Although Mazda will gladly sell sports car buyers an , there's long been something missing from the company's stable: a rotary engine-powered sports car. Following the , and even the Vision Coupe concept, we've held out for the return of something grander from the Japanese automaker. Like a Mazda RX-9.
If we can put just a little faith in a new patent application, it looks like Mazda wants to grant us our wishes.
Japanese publication Motor Magazine first reported last Wednesday on a patent application Mazda filed for a "vehicle shock absorbing structure." The photo depicts a spaceframe-style platform designed to hold the engine behind the front axle. The patent application, filed in Japan, was made public on Sept. 12. While patent applications should often be taken with grains of salt, there's merit to the rear-wheel drive architecture argument.
Foremost, let me remind you Mazda was open about the fact it has a longitudinal engine layout coming. Yes,, and the engine layout lends itself to a rear-wheel drive platform. This patent application also shows off a double-wishbone suspension setup (very prominent for sports cars) and a cross-member that runs parallel to the front axle. That lends itself to a RWD platform as well. Note that the patent image's structural drawing doesn't relate to any other Mazda currently in production.
According to the Japanese magazine, an unnamed source claimed that this patent is, indeed, for an RX-9 sports car. The platform will supposedly be a one-off for the RX-9 sports car, though that is harder to digest than what we can buy into from the patent image alone. It's tough to build low-scale sports cars on dedicated platforms these days -- especially for smaller manufacturers, which Mazda absolutely is. It would make far more sense to share this kind of platform with a more luxurious coupe or sedan.
Of course, this is all unconfirmed for now. Automakers routinely file for patents that never see the light of day. However, combined with prior information, it's not hard to hold out hope for another rotary-powered Mazda sports car. Heck, even a luxurious coupe with an inline-six sounds delightful.
Mazda will celebrate its 100th birthday next year, so maybe, just maybe it plans a surprise to ring in its centennial with us all.