Original-bodied Mazda RX-2 wrecked on Netflix’s Fastest Car

As interest in Japanese cars grow, more and more automotive TV producers are trying to cash in. Top Gear did an episode in Japan, and Fast N’ Loud broke away from their muscle car staples to build a Datsun 280Z. Netflix’s Fastest Car, a show self-described as “Drivers of exotic supercars put their street cred on the line against deceptively fast sleeper cars built and modified by true gearheads,” is the latest, but the results would make any enthusiast cringe. 

You see, one of the cars on the show was Abel Ibarra’s Mazda RX-2. We showcased Ibarra’s collection in 2015 and one of the highlights was his Mazda RX-2, which looks completely stock complete with 70s vinyl roof. It was a sleeper, though, and under the hood was a turbocharged 13B. Sadly, it doesn’t look like this any more. The Instagram account of the Vintage Japanese Motor Union, a car club based in southern California, describes what happened. Sensitive readers may want to avert their eyes.

We are sure most of you all watched the Fastest Car on Netflix. We thought this was a great idea to pit Super Cars against us gear heads in a heads up race. Once we got word that Abel Ibarra would be representing the Vintage Japanese Sleeper we were excited to see him in action. If you don’t know Abel Ibarra just know he is one of the first  to put the US on the map for import racing. @flacorx8 is a NHRA hall of fame member and a grassroots builder that made his mark with the community  before all the big sponsors came on board.  We all have been patiently waiting to see him in competition and this was going to be his big break back onto the scene.  Abel agreed to bring out his all original Rx2 which was a true sleeper being that it was his daily driver. The stage was set and Abel’s back story shows his passion for racing and the grassroots community as a whole. It saddens us to see the damage to this prestine car and even more upset that Abel will have to shelf it as he does not have the funds to fix the damage sustained in the filming.  We started this campaign to bring the car community together to help a real racer get back in the game as he has helped countless people get their rides up and going!!!! #VJMU . ** GoFundMe Link is in our Bio ** .

A post shared by Vintage Japanese Motor Union (@vintagejapanesemotorunion) on

On the show, producers pitted Abel’s RX-2 against the White Zombie, a Datsun 1200 converted to electric power, in a drag race. Spoiler alert: the Datsun veers into Ibarra’s RX-2, crunching the fender and nose. Both drivers were unhurt, but the same could not be said for our hearts.

It’s a gut-wrenching fate for a car described as original bodied, but there’s a GoFundMe campaign to rebuild the car. Ibarra was one of the stars of import drag racing in the early years of the Tuner Era and knows a thing or two about the strip, but sadly experience can’t fully account for the mistakes of others.

We’ve heard many horror stories about people using their prized cars for filming, only to return with damage. The truth is, in most cases you have to sign away any liability, and driving on film isn’t like driving alone. Yes, there’s the allure of getting your car on film, but there are long days, exhaustion, lack of food and water, and many moving parts to the production. The objective of the producers is, first and foremost, getting the footage within the allotted time and budget, not protecting your car. Something to think about before agreeing to put your baby on film.

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14 Responses to Original-bodied Mazda RX-2 wrecked on Netflix’s Fastest Car

  1. Mike in Long Beach said:

    I remember reading about Abel years ago. He and others in the community sparked my own interest in tuner imports. In addition, I’ve had a soft spot for rotary powered Mazdas since I first learned about the RX-2 and RX-3 in Car and Driver back in the 70s. So I was really excited when the opening of one episode teased not one but two Japanese nostalgics,including Abel’s RX-2. I can’t say I was shocked when something went wrong and both cars were damaged. In fact I had been surprised that there had not been more carnage in earlier episodes, given the show’s four-up quarter mile race format.

    Still, the wreck left a knot in my stomach, which only got worse when I found out that Abel was on his own when it came to repairing the damage. Maybe worse was the fact that the all-original shell of the RX would never be all original again. I immediately started thinking about a crowd funded project to at least restore the RX to its former beauty. Google found several forums on the subject and all included the same idea. Glad to see someone followed through. I now have a place where I can donate a few bucks to this worthwhile project.

  2. Negishi no Keibajo said:

    The allure of the camera has cost so many cars, so many careers and saddest of all, so many lives. In the area of my expertise, I have seen some really assinine behaviour on some of these shows putting lives at risk. Put a camera in front of somebody and you will see somecrazy #|%}}{¥… …and You Tube knows this.

    • Randy said:

      Word of this type of apparently common outcome should go out loud, so that people don’t risk themselves, and their property for their 15 minutes of fame.

      That car you inherited from your grandparents, that they took care of for DECADES, is just another prop to the multi-million dollar productions, like a suit on a rack… Never mind the sentimental value it had to you, and the YEARS you may have put into it’s restoration, etc.

      They want a classic car, they can check their back lot somewhere. What? They ran out of them? Sucks to be them; let ’em reproduce one.

  3. pete240z said:

    I’m not the brightest guy here – why isn’t Netflix covering this loss? What am I missing here?

  4. MikeRL411 said:

    Many years ago I responded to a “Early Japanese cars wanted” for a movie in southern California. The fact that my RL411 was a functional, and had an automatic transmission for the Dorks who could not figure out a manual transmission excited the production team. But then, they decided that my Datsun did not look ratty enough for them. So, my RL411 survived the dubious skills of an amateur stunt driver and the years of court action to rebuild after some unpaid yahoo wrecker it.

  5. Dandy said:

    This makes me wish there was some kind of organization to help curb how many classic cars keep getting wrecked and abused by Hollywood. There is a finite number of these beautiful machines in the world and they need to stop throwing them around like there is an endless supply.

  6. Savant Young said:

    Thanks for the support fellas!!! #VJMU

  7. Cho said:

    Reality TV destroy all,even cars,

  8. The real E. Von Braun said:

    I lent my one-of-a-kind time machine to the producers of the film, “Back to the Future”…
    BIG MISTAKE.

  9. r100guy said:

    Some good lessons to be learned here. Like many others here who have loaned their cars to others for promotion, the owner of the classic usually “takes it in the shorts”. Loaned my car out once and will never do it it again.
    If you do decide to participate in something like the Netflix show, hire an attorney and buy the appropriate insurance. There are no short cuts here, you have to protect your interests. When something goes wrong, you’ll have no friends.
    Lets hope that John Wayland (the owner of the Datsun) does the right thing and makes a sizable donation to the rebuilding of the RX2. He is ultimately at fault for not maintaining control of his car and causing the accident. The production company of the Nextflix episode
    should also do the same.

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