Mazda officially launched the oddball RX-8 in 2003, just one year after the great RX-7 officially died in Japan. But whereas the RX-7's stature has only grown to near-mythic status in the past few years, the RX-8 died a grisly death in 2012, and few people have seemed to miss it since. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a fascinating car.
Now, we have talked about some of the issues of the wonderful, reliable, never-recalled RX-8 before. We’ve also detailed why tuners still pass it over in favor of its better-built, more easily-boosted predecessor, the FD RX-7.
I think it’s fair to say that tightening emissions regulations coupled with the increased efficiency of small-displacement, turbocharged piston engines (the tech that lied) really helped kill off the rotary engine at Mazda. That and the Great Recession, plus reliability issues leading to expensive warranty claims.
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But I don’t think you can take that in without acknowledging that the RX-8, disappointing and slow-selling as it was, can be left without any blame.
But what we haven’t discussed is what it felt like to buy this car, own it, run it, and quietly convince yourself that “I’m glad I didn’t buy a 350Z. VQ engines sound terrible,” while you send your car back for another recall.
Maybe you bought one new and were surprised to find that rotary life wasn’t made for you. Maybe you scooped one up for a few grand a few years ago and it refuses to die despite your best efforts. Maybe you always used the rear suicide doors, maybe you welded them shut for your budget drag build. Whatever it is, we want to hear from you!
Even better if you can include a photo in the comments, along with your story about what went right (or wrong) with your pride and joy.