• May 20, 2007
In the late sixties and early seventies, many car companies were enamored with the power density of Wankel rotary engines, including NSU, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and General Motors. GM ultimately built at least two mid-engine "Corvette" concepts with Wankels, one with two rotors and the other with four. The four-rotor was eventually replaced by a small block to become the Aerovette. When John Z. Delorean left to create his own car, he envisioned it propelled by a rotary engine as well.

As was the case with every other carmaker save Mazda, the Wankel was ultimately abandoned in favor of a piston engine. But one Delorean owner didn't forget the original vision. Through the 1980s and 1990s the only rotary-powered car sold in the US market was the Mazda RX-7 although Mazda did offer the engine in other Japanese-market models. One of those was a coupe called the Eunos Cosmo. The Cosmo eventually got a 2.0L three-rotor version of the engine that put out 300hp. One of these was sacrificed to provide a new heart for the Delorean you see here.

There's more commentary after the jump, and a video, too.

[Source: EliseUSA.com via CarScoop]

The Wankel is bolted to the back of a six-speed gearbox from a 1995 Porsche 911 C2, while the original instrument cluster was swapped out in favor of the electronic cluster from the Cosmo. The end result is a very respectable 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds, which is less than half the time a stock model would take. If all the Deloreans were as quick as this one and looked as good thanks to the paint job, the boss might not have had to resort to a bungled drug deal to try and save the company.


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  • 24 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Really shouldn't have painted over the stainless steel - how about a re-skin with carbon fiber. Now that would be cool!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Regarding painted DeLorean's: I always presume that a painted DeLorean has had body damage in the past, and painting it was cheaper than tracking down clean stainless replacement panels. Dealing with body damage was always one of the weak points of the unpainted stainless steel approach.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Thats a bad ass delorian. I wonder how much it would cost.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Heeheehee...that was awesome! I loved the intro =)
      • 7 Years Ago
      this is really old,

      that has been kicking around for about 3 years now.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I will tell you one thing....though this car was designed over 15 years ago, it looks FAR better than the new Camaro coming out in the future. DeLoren had a great design and it still is...the Camaro will have $500 rebates within the first year of sales.
      GM we knew you when
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Maybe some Wankle expert could answer a question I've had for some time. Why do they get such awful mileage? They seem to be as fuel efficient as an old school 289."

      I'm not a wankel expert - but I have heard that the reason why wankels are naturally more fuel inefficient and polluting than their piston counterparts is because of the basic inability for the delta shape of the rotor to properly seperate between the 4 otto cycles of internal combustion.

      As the rotor spins, it goes through the intake, compression, combustion, exhaust cycles as the rotor spins through the engine. The Apex seals at the corners of the rotor seperate these cycles and the ability for them to do their job is what dictates how efficient and polluting the engine is. They are also known to wear out.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The 20B rotary engine is pretty badass. Blokes in Australia have been modifying them and turbocharging/intercooling them for several years now, and so output of over 500HP is not uncommon, and 1,200HP in full-race trim is realistic as well. http://www.3rotor.com/
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Honestly, what do they need all that power for. It only needs to get up to 88.8mph. That could be easily done with say a 4 cylinder from a toyota corolla with the transmission from a lawn tractor"

      yeah, except it will take a week to get up there and by that time there wont be any need to jump into the future
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wankel's are not as fuel efficient but not because of apex sealing problems, those a mostly a thing of the distant past. The rate of expansion after combustion in a Wankel though is too fast so it cools the charge rather than extracting work from it, this is a consequence of the geometry of the rotor.

      The problem of poor emissions was solved by moving the ports in the RENESIS engine used in the RX-8. Unfortunately it apparently had a side effect that makes the engine unsuitable for turbocharging (I'm not really sure what the issue is) but Mazda has built supercharged RENESIS engines so they can go that route if they wished but that won't solve the fuel efficiency problem.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Seriously though, I have always wondered why nobody ever put the rotary engine into a Caterham 7 body/chassis. Now that would make some monster."

      It's been done.
      • 7 Years Ago
      For the love of all that is holy, why did someone paint the Delorean?!?

      Nice engine mod but minus 100 pts for entirely missing the Delorean spirit by covering stainless steel in black paint.
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