I have to say that Mazda makes some decently cool cars in spite of the current trends happening today. But this is nothing new, Mazda has been on their own path for decades; as if their penchant for Wankel-designed rotary power is any indication. Mazda (a Japanese company) brought back the formula for the traditional British sports car in the late 1980s when most other manufacturers (namely the Detroit Big 3) were phasing out affordable, lightweight RWD vehicles in place of ugly and badge-engineered FWD econoboxes. They also helped Ford make small interesting cars when all Ford had was the Fox-platform (a decidedly awesome platform, though). Their most popular car (as far as some of the viewers of this site are concerned) almost phased out the fox body as the next generation Ford Mustang! And I’m sure that had it been a RWD Mazda platform, they’d have gotten away with it too. And to get back to present times: The next generation MX-5 Miata is to shed enough weight to get back to around 2,200 lbs and still retain it’s current horsepower rating. That’s hot rod engineering at work.
Given Mazda’s love for all things sporty, it shouldn’t surprise you that when Mazda redesigned their 767 WSC racer to the 787 for the 1990-91 series, they took what they do best to the extreme. How extreme? Lets start with 2.6L of 4-rotor fury churning out an insane 700 horsepower at 9000 revolutions per minute. It was ran by what had to be one of the smartest engine control units in use in 1990, firing three plugs per rotor (quick math: 12 spark plugs) and controlling their continually variable geometry intake system. Taking all that into consideration, it was considered one of the most reliable engines on the circuit. It’s reliability is considered the primary factor towards it’s 1991 24 Hours of Lemans win in the 787B chassis. A victory that should be noted as simultaneously the only one for a Japanese Manufacturer and a rotary engine.