If you’re in to Wankel-powered Mazdas (and other things), you might have heard the name Rob Dahm before. Yeah, he’s the guy who built that four-rotor all-wheel-drive FD RX-7 a few years back. Now he’s got a new project. He’s putting four rotors in the middle of a wrecked C8 Corvette.
Dahm’s just posted a video of their trip down to Florida to pick up the wrecked car to get started on the project. Rob refers to this car as the first wrecked C8 Corvette, but we know it’s not technically the first. Last August we covered what we think was the first C8 wreck out in California. That was a blue car, while this one is in Florida and is orange. Maybe this was the first wrecked by a customer. That makes more sense to me.
Once Dahm got down to Florida, he started pointing out how the damage to the car will challenge him as he gets his build together. Dahm points out that the aluminum frame components in the front end of the car are rather twisted and will need some work to sort out before the car is finished. The interior of the car is also largely disassembled, which Rob chalks up to the thorough insurance assessment the car underwent after the wreck.
It’s fascinating to hear how Dahm imagines working out the sourcing of components like fenders and radiators that aren’t necessarily available yet from GM. When you’re working on a car this new, and especially during a situation like this pandemic, these are going to be massive challenges to overcome and that’s before even considering the drivetrain swap.
And oh yeah, that drivetrain swap. I really hope he can pull it off. While finally seeing the car has clearly shown Dahm that this is going to be far from simple, sticking that high-revving rotary in there is obviously going to result in a monstrous car. Though the motor that this car will get will be Mazda-based, the inspiration comes from an all-GM rotary ‘vette project from 1969, one of many mid-engined Corvette designs that would ultimately result in the C8 that this project is based on. That car, called the Aerovette, featured a gigantic 6.4-liter four-rotor motor. Ths car’s power won’t come from anything that large, but the attempt at keeping this swap within the historical pedigree is still mighty impressive.
But historical context aside, the way Dahm envisions putting this car together is impressive from a technical standpoint. The C8 is a plastic-intensive, complicated machine. That doesn’t deter Dahm, though. Aside from the crash repair and the drivetrain swap, he’s looking to keep as much of the more complicated features operational when the car is done. That includes the fancy magnetic dampers that this Z51 package-equipped car has fitted.
Though that all sounds like an insane amount of work, especially considering the fact that thee C8 is still so new, I’m don’t have much doubt that the final product will be damn impressive. The RX-7 build from a few years back was quite the machine, and so I’ll be keeping an eye on this project as it continues.