Over fifty years ago Mazda decided that it needed to create a new technology to differentiate itself from its growing Japanese competition, which gave birth to its rotary engine. In 1961 Mazda licensed the rotary technology from two German companies, NSU Motorenwerke AG and Wankel GmbH in hopes of making wider use of the engine.

A new rotary-powered Mazda continues to be rumored

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It wasn’t until 1967 with the introduction of the Mazda Cosmo Sport 110S that the technology made it into a production car. The Cosmo Sport 110S became the world’s first production twin-rotor, rotary-engined car and it was also Mazda’s first sports car. Only 1,176 Cosmo Sports were built, but it changed how the world saw the automaker, which prior to its release Mazda had been known only for its small passenger cars and work trucks.

Since the Cosmo Sport’s introduction, Mazda has built 1.99 million rotary-powered vehicles, from sports cars to sedans and even a 26-passenger bus.

Related: Mazda hints a new rotary-powered model, again

Today Mazda has focused most of its attention on its new Skyactiv technology, but that doesn’t mean that the rotary engine is done. There have been countless rumors about a new rotary-powered sports car that would sit above the MX-5 in the lineup.

Mazda RX Vision Concept, Mazda, wankel engine, rotary engine, mazda rotary engine, mazda wankel engine
Mazda RX Vision Concept

The latest rumor claims that a production version of the RX-Vision concept is going to debut with a new rotary engine in 2020. When the RX-Vision concept debuted at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda even admitted that it was still researching the rotary engine technology. Mazda also might have provided the strongest hint about the rotary engine’s return this month in its official magazine, where it hinted that the engine could be modified to run on hydrogen.

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