Buried deep beneath the Mazda's R&D headquarters in Irvine, CA lies a treasure trove of Zoom-Zoom goodies. Once inside the basement, guests are treated to an intimate encounter with everything from LeMans winning endurance racecars like the legendary 787, to a host of rotary powered RX-7 sports cars of both the racetrack and road-going variety. There are also a few scale models from years past; not to mention a whole lot of Miatas. The Mazda Miata featured in the foreground is the Miata Speedster showcar and is easily made distinguishable by its shorter windshield as well as its early Fast and the Furious-inspired bodywork.
Since this is a working research and development office, it is not surprising to see a pallet of industrial clay sitting at the far end of the Mazda dream garage, meant for the modelers upstairs. However, the scale model Miata in various states of refinement sitting on top was quite the Easter egg, giving a deeper look into the steps the sculptor will take to bring their vision into a three dimensional reality.
Speaking of scale models, in another corner, hidden behind a stack of RX-7 rims and tires, were a few more finished versions of Mazda's scale proposals. Items like a Mazda6 wagon and a few scaled-down multi-people movers gave a glimpse into what might have been for the manufacturer from Hiroshima. Note the Furai at the bottom. With the full size version going up in flames, this could be the only one in the world.
Remember the MazdaSpeed Protege'? Shortly after Mazda released the first affordable four door compact with an MP3 player, then they decided to turn up the boost with a turbocharged version from the factory. This one, with its Racing Hart rims and engine bay dress up kit, looks like it might have seen SEMA duty in its earlier days.
What you see here is the original Miata that Mazda pulled the covers off of at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, officially introducing the world to the future of Japanese-built classic British-style lightweight sports cars.
The RX-7 has been considered one of the last great Japanese sports cars ever since they stopped coming to the U.S. The classic rotary experimental formula, made up of a turbocharged two rotor motor up front, sent power straight to the rear wheels and was packaged inside a sleek aerodynamic shell. Down in the Basement, you will find both the FC and FD RX-7s, as well as a bright orange pace car and a very limited production left hand drive gunmetal Spirit R.
It is truly a pity that Mazda never saw fit to bring the Miata Coupe to market. The sleek lines formed by the fixed roof translate well with the traditional roadster body, but then what would a Miata be without wind in your face and bugs in your teeth?
As unassuming as this little Miata racer looks, it is actually a very important piece of the MX-5's timeline. That's because the diminutive white Mazda seen here was the first one ever outfitted to go racing. It makes you wonder if they knew what was going to come when they finished bolting in that roll cage. After all, more Mazdas are road raced than any other car, and alot of that can be attributed to #6.
Miatas galore! Every generation, every iteration and even a few one-off show cars can be found housed inside the Mazda R&D Basement.
If rarity is something that excites, you. this trio of classic Mazdas will not disappoint. Starting with the right hand drive Eunos Cosmo (not even a Mazda), this luxury coupe from the 1990's is most notable for its powerplant - an utra rare and highly sought after twin turbocharged three rotor dubbed the 20B. The 1976 Mazda GLC was optioned with every box checked on the order form in 1976 and today the bright yellow hatchback shows only 7500 miles on the odometer. However, the Cosmo on the end is the car that ushered in the era of lightweight rotary powered sports cars from Japan back in 1967.
The first thing you see after descending the sterilized white staircase leading down to the Basement is the gorgeous Mazda RX-7 GTO, wearing the eye catching ARTNATURE blue and yellow livery. The RX-7 GTO ran in the 1994 24 Hours of LeMans.