When you think of cars with rotary engines, chances are sporty Mazda coupes will come to mind. Certainly, that was the case with me when I heard the theme for this month’s Daikanyama Morning Cruise would be rotary engines.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to one of these Morning Cruise events and covered it, so I was hoping the turnout for this meet would be an interesting one. On my way to the meet I read up on the history of the Wankel rotary engine, tried to familiarise myself with NSU cars, as well as any other rotary car that might turn up.
But as soon as I got to the car park at the Daikanyama T-Site all the reading I had done was unnecessary. It was basically a Mazda rotary meet, with a few random non-rotary cars in the mix. To top it all off, the turnout was less than most of these Morning Cruises with a few depressing empty spaces.
It’s not like it was a bad meet. The weather was as cool and crisp as you’d want for a February morning, the crowds were enthusiastic, and cars did keep coming in. However, the day before the meet was a public holiday which meant some people probably stayed out late the night before and couldn’t be bothered getting up at 7am to go to the car park of a bookstore.
Still, the people and the cars that did show up were enough to make the second Morning Cruise of the year an enjoyable one. Okay, nothing in particular stood out from the crowd. There was no Lancia 037 Stradale or Toyota 2000GT like in previous Morning Cruise meets, but seeing some of Mazda’s rotary history was quite nice. Especially since the “will they won’t they” rumors surrounding the RX-Vision Concept is affecting me emotionally these days.
There were two Cosmo 110S, a white one and a gorgeous mint/silver example. The colour reminded me of Aston Martin’s Hardly Green paint, which is probably one of my favourite colours in the world. There was also a third generation Cosmo (called the 929 overseas) which was the first time seeing one of these for me. A friend of mine has the fourth generation Cosmo with the awesome twin-sequential turbo rotary engine.
Unfortunately no RX-3s (or Savanna) were at the meet, however there was a first generation Savanna RX-7. There were quite a few FC and FD RX-7s as well as the more modern RX-8 at the meet, unsurprisingly, varying from original condition cars to a fully modified ones as in the case of the orange RX-7.
Amazingly, there was very clean Rotary Pickup too. I mean, a rotary-powered truck is a bit random. Apparently it’s the first and only Wankel-powered pickup, so maybe there’s a new niche Mazda could return to if their new SkyActiv-R engines are up to scratch. Imagine a modern day rotary powered BT-50.
Speaking of random rotary-powered car, there was also a Caterham-looking kit car powered by a 13B engine. The sound it made had to be heard to be believed. It was ridiculous. Cool, but absolutely ridiculous.
Elsewhere around the T-Site parking area, there were the usual mix of classic oddities and modern marvels such as a classic Alfa Romeo Giulia, a R33 Skyline GT-R, a Porsche GT3, a Ferrari 550 Maranello, and a couple of Morgans to balance out the meet.
Last but not least, Mazda also had a display of some of their modern cars at the T-Site. Unfortunately no RX-Vision Concept or even a 787B. Boo and hiss. Instead, they had the new MX-5 RF, the CX-3 crossover, and their brand spanking new CX-5. We’ve seen the new CX-5 already at the Tokyo Auto Salon but this was my first chance to have a look at it up close and personal as well as be able to sit inside.
Upon first impressions the new CX-5 is a predictable evolution on the current model, why would Mazda want to change what is clearly as successful recipe? It’s more handsome, sharper, and cleaner than the car it replaces. It looks bigger, but that could be from some of the design elements. I’m not won over by the design of the rims though.
Inside it’s similar to other contemporary Mazdas with nice quality materials, a simple and clean design, and a few cool toys. Here’s hoping we can bring you a road test of one soon. Similarly, here’s hoping Mazda has realized the following their rotary cars have and will work to get a new rotary sports car in production soon.
In the meantime have a look through the rest of the gallery to see some of the other cars that were at this month’s Morning Cruise meet.