The Mazda RX-8 is bizarre, so far as automobiles go. It has an engine that spins and in addition is more likely to slowly dismantle itself in case you don’t watch it fastidiously; rear half-doors which might be additionally rear-hinged; and properly, have you ever seen it? It’s only a surprisingly proportioned automobile: lengthy and slender and bulbous, and definitely not helped by late-aughts/early 2010s Mazda Maw following its mid-cycle refresh. Unfortunately, these latter examples additionally occur to be essentially the most dependable ones. You can’t have all of it.
However, Mazda has in its possession an RX-8 that’s even weirder than the ordinarily bizarre ones, as a result of it lacks a roof. See, the automaker could by no means have series-produced a convertible RX-8, but it surely explored the idea with two promotional automobiles lengthy after the automobile left manufacturing, for the baseball membership it naturally owns. One of these automobiles is at the moment on show at Mazda Brand Space Osaka till the tip of August, in case you occur to be on the town.
See, seven years in the past the Hiroshima Toyo Carp — that’s Mazda’s hometown staff — reached the Japan Series, the ultimate spherical of the Nippon Professional Baseball league’s playoffs. The metropolis held a parade to commemorate the event, as Car and Driver defined on the time, and this RX-8 was in it. The Carp’s berth was a giant deal, as a result of the staff hadn’t made it to the Japan Series since 1991, nor received a title since 1984.
Unfortunately, 2016 didn’t finish the drought for Hiroshima, regardless of loads of assistance on the mound from ever-reliable former Yankee Hiroki Kuroda in Game 3. (Kuroda pitched to an up-and-comer named Shohei Ohtani in that sport; marvel how that child’s doing now.)
Anyway, again to automobiles. Of course Mazda needed to reinforce the RX-8’s chassis to account for the removing of the roof and subsequent lack of rigidity, and a part of that reinforcement got here by the use of that large honking rollbar the place the B-pillar would usually stand. This hoop additionally gave the Carp’s expertise one thing to lean on and maintain onto whereas standing and waving, which they deserved. Had to be in tip-top form to stay it to these Nippon-Ham Fighters.
Sure, the ring was a little bit awkward. But then the RX-8 was already a fairly awkward factor, and in case you do your finest to scan previous it, I reckon Mazda’s two-plus-two made a advantageous open-air sports activities automobile. The Porsche Speedster-esque deck behind the rear seat headrests did some heavy lifting right here, however we respect its contribution nonetheless.
In addition to these two RX-8s, Mazda additionally chopped two Mazda 6s — or Atenzas as they’re identified again house — for the event. Ironically, I’ve no proof of Miatas on the premises on that exact day. Say what you need concerning the firm’s little drop-top experiment right here, however bear in mind: it may’ve gone a lot worse.