Back to the build and also the blog....Update: Get your glasses on and or be preparded to read this one will be long selecting a few shots to post!
Ok just a quick note on the car I have now picked up my final parts from the panel shop, I will snap some pics in coming weeks as I unwrap the car and get back into wrenching spanners on the thing. Pitman arm still eludes me!! have some cool parts lined up just gotta place a final order once I double check a couple little things. I will get into the car new next update.
Well I like many worked right through the christmas new year period and it being stinking hot here I had a couple of weeks off my build, I was happy to have some time out of the sweaty garage. Although it constantly played on my mind "I should be doing more in the yard and on my car" So I kept up the ebay and online shopping for parts but everyone needs a holiday and this being my first since we bought our house. First since I started my build projects of the yard and car I was well overdue! So it was my time to enjoy being a tourist in a country I love.. destination: JAPAN! and more importantly in the interest of keeping this story auto related THE
Now I should start with some background. A few years ago I lived in Hokkaido Japan on a working holiday visa, so I worked allot and snowboarded on my days off, I did visit the Tokyo motor show and saw the launch of the R35 GTR etc etc I also spotted a couple rare cars like a Madza Cosmo in a panel shop and Hakosukas, early model Evo and Sti's etc. Eventually came home with a heap of awesome memories but a small feeling of loss as I didnt do a few key things and always longed to go back, so this was my chance to really do some bucket list type activities!.
We flew into Osaka and spent a few days there getting our tourist on. The car culture is so strong in japan that five or so minutes walking the street you begin to notice tastefully modified cars everywhere. I also spotted some cars parked in and around the city. At night I could hear the street races from the window of our hotel room and wished I could find the action.
After a day or three we then boarded a Shinkansen (bullet train) and headed to Hiroshima, happy times as this was something I had wanted to do! 300km/h here we come.. it was so smooth it puts our local 60km/h trains to shame!
Hiroshima is so deep in history that I think if you went there and werent moved by the stories of this city then something is wrong!! Apart from war history Hiroshima is the home of Mazda and a fairly industrial city, the mazda plant is simply huge!!! We... ok, I will admit.. I
booked a Mazda museum tour for my partner and I the moment we decided to go to japan again.. so about 10 months prior to the trip!! yes you could say I was keen to go......
She wasnt so excited but I convinced her by saying its only 90mins of your life, but she too came away with a new appreciation for the cars and brand. Afterall she does too own a Mazzy 323 Sp20!
The factory tour is guided and kept on a tight timetable, you cant just wander through at your own pace unfortunately but I still managed to snap a good load of pics to keep me satisfied for years to come. It was an experience for a JNC enthusiast to see, and a dream for this mazda head to go to the home of the cars I have grown up owning, driving and dreaming of!
The tour started with some history of the company and its vision for the future..
We then were led into the history room.. the holy grail?? the place I dreamed to see, and it was spectacular.. Some will get all negavtive and say oh they didnt have this car or where is that, but I have a feeling they do have one of every model car but they are kept else where under wraps and rotated in and out of the museum to keep the place changing and fresh or maybe tidied up and restored or swapped out for cars needed in displays elsewhere in Japan.. To me however it was awesome. I guess I hoped it was this huge huge shed with all of mazdas automobilia set out to see, but instead they select a few key models and display them for you to walk up and touch, but not sit in...
This limited range on display really made it all seem more special and important as it was the cars they felt you needed to see and appreciate their place in the mazda story.
The moment that stopped me in my tracks and made me say WOW
the le man champ
In my research of the museum I had seen photos of a disected Rx8 but its been replaced by the Cx5 (car of the year)
cut down and set out for you to see how it goes together, and as the Skyactive engine is the newest thing on the mazda plate so its display was quite large , the new 6 featured heavily and we then are told no cameras and are taken into the production line, on this line they make nearly all models in one line, as the cars came through the worker fitting dash boards fitted up a 2, then a mx5 then followed by a white delivery style van back to a 2 then a 3. This multi model production line was noted that it is mazdas pride that they can make cars by order or in a variety of models not just pump out one model and the switch to another when its discontinued or have seperate plants for each car. I had a giggle as in my home town they make Holden or GM cars and I think the switching of car types mid line would be difficult to handle for our slower northern suburbs folk who normally staff the plant.
One room was purely about the Rotary engine itself. The displayed many variants. I noted that they were missing a display 12aT
I didnt mind, just makes them ever rarer.
this shows how early they had considered 1, 2 and three rotor designs
One cool thing I noticed was the display for the next gen Rotary which will be soley hydrogen powered from what I could understand. They displayed the engine and a test rx8 also a Premacy van! Either way the plenum setup and throttle body looks damn sweet. It featured an electric assist turbo that seemed quite large, so I hope this goes into production..
Other interesting facts the factory employs a large chunk of the total local residents of Hiroshima, The mazda plant has its own self contained generation power station and the size of the grounds basically covers the whole coastal area, parts were built and expanded on reclaimed land dredged from the sea, they built and own the biggest private bridge in the world to cross between the factory sheds and wharehouses. The harbour where cars are loaded is massive, and still very similar to the shot of 70's era cars lined up ready to be shipped.. honestly this place was so extensive is was incredible.
Thanks for reading, I'm trying to get this all in one update so will do a couple edits I have allot of pics.