Archive for category Mazda

Mazda RX-7 – Classic Street Car

Near a decade ago, a movie about illegal street racing in Los Angeles was released in the big screen. That movie, The Fast & The Furious, spawned three other sequels and pushed import street racing into the forefront of pop culture. A genre of youngsters grew up worshipping Japanese sports car in the way many boomers of the 1960s and 70s were worshipping Mustangs, Corvettes, and Camaros.

Mazda RX-7: Four-wheeled Star

Among the favorites from the movie was the 1993 Mazda RX-7 that Dominic Toretto drove in the street racing scene. Turbo-charged and nitrous-boosted, the fire engine red RX-7 kept Dominic as king of the streets. Just like any royalty, the Mazda RX-7 was regally attired. It had a Veilside body kit and custom headlights to make it stand out. The dagger-spoke wheels, also from Veilside, added to the sleek finish. Toyo 18-inch tires were installed for the best street handling.

One very unforgettable scene was when the racers were priming up and Toretto lifted the passenger seat to ‘arm’ the four-tank NOS (nitrous oxide system). Using NOS was key to Toretto’s victory. More specifically, it was the timing of its use. During the race, O’Conner, one of the competing drivers and co-lead character, also used NOS to get ahead. But he used it too early and Toretto was able to overtake him for the victory.

Throughout the entire race, the red RX-7 that Toretto drove was prominently featured. The car was built for speed. Powered by the legendary twin-turbo rotary stock engine, Dominic Toretto’s Mazda RX-7 produced 255 horsepower. Fans and owners also often point to the unique engine sound as what made the car great.

The Mazda RX-7 began selling in 1979 until 2002 to be replaced by the RX-8. The 1993 model was a third, and last, generation. Car owners who bought the RX-7 cited the zippy performance of the car as its main selling point. The low weight and powerful engine gave the car an impecably precise handling that made it fun to drive. These were the things we saw Dominic Toretto do with the Mazda RX-7 in The Fast & The Furious. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mazda RX8 Horsepower Controversy

Mazda RX8Since its launch, the Mazda RX8 has been the subject of close scrutiny by enthusiasts. The high level of attention is not only due to the car’s admirable driving dynamics but, in part to the early reports of below-than-expected performance. To be more specific: wheel horsepower measured on several chassis dynamometer runs resulted in values well below the expected 17%~20% drivetrain parasitic losses. And quarter mile runs of anywhere between 0.5 and 1.5 seconds off of those produced by magazines on allegedly pre-production vehicles.

In connection with the RX8′s horsepower rating: the original marketing material from Mazda North America (MNAO) advertised the 6 speed manual transmission RX8 at 247hp @ 8,500rpm. Assuming parasitic drivetrain loses between 17%-20% -common for modern rear wheel drive vehicles, a stock RX8 should measure between 205~197 horsepower at the rear wheels (rwhp) -depending on elevation, barometric pressure, temperature and correction factors applied. Instead, a stock RX8 chassis dyno run shows results ranging anywhere from mid-high ~160 to ~185rwhp. Such readings would represent parasitic drivetrain loses in excess of 25%. To say that, it is unacceptable to experience such a high level of loss through the drivetrain of a “sports car” with a carbon fiber drive shaft -amongst other things- is an understatement.

To further consolidate doubts about the actual power output of the new Renesis, several owners were unable to reproduce mid-low 14 second quarter mile passes -as seen published by well known U.S. car magazines. Low trap speeds were another hint towards the apparent lack of power output.

Shortly after, several debates on online enthusiast forums and discussion boards turned into heated arguments as to what was causing such poor “straight line performance.” Many former Miata owners remembered a previous “snafu” in Mazda’s history, when the manufacturer admittedly overstated the horsepower figures of their redesigned Mazda Miata.

After a few months, MNAO came forward and explained that they had misrepresented the Renesis’ power output. The revised figure was now 238hp @ 8,500rpm; however, according to MNAO, this revision did not change the previously achieved track performance results. Read the rest of this entry »

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