NEWS: Mazda Furai destroyed by fire while in Top Gear custody

Mazda Furai burnt

The Mazda Furai is (correction: was) one of the greatest concept cars ever built. After debuting in 2007 it was everywhere. Then it was nowhere, making zero public appearances when the car’s very reason for existence was to make public appearances for Mazda. Now the cause for its sudden disappearance has been revealed by the news outlet that destroyed it. UPDATE below.

Mazda Furai 03

In a teaser for their upcoming 20th anniversary issue Top Gear published today the sad before/after image and the following quote:

The 20th anniversary collectors’ edition of BBC Top Gear magazine… reveals a host of until-now untold secrets – including the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of Mazda’s astonishing Furai concept (hint: it involves the East Anglia fire service).

In other words, they’ve ruined it.

Mazda Furai 05

We’ve been petulantly demanding our contacts at Mazda to let see the Furai for years now, and have always received sheepish answers. “I think it’s in Japan,” they lied, once. Now the truth is out. It apparently caught fire and burned to a crisp while Top Gear was driving it, and now Top Gear wants to sell magazines with the news:

Top Gear was present for the untimely demise in 2008 of the quite remarkable Mazda Furai Concept. Find out how (if that picture hasn’t clued you in…) in our bumper anniversary issue.

Mazdafarians, it’s time to pick up your pitchforks. Your bridge-ported, rotary-powered pitchforks. Hear the Furai’s wail one last time in the video below.

UPDATE: The Top Gear issue in question has been released. Here’s a summary of the full story.

Photos courtesy of Mazda.

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31 Responses to NEWS: Mazda Furai destroyed by fire while in Top Gear custody

  1. Ryan said:

    Oh fuck you Top gear. what more can I say…..

  2. David Shafer said:

    Good job top gear…good fuckin’ job…smh

  3. Tom Westmacott said:

    Come on – it’s terrible news, but surely blaming Top Gear is taking things a bit far? It’s a concept/prototype, and a rotary-powered one at that, it must be far more likely that it caught fire due to a problem with the car, (eg loose fuel or oil line) than that Top Gear carelessly set it alight by being stupid.

    The great thing about Top Gear is that they use their clout to get hold of the unobtainable and drive it hard for the cameras, and this is the downside of doing so.

    (If it does transpire that they were careless or reckless, though, I’ll be joining you with the pitchforks! But I doubt it.)

  4. Lupus said:

    Top Gear sqad IS reckless. They don’t treat cars with care. Pushing machines to the limits is one, but senslessly pounding them is something different. Sometimes when i watch TG i feel like i’ve been watching some of these stupid car mayhems done be bored kids on YT…

    • URDUNSON said:

      I have to agree with you on this, Top Gear always pushes cars to it’s breaking point which actual owners will never do… Shame on them for doing this to a one of kind vehicle car in the world.

  5. Raife said:

    Doesn’t its disappearance coincide with their studio fire a few years back. Where arsonists burnt it down…

    • Murcie said:

      Nope, they had the Furai in the studio the season after their studio fire, intact but, according to Jeremy Clarkson “broken.”

      Season 10 they had the studio fire, the Furai was introduced Season 11 Episode 6 directly preceding the clip of Hammond in the Gumpert Apollo.

  6. This was the best damn concept car ever built. and it sounded absolutely awesome. so sad.. so sad….i somehow still dream about a new rx-7 based on the furai concept. one of the coolest cars ever built and with some pretty cool technical stuff too

  7. Dave said:

    Ugh. Those idiots.

  8. DerrickS said:

    Yeah, it was rotary powered, so you should have expected it to end this way… The only way to set a car on fire faster is to drop the rotary into a Ferrari..

    • dankan said:

      I think the two objects would spontaneously combust just being next to each other. I don’t think you could get the rotary into said pony before they both were charcoal…

  9. invinciblejets said:

    Top gear need to go back to ruining Morris minor and leave real cars alone they should know better lol……why has this news been hid away for 5 years

  10. Toyotageek said:

    Accidents happen, but I agree this sucks.
    Why hush-hush and tight lipped about this until now?
    Why does TG get to all of a sudden make an announcement and release the ‘secret’ (shouldn’t Mazda be the one – it was their car).
    Was Mazda covering up for TP? If they were, why?
    IMHO this is something that Mazda should have disclosed and not left to some publication so they could toot their own horn (TP almost seems proud of their news scoop).
    Both sides deserve to have their wrists slapped, especially TP for strutting like a hen-house cock and having such a cocky attitude about it (just going by the above quotes; I haven’t read the mag or article).

    I would like to see JNC provide some better coverage on this news though. Time for some investigative reporting! :-)

  11. Dave said:

    My understanding is that Top Gear is pretty much the opposite of the the *bumbling idiot* persona they give off in the show. I heard/read that their production people are very cautious and tend to control things very tightly. The secrecy here may be an extension of that; there may be some kind of disclosure issues between them and Mazda that led to Mazda being tight-lipped about it. Or maybe it was for insurance reasons. It’s also not good PR for Mazda to announce one of their most loved show cars burnt to a crisp while in Top Gear’s custody; having something you made caught on fire is not good, plus they don’t want to sound like they’re blaming Top Gear. Regardless, it’s unfortunate and annoying. I do remember the iTunes description of one episode mentioning them driving the Furai and always wondered about that.

  12. Geoff said:

    Best comments i’ve seen so far (Jalopnik)
    “Figure out what material that wing is made of”
    and this one’s exactly how i feel today

    Mazda’s fault? Top Gear has already admitted “fault” though I’m curious to see what happened. I’m sure its a bit of a shared responsibility. I highly doubt Mazda handed them the keys and said “Give ‘er!” with no safety check or oversight. Plus I have faith that the peeps behind TG know what they’re doing.

    My guess? Its that one-year-old fuel pulsation dampener! the demise of 99% of rotary fires! I swear those things are like condoms – only good for single-use :D (Just kidding! But not really.)

  13. Spike Spiegel said:

    How much do you want to bet clarksson is responsible for this furai frying??

  14. Victor said:

    Top Gear is not to blame, Mazda is. Why didn’t it have a fire suppression system, after all if the worlds fastest drag rotaries have them onboard, wouldn’t you think a one off piece of rolling art would too.

  15. j3wman said:

    Listen all i say is we all buy plane tickets, go to the isle of man, abduct Jeremy Clarkson, take him to the Genbaku Dome in Hiroshima and ritualistically behead, sacrifice and eat him in the name of Ahura Mazda.

  16. acbpanda said:

    R.I.P Furai, the wonderful car burnt to a crisp, god bless it.

  17. J_C said:

    The Furai was in their studio in the 07/27/2008 broadcast, where they said the engine was broken. Then Top Gear magazine’s October 2008 issue has the Stig drive it around their track, so I’m guessing it happened around then.

    Maybe those flashy vents didn’t expel enough heat? The RX-792P GTP car burned up a couple times before they added a hundred cut outs.

  18. BLCFR said:

    The article states that a Mazda factory driver was behind the wheel and that the fire started in the engine bay.

    “As Ticehurst begins to slow for the turn and drops through the gears, things start to go wrong. The Furai is making a noise less Le Mans racer and more… fatally wounded elephant.”

  19. Beans said:

    You break you replace? Are TG not insured…? If I was the mazda boss I’d be Furai-ous and want them to pay for a new one. ;)

  20. URDUNSON said:

    I wish to know how TG used improper fuel which was the cause of engine fire. I would also like to know in what kind of right mind would they not have their safety crew standing by in case of fires like this??? Their safety crew was no where near the Furai when it occurred, by the time they arrived the car was engulfed in flames… If you are truly testing the car out wouldn’t they bring an extinguisher? wtf… there is no excuse for this, the favor is also not on TG side especially b/c they were hiding this story for 5 years and asking for mercy towards the fans not to hate them…

  21. yoda said:

    At least they didn’t drop a piano on it.

  22. stephen said:

    idiots that are likely fans of one of the BEST televised car shows around are so quick to turn ship and blast our best outlet for automotive entertainment. twats

  23. pedro said:

    Leave it to the British to find a self-destruct button On the Mazda. lol No seriously it’s a shame to lose a one-of-a-kind piece of art like this.

  24. Racetwin2 said:

    I have always loved the sound of the 4 rotor rotary engine. All the time since I first heard the legendary 787 b Le Mans racer. However – one of the best video clips I have seen with on board cam/sound is this one. The hair will stand up on your arms. So raw and unsofisticated. Love it. Just listen.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YMcE-01sJs

  25. Luiggi Reyes said:

    YOU HAD ONE JOB TOP GEAR!!! GONE FOREVER! REST IN PEACE IN ROTARY HEAVEN FURAI!