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At $9,999, Will This 1979 Mazda RX-7 Survivor Survive Our Scrutiny?

The seller of today’s Nice Price or No Dice RX-7 is looking to cull a car collection, and this Mazda has to go. Let’s figure out if that collector’s loss could be someone else’s gain.

Life is full of little risks. One such gamble is the increasingly less remote chance that the tuna sushi you’re about to eat is crazy-full of parasitic worms. Then there’s the option to buy yesterday’s 1999 Porsche Boxster for just $3,500. Yes, that’s a super cheap price for any Boxster that isn’t on fire or full of the aforementioned sushi worms.

The risk may be real, but a cheap Porsche is a cheap Porsche, and any threat of future financial disaster is surely masked by the attraction an obtainable Boxster teases. That siren song engendered fully 67 percent of you to award the cheap Porsche with a Nice Price win. Now, back to that sushi. I recommend lots of wasabi.

Sushi and its sibling sashimi are delicacies that originated in Japan. Another wonderful invention of the island nation is Mazda’s RX-7. That small sports car debuted in the late 1970s and carried its Wankel motor and sporting pretensions through fully three generations and nearly a quarter-century of production.

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This 1979 Mazda RX-7 hails from the first generation and appears to be a true time capsule of a car, looking much as it did when it rolled off the boat. Heck, I’d even expect each of the coins in the console to have been minted pre-Reagan administration to seal the experiential deal.

The car is claimed to be part of a collection, but apparently not that collector’s pride and “bury-me-in-it” joy. It’s offered now with a mere 68,264 miles under its beltline.

For those of you born after the fact, the original RX-7 — sometimes referred to as the “SA” for its internal code — rocked a 100-horsepower edition of Mazda’s 1146cc two-rotor 12A Wankel engine. In this car, that’s paired with a five-speed stick. As is the case with all first-gen cars, power is sent back to a simple coil-sprung live rear axle.

The car is painted in what appears to be factory silver, and that is matched with a black vinyl cabin and cool Cromodora-like factory alloy wheels. It looks pretty tidy, although there are few boogers on the bodywork. Notably, there’s some minor chipping on the front bumper and what appears to be a small but obvious scrape on the hood next to one of the pop-up headlamps. The only other obvious aesthetic issue is a dealer plaque on the back end.

The ad states that the interior “looks like it just rolled out of the dealership,” and the pictures bear out that claim. Everything looks to be in as-new shape right down to the crack-free dash and factory Clarion stereo.

The ad does not delve into the car’s mechanical condition, not even offering us a peek under the hood. As we all are aware, Mazda’s early rotaries had issues with their apex seals. That’s less of a problem these days with modern replacement parts, but updating does require pulling and completely disassembling the engine.

There’s also no word on consumables like the tires. Those, by the way, are 185/70R13s that have fully five inches of sidewall making up nearly half their overall diameter. If that’s not a throwback I don’t know what is.

Perhaps less of a throwback is the Mazda’s $9,999 price. That’s half again what the car cost when new. You’d still be hard-pressed to find another one in as close to new condition as this one appears to be.

What do you think, is this clean and clean-titled RX-7 worth that $9,999 asking? Or, does this old school rotary require a new spin on that price?

You decide!

Reno, Nevada, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Noah Silverman for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at [email protected] and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Car BuyingNice Price or No Dice

Sours: https://jalopnik.com/at-9-999-will-this-1979-mazda-rx-7-survivor-survive-o-1846057468

Why aren’t 1979-85 Mazda RX-7s worth more?

Mention Mazda, and most people immediately recall the million-selling Miata MX-5 roadster, built for the last 26 years. But the company hit a home-run 20 years earlier with the rotary engine RX-7, greatly improving on Felix Wankel’s design. It was so successful that the four-rotor Mazda 787B won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991—the only Japanese car company to do so.

Co-developed with NSU, a German company, the rotary’s survival was far from certain. Mazda built the Cosmo 110 rotary coupe from 1967-72 but only sold 1,176 units. But in 1971 the company pinned its future on R100 and RX-2 coupes, following up with RX3 coupes, sedans, wagons, and even pickups in 1972. But engine failures required constant factory replacements, as Mazda struggled to develop durable apex seals (like piston rings, but for a rotary). Meanwhile the 1973 gas crisis threatened the model’s survival, as the engine was also thirsty. By 1978, their economical GLC 4-cylinder hatchback was all that kept the company afloat.

However Mazda President Kenichi Yamamoto remained a believer, and launched the Savanna rotary sports coupe in Japan in 1978. The Savanna debuted in the U.S. a year later as the RX-7. It had the 100 bhp 1146-cc 12A engine from the RX-3, and a stylish two-seater body, with pop-up headlights.

The fragile apex seals were improved, and gas mileage in later models jumped from the original 12-15 mpg to more than 20 mpg. Best of all, Mazda rotary engines proved durable and mileages of 250,000 are quite common, especially using synthetic oil.

Air conditioning and a sunroof were offered, with a sizeable hatchback. Headroom was somewhat restricted, but in the U.S. Mazda wisely eliminated the laughably small “plus two” seats fitted in Europe and Japan. Coil spring suspension was combined with front disc brakes, five-speed transmission and a live rear axle, located by trailing links. The RX-7 was good for 0-60 in 8.5 seconds and 115 mph, and the engine proved quiet and reliable. At $6,995, it was a bargain.

Transistor ignition appeared in 1979, and clunky bumpers were streamlined in 1981, when the fuel tank was enlarged and the dash redesigned. Standard S and GS models were joined in 1981 by the top-line GSL, with four-wheel disc brakes, alloy wheels, limited slip differential, and power windows. The final variation was the GSL-SE of 1984, with signature alloy wheels, the fuel-injected, 135 bhp, 1308cc 13B motor, and top speed of 125 mph. The maximum price had risen to $15,295, but comparable cars cost more.

Mechanically, the RX-7 has few inherent problems, save a rather weak second gear synchro, and an inadequate power-steering pump, which is best avoided. But fuel-injected parts for the GSL-SE are difficult to find, and the oil cooler for that model is different from the carbureted car.

Mazda rotary engines have raced competitively for 45 years. They dominated the GTU class in IMSA, and challenged Corvettes and Porsches in GTO. They remain strong GT3 contenders at SCCA runoffs, and the 2016 national points champion, Gary Bockman of Portland, Ore., only missed winning the GT3 title due to U-joint failure on the penultimate lap. In 1990, the same car won the GT3 championship in the hands of fellow Portlander Don Walker. Bockman will be back.

In all, 474,565 of the compact first-generation RX-7s were sold and just like the Miata, a robust survival rate has kept prices reasonable. Engine, gearbox, brakes, and suspension proved durable and bodies rust-resistant. The only problem for collectors is finding skilled rotary mechanics. Depending on use, collectible cars eventually require engine rebuilds, and a quick glance at the mystifying shop manual confirms that none of your tools (or basic knowledge) will help.

Prices for sound RX-7s range from $2,500 to about $4,000, though low-mileage examples are heading for $10,000. Due to their reliability and sporting qualities, low-mileage cars are very rare, which explains the price variance. But 150,000 mile cars still promise lengthy service, and wrecking yards will provide plentiful spares. However NOS parts are more difficult; there are few new cases for 12A carbureted engines, and the much rarer 13B engine cases are practically non-existent. Due to their abundance, don’t expect RX-7s to appreciate dramatically. But if you’re looking for an inexpensive, fun sports car this is a great option.

Hagerty covers all kinds of collector cars, trucks and modified vehicles. Let’s talk about your special ride.

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1979-1985 Mazda RX-7 Buyer's Guide

(Rotary) Power to the People

By the late 1970s, cheap sports cars were a dying breed. The quirky roadsters of the 1950s and '60s were struggling to adapt to a new era of safety and emissions standards they were never designed to meet, saddled with lowered compression, stopgap emissions systems, and hastily tacked-on 5-mph impact bumpers that did nothing for aesthetics or weight. The Datsun 240Z was a brief shining light earlier in the decade, but by 1978, it had morphed into the overweight, decidedly less-focused 280ZX.

When the first-series SA RX-7 (named for the first two letters of its VIN tag) arrived on the scene in 1978 as a '79 model, it was an instant success, unlike the rotary-powered coupes that came before it: the pretty Cosmo 110 (MTC, November/December 2005) and the ungainly RX-3. Using a two-rotor version of Dr. Felix Wankel's rotary engine, the RX-7's 1.1-liter mill (designated 12A) produced 100 hp and 105 lb-ft of torque. That was enough to push its 2350 pounds to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds, acceptable for the day. The engine was extremely light and compact, allowing it to be mounted behind the front axle, which contributed to the 50/50 weight distribution. Moreover, the rotary engine was so uniquely smooth as it spun up, an electric buzzer was installed to warn drivers of blasting straight through the 7000-rpm redline.

The RX-7's chassis was heavily based on the RX-3's. MacPherson struts and coil springs kept things simple and compact up front, while the rear live axle was located via Watts link. While not the most sophisticated setup, the arrangement kept the RX-7 cheap and endowed it with lively handling and a bit of rear-axle hop under certain conditions. A disc/drum combination was fitted front/rear, and a four-speed manual gearbox came standard. (A five-speed manual or three-speed auto were optional.)

Big changes came for the 1981 model year, when the car went into its second series as the FB. The bumpers that previously looked tacked on were better integrated into the Mazda's sheetmetal; new interior upholstery options were added; and the rear taillights were given a smoother, more cohesive refresh. A reworked front spoiler lowered the car's drag coefficient and measurably reduced front-end lift. The car also received a new emissions control system that utilized catalytic converters instead of the primitive thermal reactor setup with which it debuted. This meant fuel economy increases and improvements in driveability. The four-speed manual was dropped for the new model year, making the five-speed standard. The other big news was the new GSL package. Enthusiasts appreciated that the package included new 14-inch alloy wheels and four-wheel disc brakes. (All previous cars had front discs and rear drums.) Unfortunately, the discs were packaged with a sunroof, power windows, and other niceties that added to curb weight, sending it just above 2400 pounds.

In our June 1982 issue, Motor Trend ran a comparison test among a RX-7 GSL, Nissan 280ZX, and Toyota Supra. Though the Mazda's meager power compared with the competition landed it in last place by the performance numbers (a deficiency even a 700-pound curb weight advantage couldn't offset), we praised the RX-7 as the best-handing, best-steering, most fun-to-drive, and purest sports car of the group. All it needed was more power.

That power came in 1984. While the little 12A continued on as the volume engine, it was joined by Mazda's new 13B rotary, a lengthened 12A engine that displaced 1.3 liters to the 12A's 1.1 and produced about 30 percent more power -- 135 hp and 133 lb-ft of torque. Sold exclusively in the new flagship RX-7 GSL-SE, the six-port 13B incorporated a unique intake system and fuel injection, further antiquating the carbureted 12A. Straight-line performance improved dramatically. In our February 1984 road test, a GSL-SE hit the 60-mph mark in fewer than 8 seconds, a near 2-second improvement over the 12A-powered car.

The 1984 model year brought other changes as well. The interior was thoroughly redesigned, and while the materials were of better quality, the design was less focused, with more switchgear on the center stack and the center-mounted tachometer now sharing the middle of the gauge cluster with the speedometer. The four-wheel disc brakes were larger, and the rear trailing arms were mounted 20mm lower for improved handling. (Our test showed the GSL-SE produced higher lateral acceleration than the contemporary Lotus Turbo Esprit and Ferrari 308 GTSi.) The car was also more expensive -- more than $2000 above the 12A-equipped GSL from our previous comparison. By June 1985, it was all over. Production ceased to make way for the all-new FC series RX-7, a blander, heavier, though more capable car powered exclusively by the 13b.

Today, the first-generation RX-7 hasn't caught on in the collector market as the Datsun 240Z has, but that's good news for prospective purchasers, because prices remain low. With more than 80 percent of first-generation RX-7 production exported to the U.S., there are the remnants of some 377,878 cars to choose from, and a simple Craigslist search in any major city turns up at least a few examples any week of the year. Is it time for you to take the rotary plunge?


SA RX-7 launches in U.S. with 12A engine, Campagnolo-inspired alloys, and optional plaid interior. Early body style with "cut-out" rear license plate mounting area, chunky bumpers. Four-speed manual transmission is standard; five-speed manual or three-speed automatic optional. Optional GS package includes rear anti-roll bar, five-speed.

Electronic ignition replaces previous mechanical, points-based system.

Mazda refreshes the RX-7 to create the FB series. Bumpers are better integrated, rear end restyled, new front spoiler, interior subtly refreshed. New alloy wheels introduced. Redesigned emissions system and new intake manifold improve fuel economy. Four-speed manual is dropped; five-speed now standard. GSL package includes sunroof, alloy wheels, four-wheel disc brakes. Leather is a rare option.

Speedometer max changes to 130 mph after federally mandated 85 mph max is binned.

Interior redesigned with harder-wearing materials, contemporary design. Front valence gets twin lower grilles to aid in brake cooling. Optional 135-hp, fuel-injected 13B engine introduced in GSL-SE model with limited-slip differential, larger brakes, unique wheels. Clutch strengthened, rear trailing arms modified for better stability, optional four-speed auto replaces three-speed (no auto option for GSL-SE).

Last year of the FB RX-7. 1986 brings all-new FC with 13B only.

Year Model Low-High
1979 GS $3000-$6000
1981 GSL $2500-$5500
1985 GSL-SE $4000-$7000


In 1980, 2500 LS models were built for the U.S. market with a sunroof, leather interior, and gold alloy wheels. The 1983 model year brought a Limited Edition RX-7 with special silver paint, red pinstriping, and 14 x 5.5-in "basketweave" BBS-style alloys.

Brake rotor $42
Distributor cap $22
Muffler $338
Radiator $234
Strut (aftermarket) $140


Smooth, high-revving rotary engine is a sublime, unique experience, especially in the RX-7's lightweight, nimble chassis. Early 13B engine will swap into a 12A car with minimum modification.

Rebuilding 12A engines is getting difficult. Rotor housings are no longer available from Mazda and good used ones can be tough to find.

A splash of two-stroke oil in the fuel tank at every fuel fill-up can help prolong apex seal life. A little (not a lot) of blue smoke in the exhaust is normal.

Cars with extensive modifications-don't get stuck with someone's failed project.

Either a first-year 1979 (particularly in a period color with tartan-check upholstery) or a last-year GSL-SE.

With nearly 30 percent more power and an limited slip differential, the '84-'85 GSL-SE by a long shot.

Any RX-7 that has been well-maintained and has a stack of records to prove it. GSL trim levels have the most amenities.

The first-gen RX-7 today is a usable -- even practical -- classic that highlights some of the best features
of the rotary engine at a modest cost.


RX-7 Club; rx7club.com
Southern California RX Club; socalrxclub.com
The Mazda Club; mazdaclub.com

"RX-7: The New Mazda RX-7 and Mazda Rotary Engine Sports Cars," Jack K. Yamaguchi, St. Martin's Press
"Mazda RX-7 Performance Handbook," Mike Ancas, Motorbooks Workshop
"Mazda RX-7: The First Generation," John F. Ball,
Goldstar Enterprises

Mazdatrix; mazdatrix.com
Racing Beat; racingbeat.com



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Phillip Pruit's 1979 Mazda RX7: \

My 1979 Mazda RX-7 GS so impressed my friends that they each bought one

My first experience with a rotary-engine car came while test-driving an early ’70s Mazda RX-2. I remember being impressed by its ability to rev so high and feel so smooth at the same time. Several years later came the May 1978 issue of Car and Driver, which featured a white RX-7 GS on the cover. I was sold, and I ordered my ’79 a few weeks after that. It arrived on the third boatload into Canada, and on September 29, 1978, I took delivery.

I went with white, despite the salesman advising me to pick a different color, “just in case white doesn’t show up.” Luckily, it showed up.

There weren’t many on the road when I received mine, and it drew a lot of attention. Three of my friends had never driven a rotary-powered car, so I let each of them take it out for a test-drive, and they were all thoroughly impressed. So much, in fact, that all three ended up buying their own RX-7s. The salesman was impressed, too!

Mazda RX-7 GS hood open
Mazda RX-7 GS interior
Mazda RX-7 GS front three-quarter

My wife and I have made many memorable journeys in our RX-7. The odometer now registers 89,000 kilometers, or 55,000 trouble-free miles, most of which were put on in its early years. When the car reached 25 years old, I applied for collector car plates to better represent its status in the world.

The RX-7 has always been garage-kept and has never seen snow. I’ve entered it in several car shows, and it has won numerous awards over the years. Even though the rotary engine is thirsty for fuel, I’m happy to overlook it, simply because of the pleasurable driving experience it offers.

It has been more than 42 years since I first saw that Car and Driver cover, and I’ve loved every minute of my RX-7. As long as I can get in and out of it, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Car and Driver Magazine cover may 1978 featuring mazda rx-7

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Rx 7 79

Mazda RX-7

Series of rotary powered sports cars

Motor vehicle

The Mazda RX-7 is a front/mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, rotary engine-powered sports car that was manufactured and marketed by Mazda from 1978 to 2002 across three generations, all of which made use of a compact, lightweight Wankel rotary engine.

The first generation of the RX-7, SA (early) and FB (late), was a two-seater 2 door hatchbackcoupé. It featured a 12A carbureted rotary engine as well as the option for a 13B with electronic fuel injection in later years.

The second generation of RX-7, known as the FC, was offered as a 2-seater coupé with a 2+2 option available in some markets, as well as in a convertible bodystyle. This was powered by the 13B rotary engine, offered in naturally aspirated or turbocharged forms.

The third generation of the RX-7, known as the FD, was offered a 2+2-seater coupé with a limited run of a 2-seater option. This featured a sequentially turbocharged 13B REW engine.

The RX-7 made Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list five times. More than 800,000 were manufactured over its lifetime.[1]

First generation (SA22C, FB)[edit]

Motor vehicle

First generation (SA)
1980 Mazda RX-7 SE Limited (17888386539).jpg

1980 Mazda RX-7

Also calledMazda Savanna RX-7
471,018 produced[1]
DesignerMatasaburo Maeda (1976)
Body style2-door coupé
PlatformMazda SA22
EngineAll Wankel rotary
Wheelbase2,420 mm (95.3 in)
Length4,285 mm (168.7 in)
Width1,675 mm (65.9 in)
Height1,260 mm (49.6 in)
Curb weight1,043–1,134 kg (2,300–2,500 lb)

The series 1 (produced from 1978 to 1980) is commonly referred to as the "SA22C" from the first alphanumerics of the vehicle identification number. Mazda's internal project number for what was to become the RX-7 was X605. In Japan it was introduced in March 1978, replacing the Savanna RX-3, and joined Mazda's only other remaining rotary engine-powered products, called the Cosmo which was a two-door luxury coupé, and the Luce luxury sedan.

The lead designer at Mazda was Matasaburo Maeda (前田 又三郎, Maeda Matasaburō), whose son, Ikuo, would go on to design the Mazda2 and the RX-7's successor, the RX-8.[2] The transition of the Savanna to a sports car appearance reflected products from other Japanese manufacturers. The advantage the RX-7 had was its minimal size and weight, and the compact rotary engine installed behind the front axle, which helped balance the front and rear weight distribution, and provide a low center of gravity.

In Japan, sales were enhanced by the fact that the RX-7 complied with Japanese Government dimension regulations, and Japanese buyers were not liable for yearly taxes for driving a larger car. The rotary engine had financial advantages to Japanese consumers in that the engine displacement remained below 1,500 cc (1.5 L), a significant determination when paying the Japanese annual road tax; this kept the obligation affordable to most buyers, while having more power than the traditional engines having a straight cylinder configuration.

In May 1980, Mazda introduced a limited production run of special North American models known as the Leathersport Models. This package was essentially an uprated GS model with added LS badges on each B-pillar, special stripes on the exterior, and LS-only gold anodized wheels (with polished outer face and wheel rim). All LS editions came equipped with special LS-only full brown leather upholstery, leather wrapped steering wheel, leather wrapped shift knob, removable sunroof, LS-specific four-speaker AM/FM stereo radio with power antenna (though listed as a six-speaker stereo, as the two rear dual voice coil speakers were counted as four speakers in total), remote power door side mirrors, and other standard GS equipment. Two primary options were also available; a three-speed JATCO 3N71B automatic transmission and air conditioning. Other GS options such as cassette tape deck, splash guards, padded center console arm rest and others could be added by the dealer. The LS model was only ever available in three different exterior colours: Aurora White, Brilliant Black, and Solar Gold. No official production records are known to exist or to have been released. This series of RX-7 had exposed steel bumpers and a high-mounted indentation-located rear license plate, called by Werner Buhrer of Road & Track magazine a "Baroque depression."

Mazda RX-7 Series 2 GSL (US)

The Series 2, referred to as the FB (produced from 1981 to 1983), had integrated plastic-covered bumpers, wide black rubber body side moldings, wraparound taillights and updated engine control components. While marginally longer overall, the new model was 135 lb (61 kg) lighter in federalized trim.[3] The four-speed manual option was dropped for 1981 as well, while the gas tank grew larger and the dashboard was redesigned, including a shorter gear stick mounted closer to the driver.[3] In 1983, the 130 mph (209 km/h) speedometer returned for the RX-7. The GSL package provided optional four-wheel disc brakes, front ventilated (Australian model) and clutch-type rear limited slip differential (LSD). This revision of the SA22 was known in North America as the "FB" after the US Department of Transportation mandated 17 digit Vehicle Identification Number changeover. For various other markets worldwide, the 1981–1985 RX-7 retained the 'SA22C' VIN prefix. In the UK, the 1978–1980 series 1 cars carried the SA code on the VIN but all later cars (1981–1983 series 2 and 1984–1985 series 3) carried the FB code and these first generation RX-7s are known as the "FB" only in Northern America. The license-plate surround looks much like Buhrer's "Styling Impressions".[citation needed]

In Europe, the FB was mainly noticed for having received a power increase from the 105 PS (77 kW) of the SA22; the 1981 RX-7 now had 115 PS (85 kW) on tap. European market cars also received four-wheel disc brakes as standard.[4]

1984–1985 Mazda RX-7 (Series 3)

The Series 3 (produced 1984–1985) featured an updated lower front fascia. North American models received a different instrument cluster. GSL package was continued into this series, but Mazda introduced the GSL-SE sub-model. The GSL-SE had a fuel injected 1,308 cc (1.3 L) 13B RE-EGI engine rated at 135 hp (101 kW; 137 PS) and 133 lb⋅ft (180 N⋅m). GSL-SE models had much the same options as the GSL (clutch-type rear LSD and rear disc brakes), but the brake rotors were larger, allowing Mazda to use the more common lug nuts (versus bolts), and a new bolt pattern of 4x114.3mm (4x4.5"). Also, they had upgraded suspension with stiffer springs and shocks. The external oil cooler was reintroduced, after being dropped in the 1983 model-year for the controversial "beehive" water-oil heat exchanger.

The 1984 RX-7 GSL has an estimated 29 MPG (8.11 litres/100 km) highway/19 MPG (12.37 L/100 km) city. According to Mazda, its rotary engine, licensed by NSU-Wankel allowed the RX-7 GSL to accelerate from 0 to 80 km/h (50 mph) in 6.3 seconds. Kelley Blue Book, in its January–February 1984 issue, noted that a 1981 RX-7 GSL retained 93.4% of its original sticker price.

In 1985, Mazda introduced the RX-7 Finale in Australia. This was the last of the series and brought out in limited numbers. The Finale featured power options and a brass plaque mentioning the number the car was as well as "Last of a legend" on the plaque. The finale had special stickers and a blacked out section between the window & rear hatch.

The handling and acceleration of the car were noted to be of a high caliber for its day. The RX-7 had "live axle" 4-link rear suspension with Watt's linkage, a 50:50 front and rear weight distribution, and weighed under 1,100 kg (2,425 lb). It was the lightest generation of the RX-7 ever produced.[citation needed]12A-powered models accelerated from 0–97 km/h (60 mph) in 9.2 seconds, and turned 0.779 g (7.64 m/s²) laterally on a skidpad. The 1,146 cc (1.1 L) 12A engine was rated at 100 hp (75 kW; 101 PS) at 6,000 rpm in North American models, allowing the car to reach speeds of over 190 km/h (120 mph). Because of the smoothness inherent in the Wankel rotary engine, little vibration or harshness was experienced at high engine speeds, so a buzzer was fitted to the tachometer to warn the driver when the 7,000 rpm redline was approaching.

The 12A engine has a long thin shaped combustion chamber, having a large surface area in relation to its volume. Therefore, combustion is cool, giving few oxides of nitrogen. However, the combustion is also incomplete, so there are large amounts of partly burned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. The exhaust is hot enough for combustion of these to continue into the exhaust. An engine driven pump supplies air into the exhaust to complete the burn of these chemicals. This is done in the "thermal reactor" chamber where the exhaust manifold would normally be on a conventional engine. Under certain conditions, the pump injects air into the thermal reactor and at other times air is pumped through injectors into the exhaust ports. This fresh air is needed for more efficient and cleaner burning of the air/fuel mixture.[5]

Options and models varied from country to country. The gauge layout and interior styling in the Series 3 was only changed for the North American models. Additionally, North America was the only market to have offered the first generation of the RX-7 with the fuel-injected 13B, model GSL-SE. Sales of the first generation RX-7 were strong, with a total of 474,565 cars produced; 377,878 (nearly eighty percent) were sold in the United States alone. In 2004, Sports Car International named this car seventh on their list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s. In 1983, the RX-7 would appear on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for the first time in 20 years.

RX-7 Turbo[edit]

Following the introduction of the first turbocharged rotary engine in the Luce/Cosmo, a similar, also fuel injected and non-intercooled 12A turbocharged engine was made available for the top-end model of the Series 3 RX-7 in Japan. It was introduced in September 1983.[6] The engine was rated at 165 PS (121 kW) (JIS) at 6,500 rpm. While the peak power figures were only slightly higher than those of the engine used in the Luce/Cosmo, the new "Impact Turbo" was developed specifically to deal with the different exhaust gas characteristics of a rotary engine. Both rotor vanes of the turbine were remodelled and made smaller, and the turbine had a twenty percent higher speed than a turbo intended for a conventional engine.[7] The Savanna Turbo was short-lived, as the next generation of the RX-7 was about to be introduced.

Second generation (FC3S)[edit]

Motor vehicle

Second generation (FC)
1986 Mazda RX-7 (FC) coupe (21105743820).jpg
Also calledMazda Savanna RX-7
DesignerAkio Uchiyama (lead designer)
Body style
PlatformMazda FC
Wheelbase2,431 mm (95.7 in)
  • 1986-88: 4,290 mm (168.9 in)
  • 1989–92: 4,315 mm (169.9 in)
Width1,689 mm (66.5 in)
Height1,265 mm (49.8 in)
Curb weight1,223–1,293 kg (2,696–2,851 lb)
Mazda RX-7 Turbo (JDM), note the air-intake on the bonnet distinguishing it from the naturally aspirated models

The second generation of the RX-7 ("FC", VIN begins JM1FC3 or JMZFC1), still known as the Mazda Savanna RX-7 in Japan, featured a complete restyling which was reminiscent of the Porsche 924 and 944. Mazda's stylists, led by Chief Project Engineer Akio Uchiyama (内山 昭朗),[8] focused on the Porsche 924 for their inspiration in designing the FC because the new car was being designed primarily for the American market, where the majority of first-generation of the RX-7 models had been sold.

This strategy was chosen after Uchiyama and others on the design team spent time in the United States studying owners of the earlier RX-7s and other sports cars popular in the American market. The Porsche 944 was selling particularly well at the time and provided clues as to what sports-car enthusiasts might find compelling in future RX-7 styling and equipment.

While the SA22 was a purer sports car, the FC tended toward the softer sport-tourer trends of its day, sharing some similarities with the HB series Cosmo. Handling was much improved, with less of the oversteer tendencies of the SA22. The rear end design was vastly improved from the SA22's live rear axle to a more modern, Independent Rear Suspension (rear axle). Steering was more precise, with rack and pinion steering replacing the old recirculating ball steering of the SA22. Disc brakes also became standard, with some models (S4: Sport, GXL, GTU, Turbo II, Convertible; S5: GXL, GTUs, Turbo, Convertible) offering four-piston front brakes. The rear seats were optional in some models of the FC RX-7, but are not commonly found in the American Market. Mazda also introduced Dynamic Tracking Suspension System (DTSS) in the FC. The revised independent rear suspension incorporated special toe control hubs which were capable of introducing a limited degree of passive rear steering under cornering loads. The DTSS worked by allowing a slight amount of toe-out under normal driving conditions but induced slight toe-in under heavier cornering loads at around 0.5g or more; toe-out in the rear allows for a more responsive rotation of the rear, but toe-in allowed for a more stable rear under heavier cornering. Another new feature was the Auto Adjusting Suspension (AAS). The system changed damping characteristics according to the road and driving conditions. The system compensated for camber changes and provided anti-dive and anti-squat effects.

In Japan, a limited edition of the FC called Infini was available with production limited to only 600 cars for each year. Some special noted features for all Infini series are: infini logo on the rear, upgraded suspension, upgraded ECU, higher power output of the engine, lightened weight, 15-inch BBS aluminum alloy wheels, Infini logo steering wheel, aero bumper kits, bronze colored window glass, floor bar on the passenger side, aluminum bonnet with scoop, flare, and holder. The car was thought as the pinnacle of the RX-7 series (until the introduction of the FD). The Infini IV came with other special items such as black bucket seats, 16-inch BBS wheels, Knee pads, and all the other items mentioned before. There are differing years for the Infini, which denoted the series. Series I was introduced in 1987, Series II was introduced in 1988, Series III was introduced in 1990, and Series IV was introduced in 1991. Series I and II came in White or Black exterior colours, Series III came in Forest Green only, and Series IV came in Forest Green or Noble Green exterior colours. There are only minor differences between the Series models, the biggest change which was from the Series II being an S4 and the Series III and IV being an S5.

The Turbo II model uses a turbocharger with a twin scroll design. The smaller primary chamber is engineered to cancel the turbo lag at low engine speeds. At higher revolutions, the secondary chamber is opened, pumping out 33 percent more power than the naturally aspirated counterpart. The Turbo II also has an air-to-air intercooler which has a dedicated intake on the hood. The intake is slightly offset toward the left side of the hood. In the Japanese market, only the turbocharged engine was available; the naturally-aspirated version was only available for select export markets. This can be attributed to insurance companies in many Western nations penalising turbocharged cars (thus restricting potential sales). The Japanese market car produces 185 PS (136 kW) in the original version; this engine was upgraded to 205 PS (151 kW) in April 1989 as part of the Series 5 facelift. The limited edition, two-seater Infini model received a 215 PS (158 kW) version beginning in June 1990, thanks to an upgraded exhaust system and high-octane fuel.

Australian Motors Mazda introduced a limited run of 250 'Sports' model Series 4 RX-7s; each with no power steering, power windows or rear wiper as an attempt to reduce the weight of the car.


1988 Mazda RX-7 convertible (FC)

Mazda introduced a convertible version of the RX-7 in 1988 with a naturally aspirated engine—introduced to the US market with ads featuring actor James Garner, at the time featured in many Mazda television advertisements.

The convertible featured a removable rigid section over the passengers and a folding fabric rear section with heatable rear glass window. Power operated, lowering the top required unlatching two header catches, power lowering the top, exiting the car (or reaching over to the right side latch), and folding down the rigid section manually. Mazda introduced with the convertible the first integral windblocker, a rigid panel that folded up from behind the passenger seats to block unwanted drafts from reaching the passengers—thereby extending the driving season for the car with the top retracted.[9] The convertible also featured optional headrest mounted audio speakers and a folding leather snap-fastened tonneau cover. The convertible assembly was precisely engineered and manufactured, and dropped into the ready body assembly as a complete unit—a first in convertible production.

Production ceased in 1991 after Mazda marketed a limited run of 500 examples for 1992 for the domestic market only. In markets outside the US, only the turbocharged version of the convertible was available.

North America[edit]

The Series 4 (produced for the 1986 through the 1988 model years) was available with a naturally aspirated, fuel injected13B-VDEI producing 146 hp (109 kW; 148 PS) in North American spec. An optional turbocharged model, known as the Turbo II in the American market, was rated at 182 hp (136 kW; 185 PS) and 183 lb⋅ft (248 N⋅m) of torque at 3,500 rpm. The turbo model was introduced at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1986, with a target of 20 percent of overall RX-7 sales.[10] The Series 5 (1989–1992) featured updated styling and better engine management, as well as lighter rotors and a higher compression ratio 9.7:1 for the naturally aspirated model, and 9.0:1 for the turbo model. The naturally aspirated Series 5's 13B-DEI engine was rated at 160 hp (119 kW; 162 PS), while the Series 5 Turbo was rated at 200 hp (149 kW; 203 PS) at 6,500 rpm and 195 lb⋅ft (264 N⋅m) of torque at 3,500 rpm.

Though about 363 kg (800 lb) heavier and more isolated than its predecessor, the FC continued to win accolades from the press. The FC RX-7 was Motor Trend's Import Car of the Year for 1986, and the Turbo II was on Car and Driver magazine's 10Best list for a second time in 1987.

Mazda sold 86,000 RX-7s in the US alone in 1986, its first model year, with sales peaking in 1988.

10th Anniversary RX-7[edit]

Mazda introduced the 10th Anniversary RX-7 in 1988 as a limited production model based on the RX-7 Turbo II. Production was limited to 1,500 units. The 10th Anniversary RX-7 features a Crystal White (paint code UC) monochromatic paint scheme with matching white body side mouldings, tail light housings, mirrors and 16-inch alloy seven-spoke wheels. There were two "series" of 10th Anniversary models, with essentially a VIN-split running production change between the two. The most notable difference between the series can be found on the exterior- the earlier "Series I" cars had a black "Mazda" logo decal on the front bumper cover, whereas most if not all "Series II" cars did not have the decal. Series II cars also received the lower seat cushion height/tilt feature that Series I cars lacked. Another distinctive exterior feature is the bright gold rotor-shaped 10th Anniversary Edition badge on the front fenders (yellow-gold on the Series II cars). A distinctive 10th Anniversary package feature is the all black leather interior (code D7), which included not just the seats, but the door panel inserts as well and a leather-wrapped MOMO steering wheel (with 10th Anniversary Edition embossed horn button) and MOMO leather shift knob with integrated boot. All exterior glass is bronze tinted (specific in North America to only the 10th Anniversary), and the windshield was equipped with the embedded secondary antenna also found on some other select models with the upgraded stereo packages. Other 10th Anniversary Edition specific items were headlight washers (the only RX-7 in the US market that got this feature), glass breakage detectors added to the factory alarm system, 10th Anniversary Edition logoed floor mats, 10th Anniversary Edition embroidered front hood protector and accompanying front end mask (or "bra"), and an aluminum under pan.[11][12]

GTUs (1989–1990)[edit]

In 1989, with the introduction of a face-lifted FC RX-7, and to commemorate the RX-7s IMSA domination, Mazda introduced a limited model labeled the GTUs. Starting with the lightweight base model, which came with manual windows, no rear wiper, the sunroof and A/C was dealer optioned, the GTUs added items found on the Turbo model such as four piston front brakes, ventilated rear brake rotors, vehicle speed-sensing power steering, one-piece front chin spoiler, cloth-covered Turbo model seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, 16 inch wheels, 205/55VR tyres, and a GTUs-only 4.300 Viscous-type limited slip differential (all other FC LSD's were 4.100). This allowed quicker acceleration from the non—turbo-powered 13B. Mazda are rumoured to have built 100 cars in 1989–1990. There have not been 100 of these models found and registered. The only way to verify the GTUs model is through the door ID tag and firewall vin number. It is the only model with turbo ID tags and a non turbo vin.[13]

Third generation (FD3S)[edit]

Motor vehicle

Third generation (FD)
Also calledɛ̃fini RX-7 (1991–1997)
Body style2-door coupé
PlatformMazda FD
Engine1308 cc 13B-REWtwin-turbotwin-rotor
Wheelbase2,446 mm (96.3 in)
Length4,285 mm (168.7 in)
Width1,760 mm (69.3 in)
Height1,230 mm (48.4 in)
Curb weight1,218–1,340 kg (2,685–2,954 lb)

The third generation RX-7, FD (chassis code FD3S for Japan and JM1FD for the North America), featured an updated body design. The 13B-REW was the first-ever mass-produced sequential twin-turbocharger system to be exported from Japan,[16] boosting power to 255 PS (188 kW; 252 hp) in 1993 and finally 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp) by the time production ended in Japan in 2002.

The chief designer was Yoichi Sato (佐藤 洋一, Satō Yōichi).[8] Another key designer was Wu-huang Chin (秦無荒), a Taiwanese automotive artist who also worked on the Mazda MX-5 Miata.[17]

In Japan, sales were affected by this series' non-compliance with Japanese dimension regulations and Japanese buyers paid annual taxes for the car's non-compliant width. As the RX-7 was now considered an upper-level luxury sports car due to the increased width dimensions, Mazda also offered two smaller offerings, the Eunos Roadster, and the Eunos Presso hatchback.

The sequential twin turbocharging system, introduced in 1992, was extremely complex and was developed with the aid of Hitachi. It was previously used on the exclusive-to-Japan Cosmo JC Series. The system used two turbochargers, one to provide 10 psi (0.69 bar) of boost from 1,800 rpm. The second turbocharger activated in the upper half of the rpm range, during full throttle acceleration — at 4,000 rpm to maintain 10 psi (0.69 bar) until redline.[18] The changeover process occurred at 4,500 rpm, with a momentary dip in pressure to 8 psi (0.55 bar),[19] and provided semi-linear acceleration from a wide torque curve throughout the entire rev range under normal operation.

Under high speed driving conditions, the changeover process produced a significant increase in power output and forced technical drivers to adjust their driving style to anticipate and mitigate any over-steer during cornering.[citation needed] The standard turbo control system used 4 control solenoids, 4 actuators, both a vacuum and pressure chamber, and several feet of preformed vacuum/pressure hoses, all of which were prone to failure in part due to complexity and the inherent high temperatures of the rotary engine.[19]

A special high-performance version of the RX-7 was introduced in Australia in 1995, named the RX-7 SP. This model was developed to achieve homologation for racing in the Australian GT Production Car Series and the Eastern Creek 12 Hour production car race.[20] An initial run of 25 cars were made, and later an extra 10 were built by Mazda due to demand.[21] The RX-7 SP was rated at 277 PS (204 kW; 273 hp) and 357 N⋅m (263 lb⋅ft) of torque, a substantial increase over the standard model. Other changes included a race-developed carbon fibre nose cone and rear spoiler, a carbon fibre 120 L fuel tank (as opposed to the 76 L tank in the standard car), a 4.3:1 final drive ratio, 17-inch wheels, larger brake rotors and calipers. A "three times more efficient" intercooler, a new exhaust, and a modified ECU were also included.[21] Weight was reduced significantly with the aid of further carbon fibre usage including lightweight vented bonnet and Recaro seats to reduce weight to 1,218 kg (from 1,250 kg) making this model road-going race car that matched the performance of the rival Porsche Carrera RS Club Sport for the final year Mazda officially entered.[20] The formula paid off when the RX-7 SP won the 1995 Eastern Creek 12 Hour, giving Mazda the winning 12 hour trophy for a fourth straight year.[20] The winning car also gained a podium finish at the international tarmac rally Targa Tasmania months later. A later special version, the Bathurst R, was introduced in 2001 to commemorate this victory in Japan only.[22] It was based on the RX-7 Type R and 500 were built in total, featuring adjustable dampers, a carbon fibre shift knob, carbon fibre interior trim, special fog lamps and a different parking brake lever.[23]

In the United Kingdom, for 1992, customers were offered only one version of the FD, which was based on a combination of the US touring and the base model.[citation needed] For the following year, in a bid to speed up sales, Mazda reduced the price of the RX-7 to £25,000, down from £32,000, and refunded the difference to those who bought the car before that was announced. From 1992 to 1995, only 210 FD RX-7s were officially sold in the UK.[24] The FD continued to be imported to the UK until 1996. In 1998, for a car that had suffered from slow sales when it was officially sold, with a surge of interest and the benefit of a newly introduced SVA scheme, the FD would become so popular that there were more parallel and grey imported models brought into the country than Mazda UK had ever imported.[25]

Information about various trims and models is listed as follows:

  • Series 6 (1992–1995) was exported throughout the world and had the highest sales.[citation needed] In Japan, Mazda sold the RX-7 through its ɛ̃fini brand as the ɛ̃fini RX-7. Models in Japan included the Type S, the base model, Type R, the lightweight sports model, Type RZ, Type RB, A-spec and the Touring X, which came with a four-speed automatic transmission.[26] The RX-7 was sold in 1993–1995 in the U.S. and Canada. The Series 6 was rated at 255 PS (188 kW; 252 hp) and 294 N⋅m (217 lb⋅ft).
  • In 1993, three North American models were offered; the "base", the touring, and the R models. The touring FD included a sunroof, fog lights, leather seats, a rear window wiper and a Bose Acoustic Wave system.[19] The R (R1 in 1993 and R2 in 1994–95) models featured upgraded springs, Bilstein shocks, an additional engine oil cooler, an aerodynamics package comprising a front lip and rear wing, and suede seats.[27] The R2 differed from the R1 in that it had slightly softer suspension.[19] In 1994, the interior received a small update to include a passenger air bag, and a PEG (performance equipment group) model was offered. This model featured leather seats and a sunroof. It did not include the fog lights or Bose stereo of the touring package. In 1995, the touring package was replaced by the PEP (popular equipment package). The PEP package contained a rear wing, leather seats, sunroof and fog lights, but didn't have the Bose Stereo nor the rear window wiper.[19]
  • In Europe, only 1,152 examples of the FD were sold through the official Mazda network, due to a high price and a fairly short time span. Only one model was available and it included twin oil-coolers, electric sunroof, cruise control and the rear storage bins in place of the back seats.[citation needed] It also has the stiffer suspension and strut braces from the R models.[citation needed] Germany topped the sales with 446 cars, while UK is second at 210 and Greece third with 168 (thanks to that country's tax structure which favored the rotary engine).[24] The European models also received the 1994 interior facelift, with a passenger air bag.[citation needed] Sales in most of Europe ended after 1995 as it would have been too expensive to reengineer the car to meet the new Euro 2 emissions regulations.
Series 6 (1992–1995)
ModelPower outputTorqueGearboxWeight
Type R 255 PS (188 kW; 252 hp)294 N⋅m (217 lbf⋅ft)5-speed manual1,260 kg (2,778 lb)
Type RZ1,230 kg (2,712 lb)
Type RB 1,260 kg (2,778 lb)
A-Spec 265 PS (195 kW; 261 hp) 1,220 kg (2,690 lb)
EU-Spec 239 PS (176 kW; 236 hp)294 N⋅m (217 lbf⋅ft)1,325 kg (2,921 lb)
Touring X 255 PS (188 kW; 252 hp)4-speed automatic1,330 kg (2,932 lb)[28]
  • Series 7 (produced from 1996 to 1998) included minor changes to the car. Updates included a simplified vacuum routing manifold and a 16-bit ECU which combined with an improved intake system netted an extra 10 PS (7 kW). This additional horsepower was only available on manual transmission cars as the increase in power was only seen above 7,000 rpm, which was the redline for automatic transmission equipped cars. The rear spoiler and tail lights were also redesigned. The Type RZ model was now equipped with larger brake rotors as well as 17 inch BBS wheels. In Japan, the Series 7 RX-7 was marketed under the Mazda and ɛ̃fini brand name. The Series 7 was also sold in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Series 7 RX-7s were produced only in right-hand-drive configuration.
  • Series 8 (produced from 1998 to 2002) was the final series, and was only available in the Japanese market. More efficient turbochargers were available on certain models, while improved intercooling and radiator cooling was made possible by a redesigned front fascia with larger openings. The seats, steering wheel, and instrument cluster were all changed. The rear spoiler was modified and gained adjustability on certain models. Three horsepower levels are available: 255 PS for automatic transmission equipped cars, 265 PS for the Type RB, and 280 PS available on the top-of-the-line sporting models.

The high-end "Type RS" came equipped with Bilstein suspension and 17-inch wheels as standard equipment, and reduced weight to 1,280 kg (2,822 lb). Power was increased with the addition of a less restrictive muffler and more efficient turbochargers which featured abradable compressor seals, 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp) at 6500 rpm and 314 N⋅m (232 lb⋅ft) of torque at 5000 rpm as per the maximum Japanese limit. The Type RS had a brake upgrade by increasing rotor diameter front and rear to 314 mm (12.4 in) and front rotor thickness from 22 mm (0.9 in) to 32 mm (1.3 in). The Type RS version also sported a 4.30 final drive ratio, providing a significant reduction in its 0–100 km/h (62 mph) time. The gearbox was also modified, 5th gear was made longer to reduce cruising rpm and improve fuel efficiency. The very limited edition Type RZ version included all the features of the Type RS, but at a lighter weight, at 1,270 kg (2,800 lb). It also featured gun-metal colored BBS wheels and a red racing themed interior. An improved ABS system worked by braking differently on each wheel, allowing the car better turning during braking. The effective result made for safer driving for the average buyer.

Instrument panel of RX-7 spirit R

Easily the most collectible of all the RX-7s was the last model limited to 1,500 units. Dubbed the "Spirit R", they combined all the extra features Mazda had used on previous limited-run specials with new exclusive features like cross-drilled brake rotors. Sticker prices when new were 3,998,000 yen for Type-A and B and 3,398,000 yen for Type-C. Mazda's press release said "The Type-A Spirit R model is the ultimate RX-7, boasting the most outstanding driving performance in its history."

  • There are three models of "Spirit R": the "Type A", "Type B", and "Type C". The "Type A" is a two-seater with a 5-speed manual transmission. It features lightweight red trim Recaro front seats as seen in the earlier RZ models. The "Type B" shares all features of the "Type A" except has a 2+2 seat configuration. The "Type C" is also a 2+2, but has a four-speed automatic transmission. Of the 1504 Spirit R's made, 1044 were Type A, 420 Type B and 40 Type C.[29] An exclusive Spirit R paint color, Titanium Grey, adorned 719 of the 1504 cars produced.

In Japan the FD3S production span is categorized into 6 models: #1 from 1991/12, #2 from 1993/08, #3 from 1995/03, #4 from 1996/01, #5 from 1998/12 and #6 from 2000/10. The model number (1 to 6) actually shows as the first digit of the 6 digits long JDM VIN, for example in VIN# FD3S-ABCDEF the A is the model number. A total of 9 limited editions (type RZ in 1992/10 (300 cars), RZ 1993/10 (150), R-II Bathurst 1994/09 (350), R Bathurst X 1995/07 (777), RB Bathurst X 1997/01 (700), RS-R 1997/10 (500), RZ 2000/10 (325), R Bathurst R 2001/08 (650), Spirit R 2002/04 (1504)) and 2 special editions (Bathurst R 1995/02, R Bathurst 2001/12 (2174)) were produced.[30][31][32]

Series 8 (1998–2002)
Type RB 265 PS (195 kW; 261 hp)294 N·m (217 lb·ft)5-speed manual1,310 kg (2,888 lb)2+2294 mm (11.6 in)16x8.0JJ (front)
16x8.0JJ (rear)
225/50R16 92V(front)
225/50R16 92V(rear)
Type RB 4AT 255 PS (188 kW; 252 hp)4-speed automatic1,340 kg (2,954 lb)
Type RB-S 265 PS (195 kW; 261 hp)5-speed manual1,320 kg (2,888 lb)225/50ZR16 (front)
225/50ZR16 (rear)
Type R 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp)314 N·m (231 lb·ft)1,310 kg (2,888 lb)
Type R
1,280 kg (2,822 lb)
Type R
Bathurst R
Type RS314 mm (12.4 in)17x8.0JJ (front)
17x8.5JJ (rear)
235/45R17 (front)
255/40R17 (rear)
Type RZ1,270 kg (2,800 lb)2
Spirit R
(Type A)
Spirit R
(Type B)
1,280 kg (2,822 lb)2+2
Spirit R
(Type C)
255 PS (188 kW; 252 hp)4-speed automatic294 mm (11.6 in)

Reviews and awards[edit]

The FD RX-7 was Motor Trend'sImport Car of the Year. When Playboy first reviewed the FD RX-7 in 1993, they tested it in the same issue as the [then] new Dodge Viper. In that issue, Playboy declared the RX-7 to be the better of the two cars. It went on to win Playboy's Car of the Year for 1993. The FD RX-7 also made Car and Driver's Ten Best list for 1993 through 1995, for every year in which it was sold state-side. June 2007 Road & Track proclaimed "The ace in Mazda's sleeve is the RX-7, a car once touted as the purest, most exhilarating sports car in the world." After its introduction in 1991, it won the Automotive Researchers' and Journalists' Conference Car of the Year award in Japan.

Handling in the FD was regarded as world-class, and it is still regarded as being one of the finest handling and the best balanced cars of all time.[33][34] The continued use of the front-midship engine and drivetrain layout, combined with a 50:50 front-rear weight distribution ratio and low center of gravity, made the FD a very competent car at the limits.[citation needed]


Racing versions of the first-generation RX-7 were entered at the prestigious 24 hours of Le Mans endurance race. The first outing for the car, equipped with a 13B engine, failed by less than one second to qualify in 1979. The next year, a 12A-equipped RX-7 not only qualified, it placed 21st overall. That same car did not finish in 1981, along with two more 13B cars. Those two cars were back for 1982, with one 14th-place finish and another DNF. The RX-7 Le Mans effort was replaced by the 717C prototype for 1983.

Mazda began racing RX-7s in the IMSAGTU series in 1979. In its first year, RX-7s placed first and second at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and claimed the GTU series championship. The car continued winning, claiming the GTU championship seven years in a row. The RX-7 took the GTO championship ten years in a row from 1982. In addition to this, a GTX version was developed, named the Mazda RX-7 GTP; this was unsuccessful, and the GTP version of the car was also unsuccessful. The RX-7 has won more IMSA races than any other car model. In the USA SCCA competition RX-7s were raced with great success by Don Kearney in the NE Division and John Finger in the SE Division. Pettit Racing won the GT2 Road Racing Championship in 1998. The car was a '93 Mazda RX-7 street car with only bolt-on accessories. At season end Pettit had 140 points—63 points more than the second place team. This same car finished the Daytona Rolex 24-hour race four times.

The RX-7 also fared well at the Spa 24 Hours race. Three Savanna/RX-7s were entered in 1981 by Tom Walkinshaw Racing. After hours of battling with several BMW 530is and Ford Capris, the RX-7 driven by Pierre Dieudonné and Tom Walkinshaw won the event. Mazda had turned the tables on BMW, who had beaten Mazda's Familia Rotary to the podium eleven years earlier at the same event. TWR's prepared RX-7s also won the British Touring Car Championship in 1980 and 1981, driven by Win Percy.

A Mazda RX-7 Group B rally car which competed in the 1979 Monte Carlo Rally
IMSA RX7 Supercar drivers Peter Farrell and Willy Lewis.
Mazda PR Supercar Team.jpg

Canadian born Australian touring car driver Allan Moffat was instrumental in bringing Mazda into the Australian touring car scene which ran to Group C regulations unique to Australia. Over a four-year span beginning in 1981, Moffat took the Mazda RX-7 to victory in the 1983 Australian Touring Car Championship, as well as a trio of Bathurst 1000 podiums, in 1981 (3rd with Derek Bell), 1983 (second with Yoshimi Katayama) and 1984 (third with former motorcycle champion Gregg Hansford). Privateer racer Peter McLeod drove his RX-7 to win the 1983 Australian Endurance Championship, while Moffat won the Endurance title in 1982 and 1984. Australia's adoption of international Group A regulations, combined with Mazda's reluctance to homologate a Group A RX-7 (meaning that a base number of 5,000 had to be built, plus another 500 "evolution" models), ended Mazda's active participation in Australian touring car racing at the end of the 1984 season. Plans had been in place to replace the RX-7 with a Mazda 929, but testing by Allan Moffat in late 1984 had indicated that the car would be uncompetitive and Mazda abandoned plans to race in Group A.

The RX-7 even made an appearance in the World Rally Championship. The car finished 11th on its debut at the RAC Rally in Wales in 1981. Group B received much of the focus for the first part of the 1980s, but Mazda did manage to place third at the 1985 Acropolis Rally, and when the Group B was folded, its Group A-based replacement, the 323 4WD claimed the victory at Swedish Rally in both 1987 and 1989.

IMSA Bridgestone Supercar Series

The third generation Mazda RX7 entered its first professional race in the world on February 23, 1992, at the Miami Grand Prix. The cars made it to the podium many times and won the IMSA Supercar race at Sebring in 1994. Peter Farrell Motorsport also fielded RX7's in the IMSA Firestone Firehawk Endurance Series dominating many races and finishing runner up in the overall Championship two years in a row.


Mazda has made several references to a revival of the RX-7 in various forms over the years since the RX-8 was discontinued. In November 2012, MX-5 program manager Nobuhiro Yamamoto indicated that Mazda was working on a 16X based RX-7, with 300 horsepower.[35][36]

In October 2015, Mazda unveiled the RX-Vision concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show, powered by a new rotary engine and featured design cues reminiscent to the third generation RX-7. A production-ready concept could have followed suit by 2017, marking 50 years since the revealing of Mazda's first rotary-powered sports car, the Cosmo.[37]



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  2. ^Lewis-George, Elliot (2013). Berg, Nik (ed.). "Mazda Heroes #1 – Ikuo Maeda". Zoom-Zoom Magazine (16): 6. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
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  8. ^ ab望月, 澄男 (2017). マツダRX-7(PDF) (in Japanese). Japan: Miki Press. p. 21. ISBN . Archived from the original(PDF) on 2020-02-19.
  9. ^Cranswick, Marc (2016). Mazda Rotary-engined Cars: From Cosmo 110S to RX-8. Veloce Publishing Ltd. p. 136. ISBN .ISBN 9781845849436.
  10. ^Smith, David C., ed. (March 1986). "Mazda eyes midsize U.S. market". Ward's Auto World. Ward's Communications. 22 (3): 30.
  11. ^McCourt, Mark J. (2015-03-23). "A Decade of Delight: 1988 Mazda RX-7 10th Anniversary Limited Edition brochure". Hemmings. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  12. ^Constantine, Chris (2018-01-08). "Limited Edition 1988 Mazda RX-7 Turbo 10th Anniversary for Sale". The Drive. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  13. ^Tonn, Chris (2015-11-04). "Digestible Collectible: 1989 Mazda RX-7 GTUs". Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  14. ^Yuan, Dave (2016-12-28). "25 YEAR CLUB: FD3S Mazda RX-7". Japanese Nostalgic Car. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
  15. ^Long, Brian (1 December 2003). RX-7 Mazda's Rotary Engine Sports Car: Updated & Enlarged Edition. Veloce Publishing Ltd. ISBN . Retrieved 9 July 2017 – via Google Books.
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  17. ^"Design Central". Los Angeles Times. 30 January 1995.
  18. ^"Mazda RX-7 FD - review, history, prices and specs". Evo. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  19. ^ abcde"Your definitive Mazda RX-7 FD buyer's guide | Hagerty Articles". Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  20. ^ abcRobinson, James (2016-09-16). "Uber rare RX-7 at Shannon's". motoring.com.au. carsales.com Limited. Archived from the original on 2016-09-17.
  21. ^ ab"Mazda Australia's RX7-SP and RX7-SP2 (3rd Generation RX7)". 2001-03-22. Archived from the original on 2015-05-27.
  22. ^"Mazda RX-7 Type R Bathurst R Review". TradeUniqueCars.com.au. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  23. ^"2001 Mazda RX-7 Type R Bathurst | Review | SuperCars.net". Supercars.net. 2016-04-24. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  24. ^ ab"Top Gear's mk3 Mazda RX-7 buying guide". Top Gear. 2018-03-12. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  25. ^"The Complete History Of The Mazda RX-7 - Garage Dreams". Garage Dreams. 2018-02-05. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  26. ^"Detailed specs review of 1994 Efini RX-7 Touring X model for Japan". www.automobile-catalog.com. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  27. ^"Looking Back: Driving A Bone-Stock 1993 Mazda RX-7 R1". DrivingLine. Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  28. ^"1993 Efini RX-7 (FD-series) Type 2".
  29. ^"Mazda RX-7 FD3S Spirit-R". GTR-Registry.com. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  30. ^I Love FD3S RX-7, book in Japanese ISBN 4-87366-999-5
  31. ^Mazda official RX-7 chronology page http://www2.mazda.com/ja/stories/history/rx-7/chronology/
  32. ^"Mazda RX-7 FD3S Series 8 (Version V + Version VI)". GTR-Registry.com. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  33. ^"The Mazda RX-7 (FD) is Beautifully Engineered". beautifully engineered. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  34. ^http://www.jdmcarboy.com/category.php?id_category=1392[permanent dead link]
  35. ^"New Mazda RX-7 to launch by 2017". leftlanenews.com.
  36. ^"Mazda RX-7 to Return in 2017". CarBuzz.
  37. ^Tisshaw, Mark (2015-10-28). "Mazda RX-Vision rotary-engined sports car concept revealed". Autocar.co.uk.

General sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Mauck, Scott & Haynes, John H. (1986). Mazda RX-7 Automotive Repair Manual. Haynes North America. ISBN .
  • Yamaguchi, Jack K. (1985). The New Mazda RX-7 and Mazda Rotary Engine Sports Cars. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN .
  • Heimann, Jim, ed. (2006). 70s Cars. TASCHEN GmbH. ISBN .
  • Matras, John (1994). Sports Car Color History Mazda RX-7. Motorbooks International. ISBN .

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mazda RX-7.
Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_RX-7
Mark's 1980 Mazda RX7 - short tour and quick ride

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