Don't be fooled by the plain-Jane exterior, Marcos Dillmann's 13B rotary Mazda 808 wagon is an 11-second street weapon!

Photographers: Peter Williams

MARCOS Dillmann developed a soft spot for rotaries as a teen. “I’ve always had a thing for them,” he says of the venerable chook-cookers. “As a teenager I worked at Mazsport, which built some pretty crazy race engines, and I just wanted one.” Now he’s built his first street machine – a grandpa-spec, rotary-powered Mazda 808 wagon that runs 11s!

Mazda 808 Wagon 13B 5 NwWhy an 808?

Everybody wanted the sporty RX-model coupes, while the 808 sedans and wagons were unloved paddock bashers; those were the models that appealed to me because of the stealth factor.

Mazda 808 Wagon 13B 1How did the build start?

I run Motorsport Connections, which supplies high-performance lines and hoses for engines, and I needed a car that I could throw our catalogue at and take to the strip to promote the business. It had to be a rotary and it needed to be in good condition so that I only had to worry about making it fast rather than repairing the body. I ended up finding the 808 wagon for sale with a blown four-cylinder motor, but everything else was mint and it only had 80,000km on the clock.

Mazda 808 Wagon 13B 3What engine and driveline did you go with?

We pulled out the four-pot and stuck in a Series 4 13B turbo rotary, hooked up to a Series 4 ’box and an Eaton Truetrac rear with a HiLux diff. It has a high-flow turbo so it drives really well on the street but still makes decent power, and it’s all controlled by a MicroTech computer. I had it out on the track for the first time the other day and it ran an 11.5-second pass. First and foremost though it’s a street car and everything is completely legal. It doesn’t even look modified – I haven’t added any gauges or changed the ride height. It’s full grandpa-spec.

Mazda 808 Wagon 13B 2Did you do much of the work yourself?

I did a lot of the work but I also had help from the guys at Promaz, who did a lot of the engine work, fabrication and anything else I wasn’t capable of. I did all the fuel, oil and water lines myself, plus some paint and general tinkering. Most parts were a simple bolt-on job, so there was no need to hack the body to bits; honestly, we only cut it in three places and you would never know where.

Mazda 808 Wagon 13B 8What are your future plans for the car?

There really isn’t a lot that I want to change on the car. It’s plenty fast enough as a street car and I don’t want to put a ’cage in it and wreck the sleeper aspect. With a bit more refining it will probably run low 11s, but it’s not a high priority.

Mazda 808 Wagon 13B 7 NwIs it true you were on My Kitchen Rules?

Yes, it’s true! I was actually midway through the build when we started filming, so the car got put on hold for a few months. In the end I was pretty keen to finish up with the show so I could get back to it! And yes, everything on the show is real; there aren’t any scripts but there is a lot of footage that people don’t get to see.