RE Amemiya’s Commitment To The Rotary Continues

Another Tokyo Auto Salon and yet another year that Mazda leaves its diehard enthusiasts in suspense. Will the rotary engine make a return? Will the RX-7 ever have a spiritual successor?

There is much speculation surrounding all of this, but no actual facts or confirmation of anything from the Hiroshima-based manufacturer. While legendary tuners like RE Amemiya have wondered what the future holds for this unique engine configuration, uncertainty certainly hasn’t hindered creativity.


Just like every year, Amemiya-san’s display at Japan’s biggest tuning show had plenty of wild creations for show-goers to see, proving that despite his age the master hasn’t lost his touch shaping one-off creations with his hands.


And while RE Amemiya is very much known for its countless aero conversions for all generations of RX-7s, their emphasis is always on power, creating truly well-rounded cars. And at the end of the day that’s exactly what we want to see more of, not aesthetic exercises built to impress at a show and then forgotten about.


The centerpiece of their 2019 TAS display was once called the Furin KazanI shot this rotary-converted Westfield back in 2010, and nine years later here it is again, albeit refreshed with a slightly modified body and green & silver coloring.


This update has seen the 250hp naturally aspirated 13B replaced with a 13B turbo engine that’s good for 50 more horsepower and an exciting torque curve that would totally transform how it drives. You can see the tight way in which the intake manifold, the piping, and the top-mounted intercooler have been arranged in order to fit within the confines of the chassis.

Aside from the raked windscreen and the inclusion of a pair of roll-hoops, the car hasn’t changed much. Although the shading on the top of the wheel covers makes them look like they flare and taper out, they actually don’t.


The dash has gained more gauges and an LCD navigation screen, hinting towards it actually being driven on the street by its owner.


Then there was this white-blue pearl FD3S RX-7 sporting RE Amemiya’s love-it-or-hate-it AD Facer 9 front bumper. From some angles it does look like it’s pulling a bit of a fish face, or looking overly surprised at something, but I put it more down to the paint color than anything else. I’ve shot cars with this front before and they never gave me that impression.


At the rear, the FD runs the widened over-fender kit as used on RE Amemiya’s recent D1 cars, and the usual carbon fiber aerodynamic additions to contrast against the rest of the body.


As I was walking around the car I noticed that every carbon fiber part has been sprayed with a blue flake-enhanced clear coat.


On a recent visit to RE Amemiya’s Tokyo shop where most of their race cars are built, we saw this very car being test fitted with an engine. At the time it was nothing more than a stripped-out shell on axle stands; it’s always remarkable to see how much these shops are able to do in the rush for TAS every year.


The choice of engine is best described as minimalistic but with a decidedly special character. It’s beautiful to see how simple a Wankel engine is without the mess of ancillaries that forced induction introduces. This naturally aspirated three-rotor 20B is good for 300hp and a soundtrack that truly excites the senses.


There’s a hell of a lot of blue in the cabin; pretty much every piece of plastic interior trim has been dyed and mated to gold carbon fiber details. Coloring aside, I did dig the digital dash.


Both this car and the red one we’ll look at shortly have been fitted with an all-new vented and widened fender design that can be mated to RE Amemiya and other brand kits to create your own bespoke look. It’s a two-piece design with a lower carbon fiber vented section.

You can see how much wider it is than stock where it meets the door.


Then we have a special customer build which everyone was drooling over, myself included.


Here we have the same fender treatment, but with a different front bumper and carbon fiber canards.


I’ve always been a massive fan of Enkei NT03s, they’re one of those timeless designs that has been around way more than 20 years now, seen here in the contemporary NT03RR form.


If it wasn’t for Ken-san, Amemiya’s son, I’d never have fully understood just what a special build this car really is. Dig deeper and you’ll find a lightweight dry-carbon (pre-preg) rear hatch.


Forget your crazy colors, this is how you execute a beautiful interior, upholstering every single surface in Alcantara to give an instant upmarket feel to the 30-year-old cabin.


There’s more dry-carbon up front with the double skinned vented hood.


And how about the important bits and pieces? Well, this is one engine bay that doesn’t let you down – there’s 500hp on tap thanks to a side-ported 13B and a Garrett T04Z turbine feeding its compressed charge into a v-mounted intercooler.


People were loving it.


If I had to pick one final detail I liked it would have to be the cut-out rear bumper, an easy and efficient way to decrease drag. That was before they added the massive wing, though. Ah well, these cars are as much about performance as they are about design.


Which brings us back to the very conundrum I opened this post on – the future of the rotary and the RX-7. I’m sure if making a modern-day Wankel adhere to stringent emission standards was easy, Mazda would have already done it. We can only hope and pray that they’ll find a way, mating it to a hybrid system or coming up with some other solution. The RX-7 is one model Mazda should not let fade away.

Until then, Amemiya-san and all the other rotor-heads around the world can continue to entertain us with their builds.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Dino Dalle Carbonare

Brap brap braaaap


the blue flake is so cool.
the blue interior is a bit much though

Dino Dalle Carbonare

My thoughts exactly!

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

The fact that Mazda is developing the next-gen rotary shows that they do plan for the unique powerplant to continue in the foreseeable future, but as a range extender for their EV models I wonder how will enthusiasts react to it.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah all rumors do point to this, if true this might not be the way to do it. I've driven a few range extender car and hearing the little motor/generators buzzing in the background at their most efficient rpm made me throw up in my mouth. So yeah, if that's what they are planning, don't bother!


Make me wonder, are you know some dedicate Skyactiv tuner in Japan just like RE dedicate with rotary ?


I wonder what changes will be made to tune Skyactiv X cars? The system has a lot of flexibility but would take a specific ECU

Dino Dalle Carbonare

There are a few tuners out there that will reflash ECUs. It's softer than "soft tuning," let's call it "limp tuning" lol


So many parameters to get right, proper aftermarket programming whether flashed or new ECU would be massively complex.
We might be at the point where, like car stereos, less people see the value in upgrading.


I’m sure if making a modern-day Wankel adhere to stringent emission standards was easy, Mazda would have already done it. We can only hope and pray that they’ll find a way, mating it to a hybrid system or coming up with some other solution.

This I agree with 100%. The only way I could see Mazda bringing back the rotory design would be alongside a hybrid system which would vastly change the characteristics that make the wankel engines so unique. So basically I could care less if Mazda brings it back in a new way, especially when you have builds like that red RX-7 still being created today! That thing is absolutely perfect! Great article btw!


I just wished they would just discontinue those fixed headlights already. They're ugly as hell, and besides, popups are the only type of lights that should be fitted to an FD, fixed lights just never suited it at all.


It's called opinion. Mine is that they look good; I only like the look of pop-up headlights when they're down.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I think the choice should be there. If it doesn't float your boat visually it does help get rid of extra weight up front. I'd keep the popups too


i dont think they will make mass production rotary again... the future is electric.. they wont spend money to invest new rx engine that last for max 20 years from now.. even toyota (almost infinity budget) didnt give us new engine with the supra...

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah but the new Supra isn't electric. What's your point?


There's a slight chance they can pull off a rotary with Skyactiv-X technology.

A man can dream.


Skyactiv X is variable compression and variable valve timing / lift + super lean compression ignition on demand. Hard to parallel in a rotary without almost complete redevelopment


We'll see....

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Let's keep dreaming shall we? We all know they have made a larger capacity twin rotor (16X) engine and I know a couple of guys that have seen it run but apparently there were a ton of issues with it in the early stages. So yeah...let's still to hoping and praying it will happen.


I'm hoping that the front splitter set isn't marketed as race tested, because that won't work. At least, not in the correct way: It will produce downforce, but even more drag. And more drag as downforce I might ad. Nice ducting in the hood, but nothing to actually channel air underneath. Air filter stuffed directly in the engine bay? And the same bonnet vents that need direct air from the radiator out the vents (magically, without actual ducting) also need to direct air to the filter (in the reverse order from on top of the bonnet to the air filter) .

Don't they know how physics work? Or is Japan on another planet? where the regular rules of physics don't apply? because this is just a styling exercise at best....


Full interior's don't exactly scream 'track car.' I am sure it is more of a style thing.


I too think the rotary will not make a comeback. It is disappointing but the wankel just can't keep up with today's automotive regulations and sure as shit can't hold a candle to what the damn EPA demands.

If it is a hybrid design it will not emulate what made the 12A/13B so special.

Sad truth is when the rotary engine production was ended a couple years ago I was saddened because I can foresee the rotary engine niche starting a slow painful death. Engine/parts availability are only going to become more scarce with time and that always leads to higher prices which limits the community to those with slightly deeper pockets. I am not saying it will be dead in 5 years but 20 years from now it may be a very different story.

I am very thankful I had the pleasure of 10 (bittersweet) years of building rotary engines, made me grow as a mechanic, as a EFI tuner and as an automotive enthusiast.

I do hope I am wrong so others may experience this for years to come.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yes it's tough to see them actually make it work, but I will personally hope until the end. That said they can always ask BMW to make them an RX7 (hahahahaha)


I really wish Enkei would bring back more 17" sizes for the old NT03+M design.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

There are 17 widths and offset options available for 17-inch diameter. Looks like a pretty ok selection to me?


Where are you seeing these new? I'm only finding the +M in one 17x9.5 size, which is too wide for (at least what I want on) my DC5. The newer RR has about that many options, but I'm not a fan of the kink in the spokes.


Boring - the GT300 cars will forever own


The Carbon with flake is so sick!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I quite liked that tough, so subtle but under the lights it just adds a nice touch that makes you look twice


Question Would RX-7/rotary heads buy a car that looked like the RX-Vision with a Mazda 3 Skyactiv X technology or electric powertrain?

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yes, then dump a 20B turbo in there :D


Anyone can LS-swap a rotary
But keeping a rotary keeps purity

Dino Dalle Carbonare

LS swap is the cheater swap


his cars always look the best, but those wheel covers on a car that has shit aero from the beginning are pretty funny. It's a great looking little westfield, just funny to think about from a aero perspective. Car looks great though!


The FD3 will forever be one of the prettiest Japanese cars ever mass produced.