Quote Of The Day: From Our Cold, Dead Hands Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

TTAC’s Michael Karesh inspired a good deal of jealousy in his Editor-in-Chief a few nights ago by describing his forthcoming RX-8 roadtrip into the hill country along the Blue Ridge Parkway. A zinging rotary engine in a legendarily well-sorted chassis simply screams (literally) for these kinds of driving adventures, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t briefly donsider ditching my editorial responsibilities and inviting myself along. After all, the RX-8 has been marked for death in Europe and the USA, thanks to the glorious amounts of C02 emitted by its rev-happy rotary mill. This, I thought, is a truly unique car with an engine that might well never be seen again in civilized auto markets. Best to enjoy one while you can, right?

Maybe not. Mazda says that even though its latest 1.6 liter rotary engine is years away from hitting its emissions goals, the brand will never stop trying to bring it to market. Because when it comes to rotary engines, drivetrain boss Mitsuo Hitomi tells Automotive News [sub],

We will never give up

It may not be the most pragmatic approach for a tiny automaker facing independence in a scary-competitive global market, but dammit, you have to respect Mazda’s dedication.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Redshift Redshift on Oct 23, 2010

    Excellent car for excellent roads. I was at the Deals Gap Rotary Rally last year and drove my RX8 down from Nova Scotia to get there. Some incredible roads that really let this car shine. Hope to make it down again next year and might have to do a side trip over to the BRP. Worth the trip just to see the wonderful collection of all vintages of rotary powered cars, trucks and motorcycles. All respect to Mazda for continuing to develop this wonderful and unique power plant, and as long as they keep it up, I'll have Mazda's in the garage.

  • Blowfish Blowfish on Oct 23, 2010

    Mazda had done more than anybody else, at the time NSU RO 80 gave up we think we'll see no more of rotaries, but lo & behold it came back, then oil embargo happens, 78 the RX 7 came back too. one gal i knew she drove hers for 280 km then the compression slowly fades away she dropped a new rot engine in it again. I am impressed with the vibration free engine. or modified the rotary as a stationary engine to do generating on a hybrid EV

    • Beken Beken on Oct 25, 2010
      or modified the rotary as a stationary engine to do generating on a hybrid EV Or use compact rotary engine for electricity generation in range extended electric vehicles. Should be more efficient and reliable than a small piston engine.
  • Kevin L. Copple Kevin L. Copple on Oct 24, 2010

    I drove my 1979 RX-7 100,000 miles before I sold it in 1982. When I sold it, the engine seemed as strong as new. It was at red-line a lot through curving mountain roads in East Tennessee. I used full synthetics in the engine and transmission--that could have made a difference on longentivity. The only major problem I recall was a water pump replacement. I loved that car. I want another RX-7.

    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Oct 24, 2010

      What I love about the Wankel is the harder you drive it the longer it seems to live. Got to love any car with a "drive it like you stole it" sport-bike mentality.

  • Redshift Redshift on Oct 24, 2010

    They do. You have to live by "A redline a day keeps the carbon away." The carbon builds up and can damage the seals and/or cause a loss of compression. A well maintained by hard-driven rotary will last a very long time. General ignorance of the population at large, and some issues with the turbo models has given the NA rotaries and undeserved reputation for unreliability. There are huge numbers of them out there with big mileage on them. And, when they go, it's usually a slow decline, not a sudden catastrophic failure. I have a 1990 RX7 sitting beside my garage as a parts car for my race car. Started parting it out (to get it out of the yard) and pulled the motor out. It's been in my yard for almost 2 years. We towed it out of a guys field where he claimed it "ran when parked" a year or two before. For fun, we stripped the engine down to the keg, bolted on a Weber carb with best-guess jetting and Racing Beat conversion manifold, stabbed a 12A distributor in it and dropped it in the car. Stabbed the starter button and on the second rotation of the engine it fired up and purred like a kitten. Showing 295,000km on the odometer of the parts car. Probably will run it for some track days while I rebuild my race motor. (Needs rebuild due to a non-rotary specific issue.)