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Try this link for all the pics... http://www.imagestation.com/album/pi...304901&start=1
I hope that works for you all - this is my first album on Imagestation. Most images are 1024x768 or larger, so do view the original hi-res versions if you want the full effect. I think you have to register on Imagestation to view albums, but it's free and it's worth it to be able to see my masterpieces. :p
Anyway... let me first say that I have never owned a rotary product, much less any Mazda. But I do like them.
Mazda got involved with the SoCal RX-7 club to put together this event. I must say I was very impressed. You don't see factory involvement and embracing of enthusiasts at car meets often. Mazda held this meet at their R&D facilities in Irvine, CA, south of LA.
The weather was perfect. Overcast most of the day, t-shirt weather, only a couple little sprinkles.
I don't own a rotary, of course, so I persuaded a friend to come down from Oregon and pick me up along the way in his '86 Sport RX-7... which by the way turned 100,000 miles on the way to SevenStock. :D We each drove about half of the way from my place to Irvine so I got some extended seat time in the car. Enough time to realize many of its strengths and weaknesses. Biggest weakness - the seats. Hurt me bum. :o
Back to SevenStock... it was pretty big! There were more FDs there than anything else, which surprised me a bit (I thought they were the most rare among 7s). I wasn't surprised to see few first-gen models (FBs?). There were perhaps 20-30.
Unfortunately the RX-8 was not shown as I had expected it would be. [The chance of seeing the RX-8 in the flesh was my main impetus going to the event. The RX-8 is looking like a very strong possibility for my first new car in a few years, if I can afford it.] I heard at last year's SevenStock there was an RX-8 prototype (I believe the model in GT3) on hand. This year we at least got some info straight from Mazda on the '8. Here's what I remember... [wish I had a pen and paper handy when they were rattling off the details!]
- Base price around $26k, loaded ones around $31k [they wouldn't give us any definite numbers but I was pleased to hear this -- I was expecting $30k for starters]
- 6 speed standard
- LSD standard [thank you Mazda!!]
- 18x8" wheels [yowza...]
- 12.7" front discs [forgot how big the rears were]
- 0-60... you had to have been there, but I believe a subtle hint was given on this one at "around 6 seconds." It was very indirect.
- 250hp and 159ft-lbs. 90% of that torque is available throughout most of the rev range (I forget the exact RPMs, but suffice it to say the torque curve should look more like a torque line.
- The speaker stressed the RX-8 would definitely weigh UNDER 3,000 lbs. Hooray.
- Bose stereo system standard [eh... I hear Bose is more image than sound quality]
- Hints of a ~300hp Mazdaspeed version in the future...
What Mazda did have was a mechanical test mule which was roped off and indoors where no photos were allowed. You didn't miss much. The car was cobbled together with tape and screws, using Miata headlights, a late model FD nose, and I believe an entire Millenia rear end. Only the roofline and windows seemed to resemble the RX-8. So all I could really gather was the general size of the vehicle. It was smaller than I expected. When I see the finished product in person, it will be interesting to see how much interior room there is. The test mule had the side doors open on one side, and the rear seat area looked cramped but the seats were not bolted down and were off-kilter.
I think Mazda USA initially expected to be able to show the RX-8 at SevenStock. The SevenStock T-shirt had a drawing of an RX-8 on it [possibly a hint at the Mazdaspeed version, as the front end sported a more aggressive lower grille and front lip]. The poster was a photo of the yellow RX-8. Perhaps higher powers at Mazda decided recently that the RX-8 should remain unseen for now (which strikes me as odd - we all know what it looks like already. Unless they have more changes in store [I hope not]). Anyway, they said the RX-8 would be officially unveiled in January at the NAIAS.
Inside the studio where the mechanical prototype was, Mazda displayed some of the designer's original drawings for what would eventually be known as the RX-8. These interested me because I'm considering entering the field of automotive design. But they also intimidated me because they were so skillfully executed. I don't know if I have that much natural artistic talent to churn out drawings of that caliber, and with speed. Anyway, the designs shown in those drawings didn't look anywhere near as good as the current RX-8 we've seen. It's nice to see the car has evolved from the RX-EVOLV into something much more beautiful.
Mazda also had the clay model for the original Miata in the studio, along with a nicely modified new Miata... had a bit too much carbon fiber for my taste though.
There were three seminars, one of which had to do with rebuilding a rotary engine. We missed that one (don't remember why) which probably would have been interesting - especially to my friend as he's in the process of rebuilding the engine in his '87 Turbo-II project car. I don't remember checking every FC there but as best I can recall, I think he had the only Sport model there.
In the courtyard a black Mazdaspeed Protege was on display and opened up, with another engine on a stand next to it. The turbo looks positively tiny! The interior of the car is pretty good, the seat was super comfy and the pedals had good throw and spacing. Right away though, I noticed the shifter was too low. Seemed to be at the same level as the top of the seat cushion. Surprisingly, the back seat is also pretty comfy and roomy - just watch your head on the lowering windowline when entering the back seat... I bumped my head. Once inside, however, there's enough headroom even for me.
Someone brought a twin-engined car to the vendor area. I don't know what it was actually based off of, because the body was so unusual and I believe it was home-made. It did have an FC rear hatch glass piece, and presumably both engines were rotaries. I didn't take a picture because I didn't care for the way the car looked. It was obviously a work in progress but I didn't find it appealing.
7's Only Racing had some display space. They brought along three Cobra racing seats on stands. I tried them out. It's amazing how much difference there is between models. As the Goldilocks story goes, one was too big, one was too small, and one was just right. The just right model was, I believe, an Imola2. Seemed like it could be comfy for long trips too. But at $600 for one without rails, it's a bit pricey.
As you'll see in the photos, there were a couple of the new 6s lurking around (not officially part of the meet). I spotted a blue one parked temporarily and nabbed a few photos before it ran off. This is a great looking car in person. Very striking from some angles. The interior also looked good. Since the windows were rolled up, pictures wouldn't have come out due to glare.
I do wonder why they chose to play 100% hip-hop over the loudspeakers though... I know some people there liked that but a little variety would've been nice. In the courtyard area, the Mission Impossible theme song was looped. This got old quick. Again, variety would've helped.
Overall a very good meet. Mazda knows how to put on a good event. My buddy and I missed the raffle, though - we didn't see where to purchase tickets. Best of all the event was free, but attendees were encouraged to donate for posters and purchase shirts and food to raise money for children's diabetes research.
The second half of SevenStock continued at Racing Beat's facilities on Sunday, but we were unable to attend.
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I don't post very much on the MR2 board anymore, only in the Canadian forum and rarely on the MKII forum. The discussion in the MKII forum typically focuses on mad power buildups, my car being (and staying) stock I don't have much to say there.
I see. Would the RX-8 replace your MR2 as the fun car? For me, the '8 will be my practical comfy cushy luxurious car (if I get one). It'll be a bit sad that the '8 will do just about everything better than my MR2 can, except for perhaps autocrossing.
I'm not sure what I would do with an RX-8, depends on how nice it looks in person and what the price is. It might make a good daily driver to replace the Protege with, if it can withstand Canadian winters.
I don't think I could part with my MR2 though, I feel like a custodian of an automotive legend with that car. I just could not stand to see it not lovingly cared for. I think I'll hold onto that car for a long time, besides, it's almost paid for! Besides, I just claybared it last weekend and it looks f'n hot!!! I've been trying to get ahold of a digital camera to take some pics of it before the insurance runs out in a week.
Also the other thing I realllly like about an MR2 is that they are damn rare, don't see yourself coming and going. Plus I think MR2's are way cooler than ANY of the new variety of Japanese sports machines (sorry guys ).
Take it easy Bryan, and if I get ahold of that digicam I'll post some pics on the GTF.
1993 Toyota MR2 Turbo
2001 Mazda Protege ES
2004 Mazda RX-8????