Some rumors in the auto industry simply refuse to die. Over the last decade, a few of the strongest have focused on Japan. A few years ago, we could have explained away the constant whispering over a new Toyota Supra, Acura NSX or Mazda RX-7 as nostalgia for Japan's golden era of performance. Today, though is different.
Oh, the heady days of 1993, back when the Clinton Presidency was just getting underway, and it seemed like every hot new rock band was coming out of Seattle. Sports cars in the US had finally shaken off the shackles that slowed them during the '70s and '80s, and you could buy any number of legitimately quick vehicles again. MotorWeek recently went digging into its archives to find this six-model test from 1993 showing off some of the best semi-affordable performance coupes that money could buy a
We have some very sad news to report, rotor-heads fans: Don't expect a new rotary-powered vehicle anytime soon. This comes straight from Masamichi Kogai, the CEO of Mazda, which is the only company to ever market a commercially successful rotary-powered automobile in the world. The issue, as it has pretty much always been, is environmental.
What do you get when you mix YouTube and Ketzal Sterling of the High Octane DVD series? Another web-video series about high-performance cars with a motorsport twist and juvenile humor. Redline is the newest show by Sterling, and the man devised an epic shootout of seven seriously quick race machines for the first episode.
For the first time ever, the Crown Range, New Zealand's highest paved road, was closed off for the drifting pleasure of one man. That man is Mad Mike Whiddett, and the machine he's piloting is a heavily modified Mazda RX-7 sponsored by the energy-rich crew from Red Bull and powered by a 750-horsepower quad-rotor engine. There will be smoke. Lots and lots of smoke.
There is a special place in our hearts reserved for the Mazda RX-7. Its screaming rotary engine made the '80s and '90s a time of high-revving fun. While Mazda continued the rotary with the four-door RX-8, the two are not the same car, and eventually the latter was phased out.
Ah, the Wankel. You magnificent, high-reving feat of unorthodox engineering. Your biggest champion, Mazda, may have left you – at least for the moment – but that doesn't mean some mad mechanics can't rally you and a few friends for a high-horsepower party.
Mark it down, auto enthusiasts. Mazda built its last rotary engine on Friday, June 22.
By final, we mean the line that assembled Renesis engines for Mazda's RX-8 sports car was idled, and there are currently no plans to restart its production. Mazda has a long-running history of building Wankel powerplants, and its production of the high-revving engine has seen a few stutters since Mazda put the first dual-rotor Wankel in a production car in 1967.
Of course, it's always possible that Mazda
Mazda has big plans for the future of its rotary engine. According to GoAuto, the company is currently hard at work on improving the powerplant's fuel economy by a full 50 percent. If it can pull it off, the new mill will proudly wear the same "Sky" designation as its traditional four-cylinder counterparts. The site quotes Seita Kanai, Mazda's director of R&D and program management, as saying that upping the rotary's fuel economy is essential for the engine's survival.
Rumors about a true successor to the FD RX-7 have been kicking around automotive circles since... oh, just about exactly when the car left the world for good way back in 2002. While it could be argued that the Mazda RX-8 is a spiritual progeny of the Zoom-Zoom kingdom's white night, the four-door sports car doesn't quite stack up to its curvaceous predecessor. It would seem that Autocar is doing its best to keep the flame alive for the return of the RX-7, this time with – gasp – a ne