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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Kinsmart 1:32 Mazda RX-8




While I do like the Mazda RX-7, I just couldn't convince myself to like the RX-8's large size and odd-looking rear half-doors in a sports car, but I guess I finally gave up when I found this Kinsmart pull back.


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RX = Wankel Rotary Motor

As mentioned before, the RX7 was a spin-off of the Cosmos Sport for Mazda's new rotary-powered sports car.  In 1995 with Mazda and other Japanese automakers face a rising Yen and a drop in sports car demand, they had no choice but to cancel the RX-7.  Still, Mazda never gave up with the rotary sports car and started a concept in the same year called RX-01, the precursor to the RX-8.  After several design studies, engine testing, the second concept was released in 2001, with the car finally going into production in 2004.  The styling leads off of the previous-generation, with a mix of MX-5 Miata in it as well, which is no surprise since the new platform is shared with the 2006 MX-5.  There's styling touches to show what's under the hood with triangular cut-out in the front and rear bumper, the shape of the hood bulge, and the hole inside the front headrests.  Headlights are now exposed and quad-units, with styling elements that was also shared later with the rest of the Mazda passenger-car line.

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The interior is roomier and easier to access the rear seats, though still snug, with a center console to make it a 4-seater.  The front has a dashboard that is simple (and slightly-dated) with a novel vertical CD player in the radio and digital speedometer inside of the central analog tachometer (leaving large empty spaces below the fuel and temperature outer gauges).  The shifter has that smooth look, while the handbrake looks funky.  The rear now has a trunk, not a hatchback, and is still adequate to carry some stuff in it.  The motor is a two-rotor Wankel motor producing 250 hp. in the RENESIS trim joined by a six-speed manual.  The motor is smooth (no piston backlash vibrations), small (fits behind the front axle), and not very fuel or emissions-efficient (the motor lacks connecting rod leverage and shares the combustion chamber with the oil lubrication system).  It's a great car for the track at high RPM speeds, but a dog in day-to-day driving in the city!  The chassis has not only a engine behind the front axle but also the gas tank ahead of the rear axle for perfect 50/50 weight distribution.


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Mazda stopped selling the RX-8 in 2011 because the car was no longer certified for sales in Europe thanks to new emissions standards, and Mazda seen no sense of continuing production for the US.  Mazda is working on the next one, which will return to the two-door layout.  The engine will either be turbocharged Wankel, or a Wankel/Electric hybrid.

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Kinsmart: older casting, but still looks good

You can tell this is the older Kinsmart casting by the lack of inner door panels, light on details, and simple construction, but still amazes in other areas.  Take the detailed headlight units, or the taillights with red brake light lens.  The badging and scoops, the 5-spoke wheels, or the colors which range from Silver, Black, way-too-many Red (from what I saw), or the Yellow, a 2004-only color.  The yellow looks good (especially cleaned-up) and shows off the taillights much better than the other colors.  The base is flat and plain, but shows enough for the exhaust and gas tank.  The interior is right-hand drive with a detailed, but plain dash, seats, steering wheel, console, and yes the rear luggage hiding the rear pull back motor at the rear.  The rear window defroster lines are a bit overkill.

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Simple, but looks good.  Even though I still cringe at the large door frame and rear window that doesn't flow well with the rest of the sleek lines of the car, it's a very nice car.  Just bring on the next RX-7!

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