Mark it down, auto enthusiasts. Mazda built its last rotary engine on Friday, June 22.

By final, we mean the line that assembled Renesis engines for Mazda's RX-8 sports car was idled, and there are currently no plans to restart its production. Mazda has a long-running history of building Wankel powerplants, and its production of the high-revving engine has seen a few stutters since Mazda put the first dual-rotor Wankel in a production car in 1967.

Of course, it's always possible that Mazda finds a way to solve – or at least drastically improve – the failings of the Renesis: high fuel consumption and poor emissions. We've been hearing about the so-called 16X rotary for years, and we'd love to see it enter production at some point in the not-terribly-distant future.

For now, though, join us in remembering some of Mazda's past rotary-powered machinery in the image galleries above and below. Even if the world never sees another production rotary, at least it's been a good ride.



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  • 69 Comments
      Heung
      • 3 Years Ago
      That 3rd gen (93) RX7 still melts my heart...
        Ron
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Heung
        that is just the POS rotary overheating...
      creamwobbly
      • 3 Years Ago
      If you measure the capacity of rotary engines properly, then the fuel efficiency is actually on a par with pushrod motors. But they were trying to pull a fast one on the EPA, and on the European emissions standards. See, the capacity is measured by Mazda with the rotor in place. Comparing these apples to apples, you would have to measure pushrod engines with the pistons in place: in other words, half the capacity. To measure a rotary the same way a pushrod engine is measured -- i.e., the sum total open capacity -- then you would measure the "donut" of space between the minimum and maximum diameters. So, the RX-8's 1.3 L rotary is actually comparable to a 2.6 L pushrod. And no surprises that it's a similar power output.
      CarCrazy24
      • 3 Years Ago
      The rotary really is one of the most unique automotive creations, and it deserves a refresh. I have friends who know aren't as car-savvy but they love the concept of this very engine and how it works. Mazda can use this to their advantage and they should build a true successor to the RX-7. Hopefully this won't be the last time we ever see this engine in production.
      Avinash Machado
      • 3 Years Ago
      RIP to an unique engine.
      Andrew
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sad sad day. Hopefully the new Skyactiv engines in the new CX-5 and Mazda6 will help generate sales and get Mazda back in the right direction. Few compnaies these days know how to make cars as enjoyable to drive as Mazdas. RIP rotary, your high pitched wails will be missed.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      ijardine
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hmmm makes my 1993twin turbo RX7 even more unique and valuable:)
        TexRob
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ijardine
        Last gen RX-7 is a truly classic design. People today see one and think it's some new car, because it still looks modern and amazing today.
      Andre Neves
      • 3 Years Ago
      Anyone here REALLY sad to see it go? Good riddance.
        dukeisduke
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        I am, but mainly out of sentimentality. I've have experiences with rotaries over the years, like the friend in high school who would sometimes drive his mom's 5-speed RX-4 4-door to school. It was a rush, hearing it wind through the gears, hitting 7000rpm, practically unheard of in any other car in the '70s. Then I almost bought one of the first RX-7s in '78, that is until I learned what it cost an 18-year-old for insurance (I would up buying a new Audi Fox).
          foobar222
          • 3 Years Ago
          @dukeisduke
          Just curious, do you recall what the amount was for insurance on that? I remember insuring my '73 Newport in 1983 ( I was 16) for about $310 for the year.
      KelperFoxWolf
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's sad to read so much hipocresy and hatred towards import vehicles over here. Please stick to your muscle car BS instead of bashing on creationg like the Wankel engine. I'm in no way a Mazda Rotary fanboy, but at least it is a respectable engine, with its problems because so far no brand managed to circumvent certain problems with said architecture, but it has to do with implementation of the engine and refinement as well, not the engine mechanism or how it is on paper. I also mentioned hipocresy, because some idiots bash engines like these due to their fuel economy and later on, the very same people say "f*ck it, the World's gonna end anyway, I want to drive that car" when they see a local muscle car. BTW, I hope Mazda returns with a newer RX product, this time not an attempt of a grand-tourer, please, the next RX should be what it used to be: a pocket rocket capable of ousting the entry-level Porsches of the time and the mediocre Z-coupes from Nissan. And they shouldn't sell it on the US, because from the comments I'm reading right here, such market doesn't deserve a sh*t.
      se30chris
      • 3 Years Ago
      The amount of dbags on Autoblog never ceases to amaze me. The Wankel engine is unique and has it pros and cons just like any other ICE engine. Appreciate it for what is. If you don't have anything nice to say. Keep it to yourself.
        A P
        • 3 Years Ago
        @se30chris
        Did somebodies feelings get hurt? What do you care what other people say about rotary engines? It was an interesting engine that was a dead end from the moment it was designed. Horrible fuel economy, reliability and oil consumption and lack of torque doomed it from the first. Anybody remember that gem of engineering, the Mazda Rotary Truck? LOLOLOL Please defend that one.
          youreadoosh1
          • 3 Years Ago
          @A P
          The design was so doomed that it sold over 1 million rotary vehicles in a span of 50 years amirite? And the rotary requires oil consumption to work properly . The engine is as reliable as any engine if cared for properly. Do not speak on such topics you don't know about. K thanks
          J
          • 2 Years Ago
          @A P
          A 40 year dead end? Actually, the rotary was more reliable than a piston engine as long as you kept oil and coolant up. Low mileage, yes (but better than anything American), poor reliability, no. Lack of torque? Ask an S2000 owner if he misses torque. Honda engines (I own one) don't have much torque, but have high end HP, which is what I loved about the rotary. AP, you don't know much about cars do you?
      diffrunt
      • 3 Years Ago
      Tested the RX8 when it was new---------, cute, but torkless.Don't understand how it survived this long.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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