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SevenStock 5 Wrapup
Submitted by SuperUser on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 12:06pm

After last years SevenStock4 event, the organizers thought it would be tough to improve upon the event, however SevenStock5 was bigger and better than even their expectations. The SevenStock event, in just it's 5th year, has grown from a little BBQ held at a local Southern California park, to a Mazda backed tribute to rotary powered vehicles. The event has more than doubled every year. Starting out as a 20-car event at SevenStock1, to 40 at the 2nd event, SevenStock3 grew to 80.

With SevenStock4, Mazda and became involved in the planning; as a result 300 cars packed the Mazda R&D studios in Irvine, Ca. The food vendor ran out of food, twice... It was estimated that over 2000 people came to the 2001 event. With SevenStock5 being later in the year, there was more time to get the word out, as a result SevenStock5 doubled attendance. The gates open at 9:30am, by 10:30am, 420 cars filled every available space at the main event. All others were directed to park in the overflow lots. The final headcount of people was just over 4000.

At 11:30 the Charlie Hughes president of Mazda kicked off the main event by introducing two very special guests. The first was SevenStock4 alumni Koby Kobayakawa, back for more rotary spirit, and the second was an original Mazda rotary engine engineer, Kazuo Takada, who started working at Mazda in 1946. He was one of the "47 rotary engineers," named after the legendary 47 Samurai warriors in Ako in the Tokugawa period. With Koby translating, Takada told the story of rotary engine development at Mazda, from the early 60's through the 70's. He was sure that he could succeed if he worked with Yamamoto, the father of the Mazda Rotary. Takada explained the many struggles to overcome with the rotary engine, like the chatter marks or "devils' scratches" that appeared on the early designs. It was their "never give up" attitude that made the rotary engine successful, as they overcame all the obstacles.

After Takada-san's speech, the courtyard was opened, for the music of SevenStock to begin, the firing of the race engines. From Abel Iberra's 2 and 3 rotor drag cars, to the Racingbeat Bonneville land speeder, to the various other Mazda rotor racers in the courtyard. These cars were so loud, the sound could be felt through the chest and into the lungs. It was an awesome display of raw rotary power.

New for SevenStock5, there were three technical seminars with some of the top vendors in the rotary community. Starting with Rob Golden from Pineapple Racing out of Portland, Or. Rob discussed the importance of having a good rotary engine builder. He fielded questions about the specifics of getting a rotary into the high horsepower range. Next up was Ari Yallon and special guest Abel Iberra, speaking about the ins- and-outs of drag racing. From staging, to shifting, to the weak points of the RX-7, they covered it very well, and fielded questions like pros. Last on the schedule was Jim Hagerty and Wayne Graham of Mariah Motorsports and Rotary Engineering (respectively) addressing club and track racing. They emphasized the balance of the entire car as a whole, integrating systems so no one part is too strong, nor to weak. They explained ways to get started in road racing, by first joining a crew working tracks, then moving onto racing.

While these events were going on, so was the display of the 420+ rotary cars. From the very first rotary powered Mazda, the Cosmo 110s, to the very last, the FD3s RX-7 Spirit-R done in left hand drive just for the US, everything was represented. Mazda even found a very very rare and sexy RX-78 Luce from Japan, featuring the only front wheel drive rotary, the 13A. This car was still under restoration. R100s, RX-2s, RX-3s, RX-4, RX-5s, REPU's and all generations of RX-7s were shown off. There were even some rotary-swaps done in cars like a Porsche, a Mazda B2200 Truck, Lotus 7s, and even a concept from PIM that had 2 13b rotary engines mounted side-by-side in the rear.

Saturday's daytime event wound down with the raffle. 25 rotary vendors donated prizes to the raffle. Many people walked away happy that their $3 ticket won them a prize. After the raffle was over, it was time to move on to the happy hour at the Irvine Hilton. This was the first time those that have been communicating on the Internet for years had met face-to-face. Peter Farrell and other rotary vendors were in attendance, and chatting away with enthusiasts, talking about the day's events, and all things Mazda and rotary.

The banquet, after happy hour, was filled to capacity. After dinner, Koby-san treated the attendees to a 15-minute presentation, a TV show from Japan called ProjectX. He translated the show, which gave a history of Mazda, and what the 47 rotary engineers went through to make the Wankel Rotary work. Takada-san was invited up on stage for a question/answer session. Many good questions were asked, and the healthy 79 year old answered them with passion, as Koby translated to and from Japanese. The attendees were then shown two very special videos, one about the Spirit-R RX-7, and another from the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca with Mazda's zoom-zooming around the track, negotiating the corkscrew with ease. Thus concluded the main day of SevenStock.

Sunday, Racingbeat, the Mazda tuner in business since 1971, opened their shop, warehouse, and offices to the rotary enthusiasts. They gave tours of their facility, and showed off their operation. David Canitz from Royal Purple gave a tech seminar about how it is OK to run synthetics in Rotary Engines, so long as in non-turbo cars, the oil filter is changed every 2500 miles, and oil is changed every 10,000 miles. In Turbo cars, the oil should be changed every 2500 miles, along with the filter.

Around noon, Koby-san and Takada-san arrived, and met with the founders of Racingbeat Takayuki Oku and Jim Mederer. Koby had met them first in the early 1970's and knew they would be successful. However, for Takada, this was his first trip to the US, let alone to Racinbeat. Jim and Takada soon found themselves talking about the specifics of high-power rotary engine design. The event finished with a raffle of Racingbeat items, and SevenStock was concluded.

Many months of hard work went into the planning of this event. Thanks go out to the entire board and volunteers of the Southern California RX-7 Club for their professional even coordination, parking control, and behind the scenes action. Thanks to for providing the website and marketing promotion. Praise should also go out to all the vendors that showed their support. And finally, to Mazda. Mazda is proving time and time again that they understand the enthusiasts, in fact most of them are car and rotary enthusiasts themselves. Without Mazda, this event would not have happened.

Check out some of the 150 digital photos we took. Most are raw, off the camera, with little to no processing.
Photos Provided by: Andrew Ghali ( , Dan Mazzella (, and Dave Gibson (

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No title supplied
No Rotor
December 31, 1969 - 4:00pm
Incredible, one way cool long day!

Well, I'd been talking it up for weeks after hearing about a car show at Rotary central, about rotaries for rotaries and hosted by rotornerds - I meant rotor heads.
The event was well planned as this was their fifth event; not without some problems, however. One press photographer had his camera come up 'not there' after we were told to leave them with a security guard to view a prototype RX8 which was as much rivets and sheet metal, but we got the idea. Lastly some low life wanted Dana's wheelcovers more than he thought Dana might and took them!

But the day there was fantastic! If you can imagine all 400 something rotary car entrants and an estimated 4000 enthusiastic people, with seminars by rotary gurus on engine rebuilding and Drag strip pros giving out their secrets for launches off the line etc. Beautiful R100 coupes, RX2, RX3, RX4, REPUs all RX7,and triple rotortransplants!

This was an event at which Mazda really had fun themselves as well as contributing to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. They displayed their top pride and joys in a special courtyard surrounded by high walls and proceeded to start them and rev them sky high one by one, and the master of ceremonies described the cars such as 9, 8 and 7second drag cars, Racing Beat's 250 plus Bonneville flats car, a 1968 - yes, a 1968 COSMO rotary coupe in fantastic condition. These were the first rotaries not exported yet and..... and....a fine example of an unrestored early Suzuki Rotary RE5 driven into the courtyard by Marie. Well, I could do no wrong all day, what a hit.

The happy Hour and banquet seated nearly 200 with a talk and question and answer period with a current and retired Mazda engineer brought over from Japan just for us with an interpreter. We sat with guys from Florida and all over the U.S. and the owner of the 68 COSMO who just also has an RE5 at home. The head of the RX8 project is a white non-Japanese car guy like you and me, who showed some (movies) secret. Needless to say I was pretty wound up and just couldn't forget the day.

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