Mazda RX-8: The Last Hurrah

A special-edition Mazda RX-8 will go on sale in Japan on November 24, 2011, and the SPIRIT R will be the last special-edition model RX-8.

A special-edition Mazda RX-8 will go on sale in Japan on November 24, 2011, and the SPIRIT R will be the last special-edition model RX-8. They’re planning to manufacture 1,000 of them.

And production of the RX-8 is ending, as well, and as this is the only vehicle in the company’s line up that uses the rotary engine that Mazda has been long associated with—it signed a technical agreement with Wankel and NSU back in 1961; by May 1967 it introduced the Cosmo Sport 110S with a rotary engine—one might think the engine is going to be put to rest.

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But that doesn’t sound as though that is going to be the case, at least not so far as Takashi Yamanouchi, Mazda's Representative Director, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO, is concerned.

He stated: "Mazda's iconic rotary engine recorded its famous victory in the Le Mans 24-Hour endurance race 20 years ago. Throughout 2011, we have been celebrating the 20th anniversary of that victory by demonstrating the winning 787B racecar at Le Mans' Circuit de La Sarthe and various other events around the world. At each one, the screaming rotary engine and the sight of the 787B have enthralled everyone from young children to race fans who witnessed its victory in 1991. These events have been a powerful reminder of the widespread passion for the rotary engine. Although RX-8 production is ending, the rotary engine will always represent the spirit of Mazda and Mazda remains committed to its ongoing development."

Rotary fans can only wait. And hope.

(Incidentally, for those keeping track: The RX-7 SPIRIT R was introduced in March 2002. The RX-8 was introduced in April 2003.)