2013 Scion FR-S: Mr. RX-7 Speaks
August 27, 2012
So, am walking through Cars and Coffee with a couple guys from Nissan R&D and here's Koby Kobayakawa, and he calls out to me as if it's perfectly natural to meet a Mazda engineer from Hiroshima just walking around 6,000 miles away in California.
Kobayakawa is the father of the third-generation Mazda RX-7, so maybe it's to be expected that we quickly fall into a conversation about the Scion FR-S, which Koby has just driven in Japan.
When Kobayakawa joined Mazda in 1963, he was a member of the original team that developed the Wankel rotary engine. Later be rose to become the program manager of the RX-7 from 1986 - 1992, and that's when I spent a lot of time with him as he developed the high-tech third-generation RX-7 (an example happened to be at C/C, so our boy S. Sandu from NRD snapped the picture above). He also was the program manager for the Mazda 787B that won the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans, moved on to be the head of Mazda R&D in the U.S. and then became Mazda North America Operation's vice president of product planning and design.
Koby still drives a fair amount of cars, so he quickly reviews the things that he likes about the FR-S -- the lively engine, crisp shift linkage, responsive handling and poised ride. He doesn't care much for the look of the interior, though. And the exterior doesn't have much personality.
But finally it comes to us both that we're both talking about all the things that made the first Mazda RX-7 such an important car when it was introduced in 1978. Not too big, not too ambitious, but also not too expensive. It worked out great for the first-generation Mazda RX-7, so maybe it'll work out great for the Scion FR-S.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com