The Mazda RX-8 went into production in 2003, and the company started a 20th anniversary celebration for the model in Japan on July 22 running through the end of August. Showing off the unique RX-8 convertible is a highlight of the festivities. People can see it at the Mazda Brand Space Osaka.
Mazda never put an RX-8 convertible on sale. It's not clear how the roof fits on this car. There's a massive roll bar in the place usually for the B-pillar. The photos suggest that the piece is taller than the windshield. There are also tiny nacelles behind the rear seats. The cabin features a mix of red and black leather.
Mazda's display announcement mentions that visitors need to ask for permission to open the doors or sit in the RX-8 convertible. This suggests it might be possible to get close to the unique car, assuming the folks there accept your request.
The RX-8 convertible debuted in 2008 during a Mazda corporate event (see below). Senior employees stood in it during a parade of the automaker's models.
Gallery: One-off Mazda RX-8 Convertible Shown at Corporate Event
The RX-8 launched for the 2004 model year in the United States. Production began in April 2003. Power came from a two-rotor Wankel engine with a 1.3-liter displacement. It made 238 horsepower and 159 pound-feet of torque with the six-speed manual. The four-speed automatic dropped the output to 197 hp but torque grew to 164 lb-ft. Later in the run, there was a six-speed auto offering 212 hp. The company built the final RX-8 in June 2012.
After the RX-8's demise, Mazda didn't sell a rotary-engine-equipped vehicle for several years. The MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV finally revived the brand using a Wankel engine in a production car but in a very different way than before. The 830-cc powerplant makes 75 horsepower and 86 pound-feet of torque, and it functions as a range extender for the electric crossover's 17.8-kilowatt-hour battery. The setup gives the vehicle a 373-mile range.
Mazda is not offering the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV in the US. In Germany, the model starts at the equivalent of $39,740 (35,990 euros).