AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Pistons need not apply
The history of the automobile has been dominated by vehicles equipped with piston-firing engines.
Rarely does something completely different come along, and when it does, it usually fails miserably. One attempt to reinvent the passenger vehicle engine may have not had the smoothest of rides, but did last in the automotive industry for over 50 years and is rumored to be making a comeback soon.
We are talking about the Rotary engine. Lacking pistons, spinning furiously and making a noise that can’t be mistaken for anything else; the Rotary has developed a cult-like following over the decades. And why not? Some rotary powered vehicles may have been utter failures, but others were masterpieces of their time. Here is a list of our top ten rotary powered vehicles.
Is this car still legendary, or just past its prime?
The 1990s was a great time for Japanese sports cars. Pretty much every manufacturer was building a world class performance machine including Mazda, with the third generation RX-7. But that was twenty years ago and what may have been great then, might not be any good today. So, we have gotten our hands on a pristine, low mileage 1993 Mazda RX-7 to see if it was all hype, or the real deal.
The 1990s is a decade known for things like flannel shirts, grunge music, Barney the purple dinosaur and Napster. But for those who live and breathe high octane fuel, the ‘90s was also a great time for performance vehicles. With the world economy in fine shape, manufacturers everywhere were producing some impressive machinery. This is the decade that gave birth to the Dodge Viper, McLaren F1 and Lamborghini Diablo.
Which 90's Japanese Sports Car Would You Destroy?
It’s not every day that AutoGuide launches a new weekly feature. Today, however, is not just any day; it’s first installment of an interactive segment we call ‘Commute, Toy or Destroy’.
A successor to the iconic RX-7 sports car could be in the works using a new rotary-powered engine currently in development.
Rotaries may seem like a thing of the past these days, especially with Mazda preparing to retire the RX-8. But the Wankel-powered sports car won’t be the last Mazda to get the odd powerplant, thanks in part to a recent breakthrough.
A recently big step forward for Mazda’s engineers is a newly developed laser ignition system that can remove spark plugs from the equation. This has made sealing the Wankel’s combustion chamber easier, resulting in better efficiency and, more importantly, lower hydrocarbon emissions.
This breakthrough could prove to be the catalyst Mazda needs to rejuvenate the RX-7 model, but it all comes down to finding the proper funding.
That influx of cash could come from a partnership with Audi. The two automakers are reportedly in talks and Audi’s A1 e-tron concept did use a 254cc Wankel range-extender underneath the trunk floor. The light weight, smooth and quiet rotary technology could prove the perfect pairing for a future production hybrid drivetrain for Audi.
[Source: Inside Line]
After covering all the major tuner and manufacturer booths located inside the Makuhari Messe’s Convention Center, we decided to wander the Tokyo Auto Salon’s floor to see if we could spot anything that interested us. It didn’t take long before this Abflug “Pink Spider” FD3S Mazda RX-7 really caught our eye.
Easily considered extreme by some, this RX-7 is an example of quality workmanship. The paint job is magnificent and we really love the wheels. More respect has to be given to the owner for the immaculate engine bay. North America may not have seen much of Mazda’s FD3S chassis over the recent years, but in Japan they are still one of the most respected tuner vehicles around.
GALLERY: Abflug FD3S RX-7
New flagship sports car to replace RX-8 in lineup while taking performance to a higher level
When we last reported on a possible return of the RX-7 flagship sports car to Mazda’s lineup it was after the company’s head of design, Ikua Maeda, spoke about his efforts to get the project started. Maeda even said he had gone so far as to sketch some preliminary drawings to show company execs.
Now we hear that the plans are progressing beyond the car’s design and to the all-important powerplant stage. The new RX-7 would use the Renesis 16X rotary engine, as found in the Taiki concept car (pictured above) that was shown back in 2007.
Displacing 1.6-liters, the turbocharged engine would make more than 300-hp, meaning that this RX-7 would be more in line with the original high-powered RX-7 sports cars than with the more pedestrian RX-8.
A report in the U.K.’s AutoExpress says that the RX-7 would replace the RX-8 in Mazda’s lineup, a move which does seem strange as the high-powered RX-7 would most likely be a more expensive vehicle, meaning the car would be sold in much more limited volume. We find it hard to believe Mazda would give up on segment of the market that it does so well in, although, with car’s like the S2000 gone and the 370Z moving more up-market, perhaps Mazda has made the decision to do the same.
If the new RX-7 does make its way into production it is likely to succeed the RX-8 in 2011.
Mazda’s design boss is working hard to convince company executives to build a successor to the RX-7. He has even gone so far as to create design sketches for the next generation sports car.
In an interview wit the U.K.’s AutoCar, Ikuo Maeda said that the car would be a two-seater and like it’s predecessors, it would be powered by a rotary engine.
Mazda has been without a halo car since the third generation vehicle ceased production in 2002. The RX-8 was brought to market shortly thereafter, but as a significantly more pedestrian sports car.
AutoCar suggests that if Madea is successful we should expect a concept next year. Much like the rest of Mazda’s lineup it will probably have a more progressive design – hopefully along the lines of the Furai concept, pictured above.