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1986 Tiga 287 T-Lite

This Tiga GT285.287 T-Light car was first owned by Essex Racing. It is powered by a Mazda 13B engine. Essex Racing's history dates back to 1979 when the company was formed in Essex, Connecticut. Their primary purpose was to import rare and high quality racing parts and cars from Europe. By 1983, the company had moved operations to Atlanta, Georgia; in 1992 a second sister company was formed called Essex Parts Services to handle the booming parts business.

Essex has a history in Sports Car and Formula Car Racing. When Stock Car Racing began to grow in popularity, many European manufacturers began building parts for the sport, and used Essex as their representative. These companies relied on Essex for their knowledge of the American market, while Essex relied on the European abilities to engineer and manufacturer high quality products.

The Mazda 13B is a rotary 'Wankel' engine commonly found in the Mazda RX-7. The engine had many strengths and many weaknesses. Their primary strength is their superior power to weight ratio, meaning, their is a relatively high amount of power produced from a lightweight unit. This is in comparison to the traditional piston engine. The rotary engine is extremely strong for the amount of horsepower that it can produce, and they run very smoothly. The smooth-running operation is due to the rotary motion rather than the back-and-forth movement of conventional pistons. The other reason is the engine does not have torque reversal.

The rotary engines biggest drawback is the large amount of lubrication the apex seals require. The fuel mileage is often less than the traditional engine.

The Mazda 13B is the most widely produced rotary engine and was available in the United States from 1974 through 1978. It re-appeared in 1984 and used until 2002.


By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2007



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