Mazda Rotary Engine Celebrates 50th Anniversary


The engine inside the Mazda Cosmo Sport initiated 50 years of rich Mazda rotary engine history.

Mazda Rotary Engine History

The earliest accounts in the annals of Mazda rotary engine history come from the 1963 Tokyo Motor Show. The crowd that was gathered to see the latest in Japanese motor car development was ultimately stunned by the Mazda products showcased that year. Not only had Mazda revealed a prototype rotary engine, but the Cosmo Sport coupe they placed it in was equally impressive.

To be historically accurate, the company responsible for the Wankel-style rotary engine revealed that day had yet to assume the name “Mazda.” Officially known as Toyo Kogyo, Mazda was simply the same used for the motor car division of the larger tool manufacturer.


The 2002 model year was the last for the popular Mazda RX-7.

Though Mazda rotary engine history began humbly (the original prototype producing only 70 horsepower), advanced technology and tuning eventually led to some of the most well-loved engines in the world today. The Mazda RX-7 debuted in 1978 producing 115 horsepower before evolving into a 276-horsepower race engine in its final production year of 2002. Of course, Mazda enthusiasts yearn for the return of a rotary powered vehicle like RX-7.

The line of Mazda automobiles has been without rotary power since 2012. The last Wankel-style engine was produced in Mazda’s Hiroshima production facility July 22 of last year. For readers tracking the math, that’s over one year now without Mazda rotary production, but a 50-year anniversary for the Mazda rotary overall.

In unison with mechanical enthusiasts all across the world, Mazda of Lodi gladly recognizes 50 years of Mazda rotary engine history. As reports contend that Mazda may be reintroducing a new rotary engine within the next two years, additional celebration is in order on account of the thought that Mazda rotary performance may not be only a past memory. While the engineers at Mazda may or may not be developing a new rotary-style engine, fans of classic Mazda performance can check out the next best thing with the Mazda MX-5 Miata.