Mazda Kabura Starts Battle at North American Intíl Auto Show
Mazda has unveiled at the North American International Auto Show a new concept called the "Kabura", which in Japanese, according to International editor Sam Mitani means the first arrow released signaling the start of battle. It has a front-engine, rear-drive compact sports car powered by the MX-5's MZ inline-4 and features a unique 3+1 seating layout.
When looking at the Kabura, the first thing that comes to mind is the RX-7. Mazda executives however have denied in a press release that the Kabura is a design study of the next RX-7.
Some car analysts say Mazda has tried to mislead all of people by putting the MX-5's inline-4 under the Kabura's hood. Because the car is built on essentially the same platform as the RX-8 and the MX-5, they find no reason why a rotary engine won't fit there.
Behind the driver's seat is a small "jump seat", making it a four-seater sportscar. But on the passenger side is a full-scale rear seat. This is made possible by the fact that the front passenger sits six inches forward of the driver. This was done by the elimination of a front glove box and a reduction in the size of the instrument panel.
Another significant feature of the interior is that it's upholstered in regenerated leather substrate. This was provided for Mazda by Sustainable Solutions Inc (SSI), which created the material by recycling Nike trainers. The substrate can be dyed and printed as required, and according to Mazda it appears in the Kabura as "a technical yet inviting material".
The press releases about the Kabura are filled with hints of it being an RX-7, although Mazda was very careful not to mention about it. But perhaps the biggest hint could be in the name "Kabura" itself. When Mazda joined the world's sports-car battle with the Cosmo Sport in the late 1960s, it did so with the rotary engine; therefore, figuratively, Mazda's "Kabura" is the rotary engine. Mazda seems to be getting ready to release that "arrow" again. The only question now is "when?" Sources say we could see a new RX-7 plus its hypertech programmer as early as 2008.
In the U.S., thousands of RX-7 fans attend the Sevenstock event held at Mazda R&D headquarters each year.
About the Author: Hannah Racey is a 35 year old native of Chicago, Ill. She has been a car afficionado since she can remember. She now works for an automotive company based in Detroit, Mi. as a consultant.