The Mazda RX-8 might be headed to the great racetrack in the sky, but Mazda decided last year to let it go out with a bang, making 1000 special edition Spirit R models. This week the company decided to extend the farewell and make 1000 more before the RX-8's production run ends in June 2012.
The Spirit R was conceived as a final edition model of the Mazda RX-8 and sold exclusively in Japan. The cars were available with either manual or automatic transmissions (although Mazda says the manual take rate was some 66 percent), and painted in aluminum metallic, sparkling black mica, or crystal white pearl mica.
The second round of Spirit Rs will look and feel exactly the same as the first, which means they'll have the same special features as the original 1000. Those features include special Recaro seats, 19-inch alloy wheels with bronze paint, a special aerodynamic kit with a revised front fascia and side skirts, and Bilstein dampers.
As for the Spirit R name, it harkens back to the final production run of the late RX-7 sports car, which left the American market in 1995 and ended production in 2002. With the end of the RX-8 Spirit R comes the end of the rotary-powered Mazda, at least for now. Fans of the quirky engines will remember that Mazda officials have hinted that the Renesis rotary engine may make a comeback in the future.
In the meantime, Japanese RX-8 fans should grab $40,277 ($38,666 for the automatic) and run, don't walk to the nearest Mazda dealer. We're guessing the last 1000 Spirit Rs will be sold as quickly as…well, as quickly as they drive.