Auction Pick of the Week: 2004 Mazda RX-8

Marketplace/Ramsey Potts

Mazda has always been a little quirky. In 1961, the company licensed Felix Wankel’s rotary engine, and through sheer determination, it perfected the design when other, larger automakers failed. Beginning in 1979, Mazda would use the RX-7 sports car to showcase its mastery of the funny-looking triangles rotating in a figure-eight-like housing. But 1995 brought dark times for rotary heads, as the third-generation (FD) RX-7 had left U.S. showrooms for good.

Fans would have to wait eight long years for a successor: In 2003, Mazda introduced the RX-8, a more practical take on the rotary sports car. Unlike the two-seat FD, the RX-8 had a unique four-seat arrangement. Two smaller, rear-hinged clamshell doors made it easy to get in and out of the RX-8’s back seats.

If you’re looking for a four-door rotary sports car, check out our auction pick of the week; this example from 2004 is offered without reserve.

Mazda learned its lesson with the FD’s complicated, temperamental sequential twin-turbo setup (look up the turbo vacuum diagram). Instead, the RX-8 was equipped with a heavily revised, naturally aspirated 238-horsepower engine dubbed the Renesis. While not as powerful as its 255-hp predecessor, it was enough to propel an RX-8 with a six-speed manual to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.

Our featured car was used as an autocross toy, and thus, it has a few performance goodies. A Racing Beat intake and exhaust make the rotary’s chainsaw noises even angrier. Tein Flex coilovers and Mazdaspeed strut braces focus the already excellent RX-8 chassis. And finally, lightweight SSR Comp H wheels shod in Michelin PS2 tires help put the power down.

Cosmetically, our 41,493-mile Brilliant Black example is a nice-looking driver. There are some rock chips in the genuine Mazdaspeed front bumper and a few small dings on the body. The black leather eight-way power driver’s seat—only available on fully loaded Grand Touring models—shows minor wear. But if you’ll be tossing this RX-8 around cones, you probably don’t want a concours car.

If you’re an autocross weekend warrior, a rotary fan, or just looking for a practical sports car, this 2004 Mazda RX-8 should be right up your alley. Just make sure to get your bids in. The auction ends on Thursday, September 28, at 4:00 p.m. EDT.




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