The MX-5 isn’t the only Mazda performance car to be blessed with myriad special editions - the RX-8 had its fair share too. The Nemesis, The Spirit-R, the 40th Anniversary; there were loads of ‘em. One stands above all the rest for us, though: the PZ.
These aren’t as well known as some of the other limited-run cars since they were exclusive to the UK market, but if you do live here and are seeking out an RX-8, the PZ is worth seeking out. Why? Because the ‘P’ stands for Prodrive.
The legendary UK motorsports firm, arguably most famous for its long line of Subaru rally cars, were tasked with giving the RX-8 a bit of an overhaul in the mid-noughties, just as it did a few years later with the lardy Alfa Romeo Brera V6. And like that Alfa project, the chassis was the main focus, with the 1.3-litre two-rotor ‘Renesis’ engine left alone, save the fitting of a new exhaust system.
Prodrive added Bilstein dampers with Eibach springs, lowering the ride height by 15mm while bumping up the spring rate by 60 per cent. Completing the new stance was a set of OZ 10-spoke wheels, hence the ‘Z’ bit of the name. To complement the handling tweaks, a new rear wing went on, and Prodrive even fiddled with the shape of the wing mirrors to reduce drag.
It’s not too hard to identify one of these. There’s a PZ badge on the boot lid, another on one side of the wing, and a Prodrive logo on the other along with a set of natty Prodrive centre caps on those OZ wheels. For all that, Mazda charged £25,995 when the car went on sale during the summer of 2006, an increase of £3700 over the standard RX-8.
Production was capped at a relatively high 800 units, meaning there are a fair few out there. We spotted one up for online auction on Collecting Cars, looking awfully dapper in ‘Galaxy Grey’ (you could also spec ‘Brilliant Black’). It hasn’t been used a whole lot in its 14 and a bit years on Earth, currently showing 25,962 miles on the clock.
It’s said to have an “excellent service history on record, with numerous invoices in the file,” and other than the odd blemish the PZ looks to be in great condition. It passed its most recent MOT only a few weeks ago with the only advisories being a loose offside mirror and worn/old tyres, with the latter since fixed via a fresh set of boots.
Bidding is currently at £1334 at the time of writing with six days left on the auction (ending on Tuesday evening). Despite the low mileage figure, we’re expecting this to finish at a thoroughly reasonable price. A couple of leggier PZs are currently on Autotrader, priced at £2480 and £3499.