The Mazda RX-7 has withstood the test of time. It has already been over half a decade since the last "7" left the dealership floor here in America, yet the enthusiasm for the rotary engine is stronger today than when the first twin-turbo seven was sold in the U.S. Today we see many racers and show enthusiasts alike keeping the rotary heritage alive. In the race circuit, rotary legends Abel Ibarra, Ray Lochhead and Ari Yallon have proven that the rotary engine can not only produce power but do well in the heat of competition. On the show scene, the RX-7 is one vehicle that gets great admiration from onlookers because its sleek body lines combined with a F1-style cockpit symbolize what it takes to be a true sports car.
To ensure the rotary heritage doesn't become a distant memory, every year the Southern California RX-7 club and Rotarynews.com join forces to hold their annual Sevenstock event. Already in its fourth year, the 2001 edition was extra special as the Mazda R&D offices in Irvine, Calif. was the official venue. The Sevenstock event gives Mazda enthusiasts', particularly rotary lovers, a chance to represent while mixing and mingling with their fellow compadres. The friendly atmosphere allowed Mazda the opportunity to get to know their fellow customers and get feedback on the company. They were also able to find out what the enthusiasts would like to see come out of Mazda on future vehicles--particularly the RX-8. Spectators and show participants were entertained with many of the top name vendors and manufacturers who came out to display their merchandise. Some of the manufacturers included Racing Beat, XS Engineering, Pettitt Racing, Rotary Performance, 5Zigen, Toyo tires, Dunlop tires and Ziel Motorsports A first for this year was Mazdaspeed division representing alongside the Motorsports division. The highly anticipated Mazdaspeed division will hopefully bring forth new ideas and products for the aftermarket. Along with the preview of the show, race and vendors, Mazda gave general tours of their R&D facility-where ideas turn into reality. But the true highlight of the day was firing up the Le Mans race winner 767B. To rotary diehards it was music to their ears.
A surprise to many was the amount of participants and spectators who came to the event. More than 200 participants competed in the car show while several thousand spectators crowed the parking lots admiring each and every car. Considering the outcome of the Sevenstock event, it is safe to say that rotary power is alive and well. As their war cry goes: "It is better to be a rotary than to be 'pist'-on".