Junkyard Find: 2004 Mazda RX-8
Just about every kind of vehicle shows up at the low-priced, high-inventory-turnover self-service wrecking yards, sooner or later. It took until the late 2000s before I started seeing Mazda Miatas in such yards, and now it appears that the advance scouts for a steady flow of RX-8 s are here. I saw this silver ’04 at the same Denver-area yard that gave us the biohazardous 2009 Kia Rondo.
As you might expect, the RENESIS 13B engine and many more nice bits got snapped up within minutes of this car entering the yard’s inventory.
I reviewed the last of the RX-8s and I thought it was one of the greatest new cars I’d ever driven at the time. I was considering buying one … until I refueled it and discovered that the thing got 15 mpg highway. The original buyer of this car decided that he or she wanted terrible fuel economy and the no-torque acceleration that an automatic/Wankel combo delivers so well. How? Why?
Still, what this means is that RX-8s appearing in the 24 Hours of LeMons might dodge the billions of penalty laps they once earned. It turned out that these cars are not particularly fast in a real-world, wheel-to-wheel road race, but they should be fun for future low-budget racers.
The Japanese-market ads for this car were full of shrieking Wankels, burnouts, and utterances of the words “Zoom-zoom-zoom.”
Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.
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