"GR8 - RX8" is what the personalized license plate on my 2004 RX8
tester proclaimed - and justifiably so! I have always
|I have always been a Mazda proponent, and the sleek blue RX8 definitely didn't disappoint. (Photo: Rob Rothwell, Canadian Auto Press)|
been a Mazda proponent, considering them to be a progressive manufacturer of well-engineered, affordable automobiles. But I was determined not to let this prejudice influence my findings as I put the "sleek blue beauty" (say that three times fast) through the paces of a rigorous road test.
Much of my approbation for the Mazda line is rooted in my early years behind the wheel. In the mid '70s I proudly scooted about town in an RX3 wagon. Hopefully some sort of statute of limitations will apply to my declaration that the rotary powered wagon was fast - especially by the standards of performance that applied to the engine-choking anti-pollution paraphernalia era. Driving the utilitarian "sleeper" wagon was a blast! And contrary to the negative perception that surrounded the early Mazda Wankel rotary
|There is no mistaking the RX8, its lines are peerless and its body shape unique. (Photo: Rob Rothwell, Canadian Auto Press)|
engines, my unit endured the hardships that only a male north of 20-years old could inflict. No breakdowns or blown seals - of course gas mileage was alarming. However gas was cheap back then, and with the pooling of pocket change the eclectic assemblage of passengers regularly occupying the seats and rear cargo area of the RX3 financed many a nighttime cruise.
Given my colorful memories and a traffic ticket or two in the RX3, I have patiently awaited the opportunity to sample a modern version of the rotary engine, especially one bolted to a sports car chassis; fast forward to 2004. There is no mistaking the RX8. Its lines are peerless and its body shape unique. Immediately catching the eye are the distinctive front fenders that appear to separate themselves from the body of the car. This design element has a slight retro-taste to it, which I really admire.