Very few automotive advancements can be considered as much of a marvel of engineering prowess as the Wankel rotary. While not as popular with manufacturers because of its reliability issues as a result of a high rate of internal wear, the rotary engine has been adopted by one particular manufacturer for the thrilling driving experience and engine note that it alone can provide to enthusiasts of specialist cars – Mazda. For decades, the rotary has lived in the hearts of automotive enthusiasts through Mazda's fantastic RX line, and the RX8, although opinion dividing, should definitely be one of them.
Mohaimin Rashid Neeloy is a rotary geek. If he could find them, he'd wear the distinctive triangular rotors as sunglasses. He has a rotary key ring. There's even a RENESIS rotary motor sitting inside his house. The one place that he doesn't have a rotary? The engine bay of this gorgeous cherry black RX8 you're seeing today.
This is the point where angels on fiery wings descend from heaven, shouting “blasphemy”, as they make a beeline for Neeloy's throat and slit it at the altar of automotive purists. There's no denying it – there will be many out there wishing for this to actually happen, because it is apparently automotive sin to swap out a rotary in a Mazda with "pistons fit for peasants". But is it really that big of a deal, though, considering how the 1JZGTE Toyota motor is a gem of an engine with more than enough power to make daily use fun? Rotaries are great, Neeloy himself says so, but when it comes to reliable, fun and trouble free performance, it's okay to not listen to purists and do what needs to be done.
The single turbo last-gen 1JZ transforms the RX8 into a donut vending machine. With added weight over the front wheels and a lively right foot, Neeloy can keep the RX8 sliding for days.
“I got this car over a year and a half back. The original rotary seized after seven days. Got another one. Everyone was hyped about AWD and turbo, but I wanted to see how things go with RWD and turbo since RWD was always my thing. This is my first project car and I did this because I wanted to see how things go,” says Neeloy. He's had a rotary RX8 before, having owned one for four years before getting his hands on the current car – so the purists can kindly shut up and give him some room to experiment.
The car is currently bone stock (minus the engine, obviously) -Neeloy wants to get a manual transmission next, along with a single exhaust, aftermarket ECU and handling upgrades.
For now, leaving a trail of tyre marks from every standing start is how Neeloy gets his automotive fix. He uses the RX8 daily, the Mazda a constant companion on whatever slidey adventure awaits him next.