Someone Gave Rob Dahm a 12-Rotor Engine, and We’re Scared for Him

It may finally be the answer to how many rotors is too many.

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A milled aluminum 12-rotor engine is being disassembled on a wooden stand.
Three banks of four rotors each. Eat your heart out, Mazda.
Screenshot: Rob Dahm via YouTube

The rotary engine — aka the Wankel, aka the engine that killed everything it’s ever touched — is something that most auto enthusiasts either love or fear. My first car was a 1983 RX-7, resplendent in a hue of baby shit brown and with a carbureted 12A engine producing all of 100 horsepower, so I’m squarely in the first category.

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Of course, that prehistoric two-rotor engine is far from the pinnacle of rotary technology. No, for that, we must look to YouTube guy Rob Dahm. Sure, we’ve seen his three-rotor car and his bananas four-rotor all-wheel drive RX-7 and even a C5 Chevy Corvette that he rotary swapped, but now things are getting truly out of hand because someone gave him a handmade 12-rotor engine.


Yes, 12 rotors. That’s the most rotors of anything ever (read ‘em and weep Kiwis), and they’re laid out in a super cool Y design with one bank rotating counter to the bottom and other side. The guy who originally built the engine did so for his drag boat after he got tired of blowing up big block Chevys and never got it running on more than carburetors and a pair of V12 Jaguar ignition systems. It’s now Rob’s job to take the engine and bring it into the modern era with fuel injection and possibly even forced induction.


This video shows the teardown of the engine, which was partly assembled for transport without its rotors, and the engineering on display is incredible and is worth the watch by itself. I only hope that the next video in the series comes sooner rather than later because I want to hear this thing run.