Rotary Miata: What Have We Gotten Ourselves Into!?

Update by Ed Higginbotham to the Mazda Rotary Miata project car
Jun 27, 2016

The donor car for the drivetrain needed to be completely disassembled and transferred to the Miata.
Our invaluable helpers from left to right: Tuck, Steve, Keith, Rod and Allen.

One of our readers, Mike, had started a project we’ve all fantasized about at some point: a turbocharged, rotary-powered Miata. Unfortunately, Mike passed away after a battle with cancer before finishing this wild project.

After deciding to help finish the car, we travelled to South Carolina to analyze our starting point and start picking up the pieces. But we weren’t alone. A few of our readers and Mike’s family members took a few days out of their lives to lend a hand with the build. This kind of contribution is a great example of why the grassroots racing world is so awesome.

Once we arrived, we could see we had our work cut out for us. A new Miata front subframe had been cut to hold a 13B rotary engine, but the drivetrain itself had not been removed from its donor: a crashed, turbocharged, rotary-powered Jensen-Healey.

Our starting point was essentially an empty Miata shell with a modified front subframe and a wrecked Jensen-Healey with the drivetrain fully intact.

To add to the level of difficulty, we were working in someone’s shop that had been left mid-build.

After some organizing, we put together a massive to-do list and set to work.

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