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Mazda RX8

How being unusually dedicated enabled a uniquely better design

Sports cars with dedicated (not shared with other designs) chassis’ and engines are rare. Porsche and Ferrari and McLaren and Bugatti sports cars have almost always had exclusively dedicated engines and chassis’, Lamborghini and Aston Martin do also but increasingly less so. TVR not so long ago notably did too. And, remarkably, Mazda used to for decades with its RX7, and then with its RX8 sports car produced from 2002 until 2012.

Not only were the Mazda sports cars unusually dedicated in their ingredients, they were also exceptional in having a rotary engine. With the RX8 Mazda used this combination to the fullest extent to create a design that really worked with its super compact power-train, making the car and its cowl point lower than those of sedan chassis derived sports coupes, and giving it a short engine bay that afforded a cabin with way more length and thus room than any comparably sized coupe — for which they in turn created an innovative B-pillar-less 2+2 door arrangement. As a result the car had better fundamental sports car attributes, and yet was also way more accommodating and practical than other sports coupes. 

Not only was the RX8 unusual in having a dedicated chassis and engine, it was unique in harnessing this to create the most innovative of sports car designs. Fundamentally, it was a better design because it was a dedicated design.