World’s First Rotary-Engine Ferrari Gets Cease and Desist, Engineer Apologizes

Earlier this month, an engineer from New Zealand started making headlines for building a car few imagined could even be possible: a Ferrari with a rotary engine.
Reuben Bemrose built the world's first rotary-engine Ferrari 4 photos
Photo: YouTube / 1 News
13B rotary swapped Ferrari 45613B rotary swapped Ferrari 45613B rotary swapped Ferrari 456
Reuben Bemrose, who owns R’s Garage, got a Ferrari 456 GT, removed the V12 and put in a 13B Wankel engine that normally sits under the hood of a Mazda. He debuted the mod at a recent event for rotary engine aficionados, where he won Best Conversion.

With the appearance, he also got more than a fair share of media attention, with the Frankenstein car making headlines around the world. The hubbub was loud enough to get Ferrari’s attention, and from what Bemrose is saying in a new interview with News1, we gather he’d been served a cease and desist. That’s the Ferrari way, after all.

In the same interview, Bemrose explains how he came upon the Ferrari, which would cost upwards of $100,000 with the original engine and in full working order. He paid close to nothing for it, though, as he found it abandoned in a field, with considerable frontal damage and serious damage to the engine. This is how he got the idea to swap the non-working V12 for something a bit more… unusual. He settled for the Wankel.

The transformation cost him $13,000 and two weeks of his time, but since he owns a garage and does this for fun, the latter doesn’t really matter. Asked why he’d slap a rotary engine onto a Ferrari, he smiles and says, “we thought it would be fun.”

As for Ferrari coming after him in court, Bemrose seems convinced he is legally safe, since he’s offering what is probably the fakest of fake apologies to the Prancing Horse, for messing with the car. While decked in official Ferrari merchandise. He does concede that he understands why Ferrari is so protective of the Ferrari brand, so there’s that.

“Obviously they are quite protective of their image, and their brand which I completely understand,” he explains. “I’ve just taken their iconic V-12 out of it and put an iconic New Zealand motor in it. Dear Ferrari, I'm so very sorry, I didn't mean to belittle your brand. Can't you see I just want to be friends?”

Ferrari is probably not laughing.

EDIT: Apparently there was no cease and desist letter, albeit Ferrari did contact Bemrose about the build with some not exactly kind words.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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