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Mazda RX-7

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
So I've started this thread from a sidetrack in the headphone forum. Please post why the RX-7 is the most awesome Japanese car below:


I'll start. It is lightweight, has a powerful, innovative, high-revving and unique twin-turbo (3rd generation) rotary engine, handles incredibly well with almost perfect balance, and is one of the most beautiful cars ever designed.

The rotary engine has a reputation for being unreliable, having poor fuel economy, and increased emissions. Two of these charges are true, but the engine is reliable given proper care and maintenance (e.g. proper cooling, belt and hose replacement, etc.). More power can be made from the engine by changing its port profiles, swapping the turbos, and upgrading the intercooler, along the usual intake and exhaust upgrades.

Rotary engined cars have won Le Mans, the Bathurst race in Australia, broken speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats, and taken the victory in the GT300 class in the JGTC. The platform has been proven to be capable of performance far exceeding its modest price (despite the inflated Yen vs. US Dollar in the 1990s). RX-7s competed regularly in autocrosses, road racing, and even drift racing.

In my opinion, the 3rd-generation RX-7 is the purest of the breed, although the 2nd-generation is technically accomplished and the 1st-generation model was revolutionary in its time. The distinctive double-bubble roof, curved lines, classically long hood and short rear deck blend together harmoniously to give the viewer the impression that he is seeing something truly extraordinary - at any price.

Reviewers often complained about the RX-7 for being precisely what it was - the hard springs, lightweight body (dented more easily), and tight interior are all hallmarks of a purebred racer. The more I learn about the RX-7, the more I want to own one. Sadly, the last RX-7 was made in 2002... the RX-8 is a good car, but no replacement. The RX-7 is even more difficult to obtain in North America because its production run was limited to 1993-1995 model years.

For authoritative information about the RX-7, please refer to RX-7: Mazda's rotary engine sports car by Brian Long. I'll post more about my favorite car later - these long essays are starting to exhaust me!

post #2 of 51
Simply beautiful.

post #3 of 51
Thread Starter 
Yes. After playing Gran Turismo 4 for a while, I think I prefer the original styling of the RX-7... the changes to the front end lights and spoiler are a bit more hard-edged and racy in the post-1998 style update, while the original details seem a bit more flowing and graceful. However, I'd probably prefer to own a 2002 RX-7 Spirit R Type-A, pictured above. It's going to be a while, since it won't make the 15-year exemption until 2017! In the interim, I'll probably be shopping for a rare 1995 R2, if any still exist in Canada, preferably in blue.
post #4 of 51
Oh God, pop-up headlights??
post #5 of 51
i wish more cars had pop ups
post #6 of 51
Thread Starter 
Pop-up headlights might be considered old-school or a fad now, but they served a necessary design function. If a car designer thought headlights would disrupt the look of the front-end, pop-ups were a useful solution. Looking back, they were incredibly popular in many cars because of the latitude that they gave to designers.

They are out of style now because of their additional cost and complexity, but I don't think the new style of headlights is particularly better in design terms. For example, I don't believe the Corvette C6 can be considered to be a timeless classic. They do appear fresher and more modern since the pop-up design was overused, but I believe pop-up lights will eventually make a comeback of sorts.
post #7 of 51
I think I read somewhere that pop up headlamps fell foul of EU health and safety regulations some years ago and that this was a factor in their disappearance.
post #8 of 51
Thread Starter 
I read an article about the proposed EU car safety regulations a while ago - it enraged me. I thought, "Why don't you just restrict auto makers to manufacturing moving marshmallows? It would be a lot simpler than what you're asking."

That's one of the reasons that I'm glad I live in Canada and not the EU. Automakers are remarkably adaptable and resilient (as reactionary as they seem), however. I have no doubt they'll find ways to comply with the regulations using new and interesting designs.
post #9 of 51
I had an '80 RX-7. I bought it new and kept it for 9 years. I sold it after I got married and we bought a fixer-up house. I tried as hard as I could, but I just couldn't get full sheets of plywood and sheetrock to fit in the back...

I really, really, REALLY wish I still had that car. I loved it! Quick, light and very nimble. I did some autocross racing with it, nothing serious, just a club of like-minded sports car nuts in the college parking lot. I once went through a set of tires in under 25K miles!

IMHO, 1980 was THE year. It was the first year to have an all electronic ignition (no points!) and after 1980 the body changed and they just kept getting heavier and more expensive.

Depending on how you look at it, that car either saved my life or got me in a LOT of trouble. It would rev VERY freely, and it loved to go FAST. Mine had a bit of a hood vibration at ~85 mph, but it smoothed out above 90 and was rock solid at 100+. I remember one afternoon when I was rocketing down a back country road at speed. I forgot about a VERY sharp S-jink that suddenly appeared, and the next thing I remember I was on the other side of the chicane - safe and still going fast. I really don't know why I didn't end-up in the ditch - I guess I just reacted and luckily the car was quicker than I was!

When I sold the car, it needed a new clutch, new brakes, new tires and the rear seal leaked. I should have kept it!!!
post #10 of 51
Thread Starter 
Yes, the RX-7 has always been something very special. It has combined the sexy lines of the Italian makes with the reliability and precision of Japanese manufacture. Mazda seems to be particularly focused on the driver experience - their Miata/MX-5 is another success story of hybrid origins. It looks and behaves like a British or other period roadster, and yet it has the price tag, fuel economy, and reliability of a Japanese driving appliance. They recently made the Mazdaspeed MP3/Protege, Mazdaspeed Miata, the Mazdaspeed 6, and the Mazdaspeed 3.

The other Japanese manufacturers make great sports cars, too - witness the success of Nissan, in particular. They have designed, starting as Datsun, the 240Z/Fairlady, the 300ZX, the 240SX/Silvia, the Skyline GT-R, and the 350Z. Toyota had similar success with the MR-2, Celica, and Supra. Now they only make driving appliances for soccer moms.

billybob_jcv, you can always find another 1980 RX-7. It's just a matter of commitment and time. Also, the RX-7 can benefit from modern aftermarket parts and maintenance methods - apex seals, brakes, clutches and tires have improved a great deal since 1989.
post #11 of 51
I'm studying for an exam, so no time for a long reply, but yes, Rx-7's are pure magic... there's something about them that mesmerizes and enthralls me in a way that no other car ever has, and I doubt any other car could.... especially the FB (first generation). The uniqueness and utter addictiveness of the rotary plays a part of that for me, but there's also something about them that screams purity and passion, accessible at a reasonable price, without being overt with any gimmicks or frills. Although the FB's aren't the fastest, or the best handling, or the best looking cars around these days, they provide an overall experience that I've never found in anything else I've tried. Here's my 1982 GS - it's in storage right now due to my current living arrangements at school, but I'll resurrect it someday!

post #12 of 51
I have t-shirt with this message on the back.

I unfortunately don't own a RX-7. My friend makes the shirts for RX7 and RX8 club and gave it to me.
post #13 of 51
Yes, certainly a sweet ride...shame they don't make them like they used to anymore. Personally I've always loved the styling of the last generation of the RX-7.
post #14 of 51
Originally Posted by Eric M View Post
I have t-shirt with this message on the back.

I unfortunately don't own a RX-7. My friend makes the shirts for RX7 and RX8 club and gave it to me.
that shirt is sweet.

the 3rd gen is sweet as well.

i <3 my flyin miata as well

if only it wasn't so darn noisy so i could enjoy music in there... without being deangerously cool with IEM's :x
post #15 of 51
Thread Starter 
I'll definitely be joining an RX-7 club if I ever find one. That shirt is brilliant... sadly/humorously, a lot of what's on there is partially true. RX-7 engines do have a reputation for being finicky and oil-consuming... but it really depends on the state of the seals and whether proper maintenance has been done. A lot of them have been driven by clueless owners who treat the rotary engine like a regular piston engine - heat and overenthusiastic driving (e.g. not enough warm-up and cool-down) can really cut down the lifetime of the engine.

I always suspect that RX-7s that have had a few engines in them are to be avoided...
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