Sports hero reborn?
A design exists for a new Mazda RX-7, writes Neil Dowling in Germany
THE world’s sports-car fans could spark a return of the Mazda RX-7. An all-new sports-car hero is already designed, with new-age rotary engines ready for the job, but Mazda bosses have yet to make a commitment to a return for the two-seater sports car.
Instead, they are waiting to see if buyers will return to the RX-7.
Mazda chief engineer Ikuo Maeda says it’s his ‘‘dream’’ to make a new RX-7, but he’s not too optimistic.
And he warns that any born-again RX-7 will be very different from the old car that was, coincidentally, designed by his father.
‘‘We have totally opposite design tastes. He likes simplicity of form — I like complexity,’’ Maeda says.
Asked by carsGuide if an RX-7 is back on the table, Maeda admits there are drawings, but Mazda Motor Cor- poration is yet to give any go-ahead. ‘‘Mazda will build it if people want it,’’ he says.
But Maeda warns that young Japanese car buyers are not sending much support for an RX-7.
‘‘In Japan, the younger generation are less interested in cars and there’s not much demand for sports cars.
‘‘But in other parts of the world, I think there is strong demand,’’ he says.
If there is a new RX-7 it could follow the theme of the future Toyota-Subaru FT-86 coupe and the Lexus LFA supercar, but Maeda says he won’t design a new RX-7 to compete with the Toyota.
‘‘ Ours would be a much more serious sports car than the Toyota,’’ says the designer, who is a prominent touring car racer and pilots an MX-5 in sports-car events.
‘‘It would be a more genuine sports car — lightweight, compact, rotary engine and rear drive. A sports car should be rear-wheel drive.’’
Though Mazda is pushing ahead with its new Shinari design theme, Maeda says it will not be applied to the company’s existing sports car, the MX-5. ‘‘The MX-5 has a separate history to the other models, so it will have to retain its own identity,’’ Maeda says. ‘‘It will be applied to the MX-5, but it won’t adopt all the ideas. It will have a combination of designs.’’
Strong demand: Mazda bosses are yet to give the go-ahead for a new Mazda RX-7 sports car.