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Mazda Furai concept burns in Top Gear's hands

Wed, 11 Sep 2013

It's the 20th anniversary of Top Gear -- the magazine anyway -- and as it celebrates its 20th anniversary, the magazine has copped to the destruction of the Mazda Furai concept, which caught on fire while in its possession an unspecified length of time ago. "The 20th anniversary collectors" edition of BBC Top Gear magazine…reveals a host of until-now untold secrets," says a statement from the magazine's publisher, "including the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of Mazda's astonishing Furai concept (hint: it involves the East Anglia fire service)."

Well, that sucks. Look at that picture above! Hard to look at, isn't it? Maybe just half of the car burned, and the Furai turned into Harvey Dent's ride of choice. That Batmobile could use some competition.

But chances are pretty slim.

"Forgive us, for we have sinned," said "Top Gear is responsible for the untimely demise of the quite remarkable Mazda Furai Concept, and we're very, very sorry. Find out how [if that picture hasn't clued you in...] in our bumper anniversary issue, and try not to hate us too much."

The Furai concept had a three-rotor engine that churned out 450 hp, courtesy of bioethanol. It was paired to the chassis of a Courage C65 endurance racer, designed to "bridge that gap" between race cars and supercars "like no car has ever done before," said then-chief designer Franz von Holzhausen. Top Gear last drove the Furai in 2008, briefly; no word on when the actual fire happened (we are still awaiting a statement from Mazda).

Furai represented the epitome of von Holzhausen's Nagare styling: that goofy smiley face from the Miata and Mazda3 translated into subtle, beautiful, swooping aggression.

Well, there's none of that anymore. The Furai's trial by fire symbolizes, in some way, the official death of Nagare, smiley faces and all that, replaced as it is by a new chief designer and a new design language. Like a Viking funeral, Nagare is (officially) dead. Long live Nagare. Long live Top Gear, too -- as long as it doesn't kill any more priceless concept cars.

By Blake Z. Rong