Watch A 13B Rotary-Swapped Subaru BRZ Fire Up for the First Time

How do you get more power out of an FA20-powered first-gen Toyobaru? Swapping in an RX-7 engine is certainly one way to do it.

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The first-generation Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S/Toyota 86 was one of the most beloved sport coupes in recent history. It was cheap, good-looking, and most importantly offered a stick-shift and rear-wheel-drive. In fact, it seemed like the only issue with the car was its much-maligned engine — something Subaru and Toyota seem to have addressed in the current (second) generation.

But owners of the first-gen cars are stuck. Making more power on the stock FA20 is a fraught enterprise, one that often leaves owners chasing vacuum leaks or oil issues until they give up and sell the car. But ZN6 owners in search of more (and more reliable) power have one decidedly unconventional option available to them: Swap in a 13B rotary engine out of an RX-7.


Okay, fine. A rotary swap won’t be any more reliable than a modified FA20, even before you consider all the gremlins that pop up in an engine swap. In fact, a stock 13B’s 252 hp isn’t even that much more than a bone-stock BRZ. No, replacing the flat-four with two spinning Doritos isn’t the most reliable way to make more power — but it may be the most interesting solution.


This BRZ, owned by Jordan from YouTube channel Monster Motoring, will end up as one of the most unconventional ZN6 builds on the internet. Few people have attempted to swap a rotary engine into this chassis — YouTuber Kruddy KaRL claims to be the first — making this a worthy entry into the swapped-BRZ pantheon.


But while the videos on Monster Motoring stand as the official record of the car’s construction, I discovered the build through Veronica Wheels on TikTok. Her videos show the real, unedited world of wrenching — a bunch of folks in a cold garage, hanging out and wiring up clout switches. The vibes are, as the kids would say, immaculate.


The car is still a work in progress, but Jordan plans to have it ready for next summer’s track season — tuned, vinyl-wrapped, and wearing shiny new wheels. I, for one, will be keenly watching.