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.