Are All RX-7s Rotary?

When it comes to car “general knowledge” it can be difficult to tell the difference between fact and fiction. There are so many rumours, legends, and urban myths that circulate when it comes to cars!

Most of us have probably fallen victim to car ‘disinformation’ (or whatever the trendy term for fake news is these days) from time to time.

Car disinfo tends to be most prevalent when it comes to discussing popular cars, and exotic cars that attract a big following.

A great example of this is Mazda’s legendary rotary-powered RX-7, one of the greatest cars ever to come from Japan. Read our full RX-7 history guide here for a detailed explanation of the origins of this infamous car.

You might have overheard some ‘pub chat’ where someone claims that the RX-7 was available with an engine other than the legendary 13b rotary (if we are talking about the FD generation RX7).

Maybe you’ve even seen an RX-7 out on the street or at a meet that doesn’t have a rotary engine.

Perhaps someone in a Facebook group has sworn blind that they met a guy who knew a guy who had a V8 powered RX-7, right from the factory.

So, what is the truth?

In this edition of Car Facts we are going to answer the following question:

Do All Mazda RX-7s Have Rotary Engines?

From the factory, ALL Mazda RX-7s have rotary engines. There are no exceptions to this rule, as far as we are aware of.

This is across all generations of the RX7. From the very first model to roll off the production line in 1978, through to the last of the RX-7 FDs produced in the early 2000s.

There have been a number of different engines to feature in the RX-7 over the years, such as the 12A on the earliest cars, through to the twin-turbo 13B that is perhaps the most famous and celebrated rotary of all time – the common theme is that ALL have been rotary.

There is not a single RX-7 that rolled off Mazda’s production line that didn’t originally feature a rotary engine, no matter how hard anyone tries to convince you to the contrary.

“But My Friend’s Friend Has a V8 RX-7 And He SWEARS It’s Stock”

Just because all RX-7s left the factory with a rotary engine doesn’t mean that all RX-7s on the road have rotary engines.

There are cars out there that DO have other types of engines.

For example, here is a video of an RX-7 with an LS-Swapped, V8 in it:


However, any RX-7 that has a non-rotary engine will be a modified car – not built like that from the factory.

If you are considering buying an engine-swapped RX-7, then you really need to do your homework and inspect thoroughly, as there are probably a number of ‘bodge-jobs’ out there.

Recap – Are All Mazda RX-7s Rotary?

Yes, all Mazda RX-7s are rotary from the factory. They don’t all have the exact same engine (as different generations of the RX7 sported different engine options) but they are all rotaries nonetheless.

The “RX” in the RX-7 name stands for ‘Rotary Experiment’ after all – or ‘Rotary Export’ according to some sources.

There exist a number of non-rotary RX-7s with various different types of engines, but these are all aftermarket swaps, project cars etc. None of them were a factory option.

If you’d like to learn more about the Mazda RX-7 and how to buy a good example, then check out our RX-7 buyer’s guide and history here (NB, this focuses primarily on the FD generation RX-7.)

Have you seen a non-rotary RX-7 out in the wild? Maybe you’ve even owned one at one point – if so, we would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below to start the discussion.


  • Sam

    Sam focuses mainly on researching and writing the growing database of Car Facts articles on Garage Dreams, as well as creating interesting list content. He is particularly enthusiastic about JDM cars, although has also owned numerous European vehicles in the past. Currently drives a 3rd generation Suzuki Swift Sport, and a Volkswagen Touareg (mainly kept for taking his border collie out to the hills to go walking)

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