“If you look at the Ferrari 275 GTB or the Ferrari 330, and all those Italian cars through the late 50s, 60s and 70s, they were very pure, very clean and very exciting,” explains Mazda’s design director, Kevin Rice.
“That was the philosophy of Italian design. The modern world is busier and more exciting, but we respect those values of purity and beauty. They were valid then, and – if nobody else wants to do it – we want to resurrect those values,” he adds.
Step forward then, the gorgeous Mazda RX Vision. It was part of the concept car parade at last weekend’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa D’Este, and left as many mouths gaping as it did when it was first unveiled at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show.
Though, Mazda didn’t really expect so much positive attention. “We were overwhelmed with the reaction to the RX Vision,” explains Kevin. “Inside Mazda, we all love the car, but to see the reaction of the people here at Villa – car fanatics of the highest level – and for them to be impressed has kind of shocked us. In a good way.”
So, first things first: when will Mazda do the honourable thing and just build it? Kevin smiles. “We’d love to build it.”
He points to the glamorous setting around him too. “An event like this [Villa D’Este], you’re together with Aston Martins, classic Ferraris and so on, and in a sense, we feel like we’re guests and we don’t really belong.
“But everyone is telling us that it doesn’t matter, because the RX is so beautiful. They say ‘don’t worry about anything, just go and build it’,” he adds.
Of course, the business case is harder, not least because of its potential powertrain. The concept car doesn’t have any running gear – it’s just a design study – but the ‘RX’ bit of its name, as you know, points towards rotary power.
“The height of the bonnet was done specifically to package a certain type of engine,” he says. “Nobody else would have developed the rotary engine. We thought we could get something good out of it, which we did, but we never stopped developing it. We didn’t just leave it with the RX-8.”
Of course, today’s emissions targets are the biggest hurdle to overcome for any future rotary engine, but Mazda is confident it can deliver.
“In the back rooms at Mazda, we’re still developing it, and when the world’s ready to buy another rotary, we’ll be ready to provide it,” he said.
So, Internet, Mazda wants to hear lots of positive noise about the RX Vision. And you can help via the comments below. The online petition to get it built begins here…