For 60 years, the rotary engine captivated the imagination of enthusiasts world wide. It’s use in motorsport included Group B, IMSA, N1, and even a win at Le Mans(which prompted its ban from the event). Of all the manufacturers that experimented with these amazing engines, only Mazda dared use them in actual production cars.
Viewed by many as unreliable, un-economical, and under powered, the wankel and renesis engines caught a lot of hate over the years, mostly due to owners who just didn’t understand the capability of their machines. Rising fuel costs and awareness for lower emissions were the coffin nails. In 2011, only about 1100 RX8’s were sold.
In Japan, Mazda used rotaries in many applications. Some are well known, others not. What’s important though, is that we as enthusiasts remember these vehicles and preserve them for future generations to enjoy.
Unfortunately though, this is a harsh reminder that fun Japanese cars are becoming extinct, and fast. No more exciting Hondas, Mitsu gave up the ghost, Toyota decided its only interesting car should cost more than a house, Subaru is injecting salt water in its cars veins, and its only a matter of time before Nissan says Z cars don’t make any sense.
So pour some out for the rotary, because we won’t be seeing it ever again. Your time came way too soon.
After yesterday’s amazing success of blog reader Janne’s Electric Race About, I thought we should balance it out with a bit of mysterious failure.
It seems that this Mazda RX-8 owner really wanted to build a rotary powered Reventon. But rather than just having some crazy idea, he/she actually went out and built this wacky mash-up of a car!Â Its safe to say that we’ve never seen a Japanese car styled quite like this before. And perhaps for good reason…
While it is easy to mark this car as hater fodder and go on the attack, something should be said for the originality and execution. For how crazy of an idea this was, it sure could have been a lot worse. Particular parts of the car are somewhat decent (if I’m being generous). While the front fenders dont work for me at all, the rear fenders and rear bumper is actually fairly cool.
Overall, although I don’t personally like how it turned out I think the owner deserves some respect for trying something as crazy and different as this.
Thanks to Russ of Re-Extreme for the lead on this:
RE Amemiya has asked our assistance to sell two extremely unique cars for them. Here’s the first of the two cars!
RE Amemiya Westfield (Amemiya-san x Colin Chapman concept collaboration)
This car was another one of my favorites at the show. Every year Amemiya-san comes up with a special Tokyo Auto Salon custom car. After more than a decade, he never ceases to impress. Just when I thought he couldn’t come up with anything crazier than last year’s award winning Genki RX7, he brought this fully custom Westfield based racer.
Now Westfields are plenty fast to begin with, but this one is just plain nuts. The original Westfield is based on a design by Colin Chapman of Lotus fame. Lightness was key back then and the Westfield has continued to keep the design extremely light weight. However what they never did before was put a 300 horsepower naturally aspirated rotary engine into one. Amemiya himself designed the complete finished product which can be differentiated from a normal Westfield by its wild aerodynamics produced out of carbon fiber and FRP…to great success I might add. The car also utilizes a custom suspension produced in collaboration between Quantum (F1 parts supplier) and RE Amemiya.
Pretty much everything on this car is custom actually, but using the Westfield base car is a great move that already starts out with one of the lightest and most nimble chassis’ ever produced. This car is estimated to weigh under 1200lbs.
Amazingly this car is street legal in Japan and will also perhaps be street legal in many other countries since the Westfield base car is a street legal track car.
We’ve been asked to see if we can sell this car for Amemiya-san so if anyone is interested please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to discuss pricing with you. The car is for sale in Japan and any outside shipping would be the responsibility of the buyer. Additionally, I can also arrange for a fully custom car to be built for your own specs if interested.
With all of this talk lately of Louis Vuitton interiors, 24K gold parts, etc this post serves as a reminder that this is not a fashion blog.
To file under “WTF”, here is a 4 door GC Impreza with perhaps the most unlikely engine swap, a rotary from a FD3S RX-7. AWD is kept with this new engine, making it an extremely odd car.
This car didnt make any sense to me 4 years ago when I shot it and it still makes no sense now. Perhaps that was the point the owner had in mind.