend in rotary circles.


While Prem and his crew will take on any sort of job – be it restoration, tuning and general mechanical work – their true passion lies in drag racing. And power is definitely paramount to what they do!


RPS’s FC3S drag machine is an absolute beast! This is one car that I need to dedicate a full feature to the next time I visit KL.


Right behind the FC was another drag machine – this time based on an RX-8 – patiently waiting to be re-prepared for the strip.


But the awesome cars I was seeing wasn’t what surprised me the most – it was the shop itself. I often go on about how in Japan, due to the lack of space, tuners just stack things everywhere – often in a less than organized fashion. It’s something that in a way gives that very special aura to Japanese shops. Well, RPS takes storage to a whole new level, and everywhere I looked there were parts stacked and hung.

A Storage Like No Other

At first glance it might look chaotic, but everything is actually organized in a meticulous fashion.


These guys are masters at maximising space. Be it transmissions, suspension parts or rotor housings – there’s a place for everything!


Need an exhaust manifold or some coil springs? Then the rack next to the drag car is the place to start digging through.


Care for a steering wheel? RPS has a good selection of those on hand too.


Towards the front of the shop was a little corner with full engine assemblies that had been recently removed from cars and were ready to be stripped down and rebuilt.


The more I looked around, the more I fell for this very special workshop!


I couldn’t possibly leave without taking a quick peak under the lightweight front cowl that makes up the nose of the RPS drag FC.


Prem and one of his mechanics obliged and quickly uncovered the the insane 20B engine package that resides beneath.


As the size of the turbocharger might suggest, the three-rotor setup is very much able to push power well into the four figure zone.


Next up I headed into the garage next door where there were quite a few cars waiting to be worked on.


This is where all the fabrication and metal work happens, and where seemingly rusted-out chassis are brought back from the dead.

A Rotary Goldmine

Looking up I saw more parts stored around the second floor of the workshop – this time bumpers and front panels.


Check out the old school Rothmans livery on this flared SA22C front fender. Look closely and you can see some of the rest of the panels from what looks like would have been a very cool machine in its day.


One corner of the workshop was dedicated to worship. I’ve said it before, but the mix of cultures and religions in Malaysia make it one of the most interesting countries to visit in South East Asia.


The back of the shop doubles up as an additional storage area for cars. Here, old chassis slowly donate the last few good parts and panels that they have to give.


Behind the fabrication area is also a spray bay where fresh new colours are laid down. As you might have already guessed, RPS is a real one-stop operation.


Seeing how excited I was at what I’d found in the workshop, Prem asked me if I wanted to see his really clean cars, which are housed elsewhere. I certainly wasn’t going to turn him down!


After a short drive we arrived at a secure lock up where one of his customer’s cars was being kept.


Like RPS’s RX-7 drag car, this FC featured a 20B swap too. Thanks to its bridge-ports, the three-rotor had an idle that sent shivers down my neck. Close your eyes, and imagine it: brap brap brap!


The yellow exterior with fixed, open-face headlights certainly set the car off well.


After another short drive we arrived at a private garage where Prem showed me his own cars.


Another yellow RX-7 – this time an FD3S dressed up in RE Amemiya’s finest aero conversion. Right behind it was his FC…


You guessed it – another 20B swap, and one that’s running a turbo the size of my head no less!


I’m really glad that Sean took me to RPS, and in doing that I got to meet Prem. All his cars need featuring as soon as possible, so I really hope I have a chance to stop by KL before the next Art of Speed show next year.

Thanks again to Prem, and Sean for all his help while out in KL!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Have they run their FC drag car and if so what time/mph does it do?

I wonder if RX2's/RX3's etc command $60k+ over there, or if a 20B engine build touches on $30k without too much effort.....doubt it. Would be a better place for a rotor enthusiast to enjoy their hobby than in Oz where it's all become a bit of a rip.


Spaghetti Those prices are a joke!


Awww yeah, some awesome cars in this post and what a cool workshop.


Moments that makes u proud of your country.

Well done to both Dino & RPS!!


speedhunters_dino Spaghetti You're not kidding! Even 808's mocked up as RX3's will get you near, if not on that figure! Although it's all a bit fashionable at the moment, a fad to own one and when the fad dies off I wonder where the prices will be. Good to see places like this still doing it for the passion.


thanks Dino for letting me know. If I owned a shop, I might be like this :)
Funny thing is I'm reading this as I just dropped off some parts at a storage place so I can make some space to put a lift in my garage.


I am wondering, is that a sewage pipe they welded to the turbo on the dragster FC? So big! Hahaha~


Thank dino..nice word n photo shoot...realy interesting ...tks to visit rps


How much would a rx8 engine rebuild cost?


I love rotarys. If I were rich Id definitely have at least one in the stable.

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

I'll second that, in Sydney the prices are stupid. I'll put this pic up of a fairly good RX-3 with a 10a in it. This is cheap!


Now I hate my country in term of cars now, we barely had access to all of these gems. While our neighbor country like Malay and Singapore got it. Thanks to the inflation, common sense, and overstrict but stupid import and traffic regulations.


Chris 'Haffy' Hafner Freakin' 'straya and it's roller skate wheels!


I never know our country have people does 20B swap !


That matte black SA seems interesting...


SnoozinRichy Chris 'Haffy' Hafner Still better than 'zealand and its chrome trailer wheels. Although not all 'strayans run 17's+ ;)


jay8393 Yeah will be cool to see what they do with it!


RDS See, you got to dig deeper ;)


muhammadilham Which country would that be?


Prem_RPS Oh I'll definitely be back! Thanks Prem!! :)


MearBiaggi Thanks!


oswin awat Thanks, Malaysia is a dope place!


SnoozinRichy Chris 'Haffy' Hafner That's nuts! But Australia is knows for being one of the most expensive places on the planet so it's kind of to be expected I guess...


anybody knows where the red RX8 came from?


I wish the rotary engine more popular in Indonesia, i really want one right now


speedhunters_dino muhammadilham Indonesia probably. I saw few RX-3 and RX-2 (the condition aren't good,if i have the money i will buy it for sure) when i was in jogja two months ago sometimes you have to go to smaller town i promise you will find rare cars/bikes

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Tell me about it, we just get absolutely hammered on anything here.
As for the 'Roller skate' wheels, yup that's the Simmons wheels on any rotor look mate. Makes Torque Thrusts on all the muscle cars look unique! Lol


sonyghazi Help make it more popular!


AprilexHK Maybe Prem_RPS can reply?


wow really cool workshop


Chris 'Haffy' Hafner at least it is possible to buy one :D


AprilexHK A guess would be Puerto Rico. They have a very large rotary drag racing scene holding most of the current records.


Spaghetti speedhunters_dino RX3/808 are the only modified Australian car you cant loose money on. People are willing to pay the prices and i dont see them coming down or fading out... Until the new body shells/chassis start coming in.


shop tours are the best. thanks Dino !


Thanks again for coming to Malaysia this year! Hope you can visit at the Borneo side of the country to check out the mini-truck scene that was inspired from Thailand! :)


@MyLifeAsLouis Sounds so cool!


adamindet Yes they are :) Thanks!


Abezzegh87 That is true. No enough specialists to maintain/tune them properly ...


scibO AprilexHK Oh man there's another country I'm craving to do some Speedhunting in!


scibO Spaghetti speedhunters_dino New body shells? From where?


speedhunters_dino for sure !


I actually remembered seeing that RX8 competing in the Sepang Drag Battle a few years back. I always wondered what happened to it.


Rotarys music to my ears. I always like this time of the year.
Dino if you ever plan to go to P.R. let me know. I happen to be born and raise there. Hunting for rotarys in P.R is dam worth it. I know a lot of shops there.
I'll be more than happy to fly from Spain back there to show you around mate. Its been a while that i don't go there.


scibO I do....all fads die off. Look at GT Falcons.....their high prices didn't last. Once all the true enthusiasts are priced out of the scene and the fly by nighters decide to try another faddish car, who'll be left to buy the over priced RX's. No one, then the prices will fall. It'll happen eventually.


I love that drag car positioning of the turbocharger, very similar to a "blown" supercharger oft-seen on big v8 drag cars. Really innovative. And that yellow first-gen RX-7 is sweet! Best rotary I've seen on here since that RX-3 from Australia sitting on Simmons rims. Also using angle grinder with no protective footwear - loco!


speedhunters_dino come to borneo dino where the food are good , the woman are great and the cars are crazy


speedhunters_dino scibO Spaghetti  A guy here in Aust who makes reproduction parts for early mazdas has sent a rx3 coupe and sedan to china to be copied and manufactured. As to how far along or successful it has been i am unsure.


Spaghetti scibO GT Falcon prices exploded though. It was an over night price rise. Rotaries... R100, RX2 Coupe, Rx3 Coupe and sedan have been increasing over the last 10 years. Rx2 Sedans, Rx4s and early Rx7s have increased but dont hold there value like the others.


Anyone else notice he was cutting metal in sandals?


I'm from Spain too, where are you based? I'd like to talk with you about an idea...


Valencia mate.


Can you shoot me a mail at sam@streetrunners.net? Thanks!


Spaghetti SnoozinRichy Chris 'Haffy' Hafner "If it's got modgies, it braps."


BelfastPerf1 It's all good...


FathiHaziq What sort of times?


@DEUSKotaKinabalu speedhunters_dino Lots of cars uh?


speedhunters_dino FathiHaziq At the time, the car had some engine troubles so it couldn't do any quick runs.


i wonder where the shop located at,can't wait to visit the shop ASAP


Yo bro, Nice name! Fellow Kiwi.


On_Lock_Daily Kiwis all the way mate


This remind me another place like that. But for another good engine to: Rocky auto the RB's engine 'goldmine' ;)
Thankfully, There is places like this with enthusiasts people.


On_Lock_Daily Fortytwo yeah, if I say anything stupid, it worsens the PMs reputation, not mine. :)


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