The End of the Mazda Rotary RX

tombstone

R.I.P Mazda RX Rotary

We received some sad news a few days ago about the much loved Rotary RX-7, RX-8 and other RX series. The official word according to the Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai is that “we don’t have that kind of vehicle in our future product plan.”  when asked about a future RX. 

Honestly I’d love to pontificate about this more, but there isn’t much to say. It sounds like the final word from the current CEO. When pushed further he gave some reasoning that honestly makes perfect sense, “If you increase the number of segments, then the resources we can allocate to each will decline and that will prevent us from developing truly good products.” Also stated was the fact that “It’s difficult for us at present to further expand our lineup. The company is still in the process of improving its financial structure. We want to focus our limited resources on the Skyactiv products that we have today” 

Though this probably makes the most sense from a stability standpoint, it certainly doesn’t make us excited or want to say “Zoom-Zoom”. What happened to the Mazda passion? All that racing knowledge and development? Did they just give up on pushing the bar? Honestly, I don’t think so, I just think they are changing focus. The Rotary is off the board in the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean their current lineup won’t see some improvements…. after all, what about that Mazdaspeed 3 and MX-5?

Nonetheless, let us all take a moment of silence and mourn the passing of the RX series, for now.

 

Cheers

Spencer@CorkSport

Spencer CarsonWritten by Spencer Carson. Spencer is a car enthusiast and Mazda fan at heart. Whether enjoying the power of a modified Mazdaspeed 3, or driving top down in his 1992 MX5, he always enjoys getting behind the wheel. As much as Spencer loves driving, he loves helping out other Mazda owners even more. Whether helping at a local install day or heading to a car meet across the country, he loves chatting about Mazda and giving advice on how to get more Zoom-Zoom out of any car. 

 

Introducing CorkSport 3.0

Today we are launching an all-new CorkSport, a version we’re calling CorkSport 3.0. Before I get into this, let me give you some insight into our journey thus far.

CorkSport 1.0
CorkSport 1.0, when we were exclusively a reseller (1998).

Derrick and I started CS in 1998. Back then we were just two dudes (yeah, almost Lebowski dudes). We had no clue what we were getting ourselves into. CS 1.0 was crude in hindsight, but we at least had the one ingredient that mattered most: a passion for Mazda performance. We were exclusively a reseller at first. We sold products from companies like Mazdaspeed, Mazda of Japan and FEED. Check out our original logo (right) when we first launched.

CS 2.0 started when we decided to develop our own brand of parts. This started in 2002 with exhaust systems.

 

CorkSport 2.0
CorkSport 2.0, when we ventured into creating our own exhaust systems (2004).

 

It quickly grew from exhausts, to intakes, to everything we do today. We’ve changed our logo twice since the beginning. You can see our last and current logo below.

CorkSport 3.0, the industry leader in Mazda performance.
CorkSport 3.0, the industry leader in Mazda performance.

CS 3.0 starts today.

Why? We’ve grown up. Not in the sense that you wouldn’t find us going a hunski on the 5, but in the sense that our business has grown significantly, at least by comparison to our meager beginnings. Many families now depend on our business and many thousands of our customers depend on the products we develop. We’ve grown up in the sense that we’ve learned enough to know what it means to be excellent. We know what we are capable of, and we know you want excellence too. We are prepared to deliver excellence as we never have before.

There are components of the new CorkSport that you will be able to see, and there are components you will not be able to see. As for what you can see, you’ll notice a new version of our logo across all channels (our website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+). We have a brand new website. The homepage has been totally overhauled to give you more of what you’ve told us you want. Our product pages have been revamped too, including better content and more logical organization. You can see what we mean in our re-release of the CorkSport Exhaust for Mazdaspeed 3 (honestly, there is minimal change to this listing, but you can understand how the video and images are improved). This is typical of what you’ll see from the dozens of products we are set to release in the months ahead.

Raising the Bar on Our Product Development Process

Much work went into what you can see, but even more went into what you cannot. We have totally overhauled our product development process. Our new process more robustly:

• Applies FMEA techniques to ensure a longer, issue-free lifetime for our products.
• Applies quality controls. We are demanding more from our partners than ever before, and they are responding.
• Applies quality assurance. Both externally and internally we’ve expanded our quality assurance efforts. We’ve even got a CMM (coordinate-measuring machine) in the pipeline to further expand our QA efforts.
• Collects the data you care about during the development process so that it makes it to the public (dyno testing, AFR, fuel trims, boost levels, fuel pressure, etc).
• Includes modeling and 3D printing to reduce development time and improve quality.

 

Exceptional Service

You hate back orders. So this is our goal: eliminate misses and near-misses. We want awesome, all the time. So it’s also worth mentioning that we’ve totally overhauled our supply chain management. Back orders are now 75% lower than they used to be. 

Further, you will receive a consistent experience no matter which CS part you buy. You know it, and we know it. We’ve tried to hit certain price points to make our products available to more customers, but we simply will not compromise quality to do so. To some customers CS means great value. To other customers CS means uncompromised quality at a fair price. Moving forward, you won’t see new products where we need to educate customers about what quality costs. If we have to have that discussion, we will avoid making the part in the first place. We still seek extremely high value but the bar has been raised for what CorkSport quality means.

We thank you for your support for the past (almost) 17 years! You’ve allowed us to grow our business large enough that it fills an entire city block. We are, by far, the #1 source of new products in Mazda Performance.

We will continue to return the love by supporting only the Mazda brand. We are Mazda performance to our core.

Regards,

Rich Harris

 

 

 

 

 

Rich Harris

President, CorkSport Performance

Mazda, Motorcycles and Dorito Chip Goodness

 

How Mazda, a Strange Recycling Symbol and Dorito Chips all Connect

CorkSport-Logo-Connected to Mazda

 

What is this symbol? And how is it connected to Mazda? On first look it appears to be somehow symbolizing recycling, or Rotary Engines,  and if that was your guess, you aren’t really wrong. But, there is certainly more.

This is the logo for a Motorcyle Company known as Van Veen that produced cycles from around 1972 until 1981. Van Veen was run by Henk Van Veen a dutch importer of motorcycles who had a crazy idea to cram a rotary engine into a motorcycle. So, he chose a bike, a Moto Guzzi V7 as the frame, and then an engine.

Van-Veen1-OCR-1000-Rotary-Engine

Now, contrary to much of what you see on the internet (such as wikipedia) stating that his first prototype used a Comoto Rotary, Van Veen actually chose another engine. A Mazda rotary.

The first engine this slightly crazy man decided to cram into those bikes was none other than the same engine that Mazda used in their RX2, the 10a.

Mazda-Rotary-Engine-Motorcycle-Guzzi-Wankel-CorkSportThough the initial prototype used this engine, Van Veen sadly began instead using the Comoto rotary instead.

Alas though, after just a few years of selling his OCR 1000 wankel rotary bike, the company stopped producing them in 1981. As much as we wished he continued to use the Mazda engine, he did not, but that original prototype still exists. If you happen to read Dutch, check out more here: https://cybermotorcycle.com/docs/downloads/vanVeenMotorRijwiel.pdf

Though we never got to see them use the Mazda engines for production, or later start using the RX7 engines (boy that would have been awesome!), there have been others that have followed in Van Veen’s path and built Mazda rotary cycles.

Here is a custom built 13b powered rotary bike by Rodney Aguiar.

CorkSport-Mazda-13b-Rotary-Motorcycle

 

Rotary-13b-Motorcycle

 

Who knows, maybe one of these days Mazda will even start making rotary motorcycles! After all, they did start by making 3 wheeled cars!

 

800px-Mazda_k360

 

 

 

 

P.S. Don’t forget your love of Dorito engines.

 

-Spencer

 

 

787B Race Car Coming Out Of Retirement

In celebration of becoming the first and only Japanese car manufacturer to win the world’s most demanding endurance race, the 24-Hours of Le Mans, Mazda will be demonstrating the winning Mazda 787B, on the Circuit de la Sarthe in La Mans, France on June 11, before the start of the race.

Le Mans Winning 787B

The Mazda 787B was jointly developed by Mazda and MazdaSpeed in 1990 to 1991. The 787 has a chassis designed to meet Group C racing car technical regulations and is powered by a R26B four-rotor naturally aspirated engine that produces 700 horsepower. 1991 was the last year that a rotary-engine car could participate in the 24 Hour of Le Mans.

R26B That Powers the 787B

At the 59th 24 Hours of Le Mans, Mazda was not the favorite to win, but the three 3.5 liter cars that Mazda submitted for the races were given first grid positions despite being the 12th, 17th and 24th fastest qualifiers. On the day before the race, the team manager instructed the drivers to drive as if it were a short sprint race rather than an endurance event, a decision he made based on the reliability the cars demonstrated and the car’s exceptional fuel economy.

At the 22nd hour of the race, #55, an outrageously painted bright orange and green Mazda 787B, took the lead and was the first to cross the finish line, completing 362 laps and covering just over 3,064 miles.

Since 1991, the winning Mazda 787B has primarily been displayed at the Mazda Museum in Hiroshima, Japan. Mazda carefully restored the winning 787B racecar back to driving condition and has tested it using one of Mazda’s in-house top gun drivers.

Drivers and Mechanics for the 787B

Mazda’s attendance at the 79th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans also coincides with the 50th anniversary of its development of the rotary engine.

– Gwynne

What is our mission?

This question will be answered in a three part blog. In the first, we’ll introduce you to Mazdaspeed of Japan. In the second, we’ll introduce you to AutoExe of Japan. In the third, we’ll discuss our mission statement and how it relates to what we’ve discussed about Mazdaspeed and Autoexe.

Part 1:
If you’ve not had the opportunity, you should check out Mazdaspeed of Japan (MOJ). This venerable Japanese brand has dished out top notch products for Mazda’s for decades.

MazdaSpeed Japan

We dealt with MOJ directly when we started in 1998 until shortly after Mazda USA took the name to market performance parts in the US. We can only guess that this was in response to similar movements from Japanese performance divisions like TRD, Nismo, Ralliart, Mugen and Sti. From our position, Mazdaspeed USA (MUSA) didn’t seem to have much connection to MOJ except in name. There were a few products available from MOJ, but most of the products were not made available in the USA. We continued to offer MOJ products while also ramping up sales of MUSA products. At some point, it became clear that MUSA did not want MOJ presence in this market. Understandable, considering our litigious society coupled with the vast difference between your average Japanese consumer and their American counterpart.

We still offer a few MOJ products, but it’s been increasingly hard to get our hands on them. We’ve largely phased them out of our catalog. However, we still think it’s worth your time as a Mazda enthusiast to get familiar with them, if you are not already. MOJ doesn’t have its own website anymore. Mazdaspeed of Japan is more clearly a subsidiary of Mazda Japan now and the catalog is much smaller than it used to be.

A better representation of what Mazdaspeed used to be can be found here. We’ve scanned in a few pages of the last print catalogs we got. You’ll notice there are lots more parts and that they are available for nearly every model Mazda (at the time). We have an old Mazdaspeed catalog here that is 176 pages!

Let’s look at an example product that is still available in Japan: Mazdaspeed muffler for RX-8. This is a axle-back system that retails for Y86,100 or about $1076 at the current exchange rate not counting shipping cost.

MazdaSpeed Japan RX-8 Exhaust

With stainless steel construction and Mazda quality engineering this is one of the nicest exhaust components available. In comparison, our cat-back exhaust is half the cost for a more complete exhaust system. To be fair, their exhaust is high quality, and exquisitely tuned. It comes down to personal preference and how much money someone is willing to spend for an exhaust system. In the US, most people would expect a full exhaust system, from engine to tail pipe for about the cost of the Mazdaspeed muffler. We are better positioned to deliver on that expectation.

Next week, we’ll introduce you to AutoExe of Japan. Stay tuned! (HA HA. GET IT?)

– Rich