Stock rx7

Stock rx7 DEFAULT

Technical Specifications

Make / Model
Mazda RX-7
Type R Bathurst
Serial number
Richmond, VA
~41,959 miles
Engine Model
Transmission Model
5 Speed Manual


Mazdaspeed Wing
Mazdaspeed Exhaust


VADLR $299 Processing Fee. This Efini RX7 has a legal Virginia State Title, all the import paperwork, and is ready to be registered in your state. California residents will have to research whether or not they can register this vehicle. The vehicle is subject to State Inspection prior to being plated. This vehicle is sold AS-IS. This is a used vehicle imported from Japan. Many Japanese imports in the USA are purchased at auction, where they undergo a thorough checkover prior to sale. We have attached a full vehicle history report from Japan including full auction documentation, mileage records, and more. Please see the attached PDF to view the complete history on this RX7

Vehicle History

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Sold as is (no warranty) Details


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A 1993 Mazda RX-7 Was The Most Intense Bone Stock Car I've Driven

Among the plethora of super-sophisticated Japanese sports cars that spawned from the 1990s—the Nissan 300ZX, Acura NSX, Toyota Supra, Mitsubishi 3000GT and so on—the third-generation Mazda RX-7 (chassis code FD) was by far the most focused machine available. Fast, expensive, unreliable, and not all that practical, this curvaceous coupe managed to spank its rivals on the track and on the street not using pistons, cylinders, or camshafts. It did it using spinning triangles and turbos.

Today, the FD RX-7 is a JDM legend. I took one out to get a feel of how it drives 25 years later, and I can confirm it remains intense.

(Full disclosure: the opportunity to drive a stock 1993 Mazda RX-7 came from Mazda Canada who took one out of its private collection. Mazda wanted me to drive this rare example so badly, the car was delivered clean with a full tank of gas and a glove box crammed with period correct media brochures and magazines. That all happened on the day of my birthday.)

What Is It?

The Mazda RX-7 doesn’t really need an introduction, but I’ll be happy to run down some important historical facts. After years of various Mazda rotary cars, the model appeared in 1978 to compete with the Datsun/Nissan Z and the Toyota Celica and Supra. The former, at the time, kept getting bigger and heavier and more luxurious, so it was ripe for a small and pure upstart competitor, and the RX-7 was that car.

It was also the only car left in Mazda’s lineup, along with the Cosmo, to be powered by a Wankel rotary engine after the death of the RX-3. If you still don’t know what a Wankel is, it’s essentially a triangular(ish) rotor that spins really fast inside a pinched oval.

Not a lot of displacement is needed in those rotors to make a lot of power, so you end up with something powerful, compact, and (for the value-minded out there) surprisingly un-economical for its size.

By the early 1990s, the RX-7 had morphed into a legitimate (and very good looking) contender to the best performance machines the world had to offer. Its Wankel engine now featured two rotors and twin, sequential turbochargers, meaning they kicked in at different RPM. The car had a multi-link suspension setup, ABS brakes, a Torsen rear differential, near 50/50 weight distribution, and at roughly 2,800 pounds, it was light as hell.

When it was launched in 1993, Mazda claimed its heavily boosted 1.3-liter pumped out a healthy 255 horsepower and 217 lb-ft of torque. With the five-speed manual gearbox (a four-speed automatic was available if you were drunk), Mazda promised a 0-60 mph time of about five seconds.

A V10-powered Dodge Viper of the same era pulled the stunt in about 4.6 seconds, so at the time the little Mazda was up there with the best of them.

Why Does It Matter?

These days, anything from the 1990s, especially Japanese, is witnessing a spike in popularity among car enthusiasts, and the RX-7 sits right smack in the middle of it for being unique.

Also, the fact that we only got this model for three years—from 1993 to 1995—and because the few examples that were sold in our market were either modded to shit or wrapped around a telephone pole makes the North American, left-hand drive FD RX-7 one hell of a unicorn to chase.

Today, no carmaker has the guts to manufacture something so insane. Sure, we’ve been teased with an RX replacement for years now, but even Mazda knows it’ll need to sell a shitload of CX-5s if it wants to cover the warranty claims related to blown apex seals and overcooked vacuum lines.

Running In The ’90s

The car you see here, painted in the super rare Competition Yellow paint job, is a pre-production model that was used for special media events by Mazda Canada in 1992, just before the car’s launch.

It’s essentially a press car that’s been sitting in a secret hangar for 25 years, occasionally being driven by company executives on vacation.

Fitted with no options and a five-speed manual gearbox, its odometer currently reads 30,000 km (about 18,000 miles). The car’s been maintained by Mazda mechanics up in Canada ever since its arrival. Suffice it to say, this is one of the best examples of this car in North America.

Climbing inside any sports car of that era after exiting something modern feels cavernous, sketchy and very smelly. Back in its heyday, the RX-7 had a reputation for being raw and very straightforward and that sensation is now amplified by ten.

As I slipped my large frame inside one of my childhood automotive heroes, I banged my head on the low, bulging roof, attempting to squeeze my wide self inside the slim bucket seat. I had to pull it back to the max to find a comfortable seating position. Also, it’s not height adjustable, but it is comfortable once you’re strapped in.

An RX-7’s cabin isn’t much roomier than the one of a current Mazda MX-5, and everything is black, functional, no-nonsense, and filled with flimsy Japanese plastics of the era. The steering wheel can’t be adjusted, so it sits on your lap, forcing you to operate the pedals with your legs spread out on each side.

I fired up the rotary engine with a physical key. The old starter coughed until the triangles putted to life, spitting out a few misfires along the way. Immediately, the car smelled of things. Oil? Gas?

Is that an emergency button in case the car overheats?

Somewhat scared and immensely excited, I released the super hard clutch as I stabbed the throttle. The chrome-ringed rpm gauge spun its needle up with urgency the way a rotary should.


Since we are talking about an FD RX-7, not many. But I was disappointed by the build quality of this car. Granted, it’s a 1990s pre-production vehicle, but the doors felt flimsy when slammed shut, and the cabin is filled with annoying rattles you don’t hear in an Acura NSX or a BMW of the same year. The RX-7 feels fragile.

Then there’s the enormous amount of heat coming out from everywhere, more specifically from the transmission tunnel. That can quickly get annoying when driving this thing around town during a super sticky Canadian summer’s day.

The car does have air conditioning, but the system isn’t all that strong by today’s standards. Add to that a very cramped interior, and a coolant temperature gauge that leans towards the H position, and you end up with a machine that constantly worries you once you’ve thrown it into the wild.

The suspension is also very stiff. Fine, it’s a sports car, but every crack, bump, and pothole feels like your fifth vertebrae just disintegrated.

Casual Driving

On paper, there isn’t much going in favor of the RX-7 as far as daily driving it goes. I mean, these things aren’t all that reliable to begin with. They’re known for overheating and destroying the vacuum lines.

It’s also a matter of time before an apex seal, the thing that insures proper compression, goes south.

Then, there’s the fact that it’s a two-seater with very limited cargo space. Sure, like a Miata, you could take it out for a weekend getaway with your spouse. Throw a few bags back there, head out into the countryside, like I did. But the trunk isn’t all that deep so it won’t fit much.

Finally, there’s the awful fuel consumption. When new, these things pulled 22 mpg at best. On average, it’ll do 18 mpg. It also consumes a significant amount of oil, so you’ll need to check that stuff on a regular basis.

So no, daily driving your RX-7 isn’t the best idea you’ve had this week.

Hard Driving

Here’s what you came for, and what I came for.

Obviously, aggressive driving is what the RX-7 does best, and yes, it does live up to its reputation. This is still a properly quick car, even by today’s standards, and it feels great to get back into a machine that doesn’t beep at you violently the moment you attempt something a little stupid.

Fine, the RX-7 does beep at you. But only when you’ve hit the eight thousand(!) rpm redline.

That’s fun. What’s also immensely addictive about the way this car makes power is the way those sequential turbos kick in. The first is there at 1,800 rpm, so you’ve got plenty of low-end torque to play with. The second snail joins the party at around 4,500 RPM.

There’s a short delay before that happens, like an awkward dead spot in the powerband, and then all hell breaks loose.

Intense, but never brutal, per se. The engine is smooth the entire way, emitting a comfortable zing and whoosh, sounding a bit like a tiny plane as it zooms down the road, feeling light as a feather, sticking to the pavement like bubble gum, gobbling up corners like the Cookie Monster, and only kicking its rear out if you really commit to punching it in the gut.

The brakes also impressed me for a car of this age. Of course, they’ve been kept intact by the heroes up at Mazda Canada, but while I was flying down an Eastern Township country road, at speeds I won’t disclose here, I could always rely on their firm bite to prevent my very rare and presumably, very expensive classic sports car to hit a moose.

And while many of the original bushings have since dried up like raisins, causing the car to be easily unsettled when driven over road imperfections (which possibly explains the rattles mentioned earlier) the RX-7 is still a spot-on handler in the twisties. It’s nimble, feels small and let’s you drive it hard with ease.

In other words, it’s never intimidating.

In many ways, the RX-7 is a lot like a Miata, actually. Simple, down to earth, confidence-inspiring and free of electronic nannies. The hydraulic steering is well-weighted. The manual gearbox is a tad notchy, but it has a pleasant mechanical feel to it, and the pedals are well spaced to have a bit of heel-and-toe fun.

There’s just an overall sensation of ultimate freedom behind the wheel of an RX-7. Even if you’re melting from the excessive heat the car generates, and losing your hair from the stress of being stranded on the side of the road, this is still one of the best performance recipes ever produced.


FD RX-7 prices are a bit all over the place because of its reputation for being unreliable with a limited amount of available spare parts. But the clean ones, the ones that have been well taken cared of with low mileage are still worth quite a lofty sum.

Essentially, the 1993 to 1995 Mazda RX-7 is going through the same value surge as the rest of the Japanese sports cars of its era. It’s now considered a classic, so if you get your hands on a cheap one, even if you need to inject some money in it, its value is bound to appreciate quickly over the next five or 10 years. So you shouldn’t lose too much on your investment.

Besides, these cars deserve to be saved for what they are. We’re probably never going to see such a machine again.


Automotive journalists quickly get carried away with the modern, technology-filled cars and trucks we have the luxury of driving on a regular basis. Getting back in a car from an entirely different era, in such good shape, feels like a time capsule from a time when things were honest, uncensored, and little rough around the edges.

The Mazda RX-7 was a car that refused to compromise. It was a weirdo of a car that was engineered to go fast and do incredible things on a racetrack using technology no other carmaker had the nerve to explore. And the only reason the car had an interior at all was because it needed a driver, or else it would be nothing more than a curvy wedge with pop-up headlights.

As I’m writing this, I’m driving a 2018 BMW M5 press car with a 600 HP, twin-turbo V8. It sprints to 60 mph from a standstill in 2.8 seconds and does the quarter mile in under 11 seconds. It’s one of the fastest production cars currently available—yet I feel nothing behind the wheel.

All I want is to get back inside that super yellow Wankel-powered coupe. I miss the time when I was sweating from a steaming hot center console, working hard to extract all the performance its spinning rotors could muster, smelling the smells, hearing the sounds, driving the car.

William Clavey is an automotive journalist in Montreal, Canada who works for Le Guide de l’auto / The Car Guide and contributes to Jalopnik. He used to run, and he’ll be happy to drive and review your cool old car if you let him.

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Your definitive Mazda RX-7 FD buyer’s guide

The third-generation Mazda RX-7—also known by its internal designation FD or FD3S—is one of the most arrestingly beautiful shapes to have ever escaped a Japanese design studio. When it went on sale in the early ’90s, its flowing lines stood in stark contrast not just to the more boxy wedge offered by the previous version of the car, but also the more aggressively linear look of rivals like the Acura NSX and the Mitsubishi 3000GT.

Conceptually, it was also quite different from its predecessor. Whereas the “FB” generation of the RX-7 had been conceived as more of a grand touring car, the FD embraced the lightweight lessons of its roots and stuck a bargain between comfort and startlingly sharp handling. As always, the RX-7 continued to showcase the potential of the rotary engine, with the 13B-REW unit now fed by a twin-turbocharged setup in a bid to balance the soaring heights of the car’s 8000-rpm redline with enough low-end torque to keep real-world driving fun, too.

Mazda built the FD RX-7 between 1992 and 2002, with three years of that production—the 1993 through 1995 model years—making it to U.S. shores. Now that the car is 25 years old and import restrictions are relaxed, clean right-hand drive examples are starting to show up from the Japanese market to buttress the relatively modest number of FDs that were sold here.

As with most of its early ’90s Japanese sports car cohorts, the cost to get behind the wheel of a concours-quality FD RX-7 has climbed appreciably over the past few years, but it remains well within the realm of the affordable: our Hagerty Valuation Tool places the price of the best third-gen RX-7 on the market at $34,500, and even sellers with stars in their eyes seldom cross the $50K barrier in terms of asking price. Running cars of varying quality range from our #3 condition value of $7500 to $20,000 as of this writing.

Yellow 1993 Mazda RX-7 front
Mazda RX-7 rear trunk badge
Mazda RX-7 front 3/4

Of course, there’s a sizable asterisk that must be appended to any RX-7’s window sticker, and that’s the extreme difficulty in finding a completely stock example. The FD was not only a star in the Fast and the Furious franchise, but its rotary engine’s potential for cheap power made it a regular target for racers both amateur and professional, which has cut a deep swath into the pool of unmodified examples. Throw in the rotary engine’s unique maintenance quirks, and the number of available RX-7s is narrowed further by owners who didn’t read the manual and couldn’t keep the car’s drivetrain healthy.

With that in mind, as with any classic it’s always a good idea to purchase the least-molested, best example you can afford rather than try to catch up with a previous owner’s deferred maintenance or attempt to fix their mistakes. What should you look for when shopping for an FD Mazda RX-7? To get the answers we talked to several long-time FD owners, as well as Jean-Pierre Derdeyn, the owner of one of North America’s premier rotary shops, Derwin Performance. With 40 years of experience working on each successive generation, Derdeyn’s depth of knowledge regarding the FD is unmatched.

RX-7 rarity

Depending on whose numbers you trust, Mazda sold roughly 13,879 examples of the FD RX-7 as 1993, 1994, and 1995 models. Of these, the rarest of all are base models equipped with an automatic transmission—just over 500 were built—as well as the 452 R2 performance package models (more on those later). Final-year FDs are also scarce, with just 500 ’95s sold as Mazda wound down North American exports (a mere 18 percent of the previous year’s production).

1993 Mazda RX-7 curvy lines

You’ll find the VIN etched into the firewall inside the engine bay, on a plate on the dashboard, and, if the car still has it, on a sticker at the rear of the driver’s side door frame. VIN numbers for the FD all start with JM1 FD 33, and are unique to their model year: in the sixth position, immediately after the check digit, you will find a P (93), an R (94), or an S (95). This is matched with a sequential serial number that again is tied to the North American model year: 200001-30000 were sold as ’93s, 300001-31000 as ’94s, and 400001-50000 as ’95s. U.S.-market cars are identified by a 1 following the 33, Canadian-market cars with a 2. Don’t worry about JDM imports—you’ll be able to easily spot them due to their right-hand drive cockpits.

There were 10 exterior colors offered with the FD RX-7, but by far the most popular was Vintage Red (paint code NU), especially during the first—and most successful—model year for the car. A full 38 percent of all third-generation RX-7s were painted this particular hue, with only the (greenish-grey) Montego Blue / Montego Blue Mica (paint code 2A / M8) coming close, with a 22-percent share.

The least-common colors are Competition Yellow Mica (paint code J9), which was only available on 350 R1-spec cars for a single model year (1993), and Chaste White (paint code PT), which was selected by a mere 5 percent of buyers. The holy grail of FD colors is Perlie, another shade of white, of which a single example was sold in 1994.

Mazda RX-7 profile
Mazda RX-7 shifter knob
Mazda RX-7 hood emblem
Mazda RX-7 rear 3/4

Inside the car, there was a choice between black, tan, or red upholstery and trim. Keep an eye out for painted center consoles and dashboards—they were black from the factory, as were the door handles, carpets, and headliner.

RX-7 Trims: Fast and loose with the options

Americans were offered four different trim levels when ordering an RX-7 from Mazda. Base cars came standard with a limited-slip differential, tape player, and cloth seats, but you could get cruise control and leather upholstery added as options. The Touring trim featured leather and cruise control right out of the box, along with a large sunroof, fog lights, rear wiper, and something called the Bose Wave Stereo, which featured a CD player and speaker assembly that ate up most of the cargo space under the RX-7’s hatch. For 1994 and ’95, you could also get something called the RX-7 PEP/PEG (Popular Equipment Package/Group, respectively) that was based on the Touring (which departed the line-up for ’95) but stripped out the rear wiper and fancy stereo and added a rear wing, with the option of fog lights.

For those interested in enhancing the car’s already exciting performance, there was the R1 (’93) and R2 (’94–95) trim. Although the names were different, the content was the same: sunroof and cruise control delete, upgraded springs, Bilstein shocks, strut bar under the hood, additional oil cooling, suede seats, and a front-lip spoiler matched by a rear wing, with no extra equipment available (and a reversion back to the simple tape deck as opposed to the Bose system). R2 springs are slightly softer than in the R1. Keep in mind that the R1/R2 wing could be added to Touring cars as an option, so make sure to check for the presence of a lip spoiler and all the other R1/R2 goodies if you’re shopping a winged car. Just over 2600 R1/R2s were sold in the U.S., with only 57 built for the 1995 model year.

Mazda RX-7 side vent detail
Mazda RX-7 wheel detail

That’s how RX-7 trim levels worked if you were playing by the rules—but it’s clear from some of the cars that have popped up for sale over the years that Mazda was cool if dealers were a little fast and loose with options availability. As a result you’ll sometimes find trims that have glass sunroofs where metal was ostensibly the only option, CD players that weren’t in the original catalog for that model, or spoilers stuck on by dealerships themselves.

On the JDM side, things are a little murkier. Mazda’s attempt to launch its own sporty sub-brand called Ẽfini in the early ’90s meant that the RX-7 was so-badged in the home market. One of the other, more-striking differences between Japanese-market RX-7s and those sold in the U.S. was the inclusion of a 2+2 seating arrangement that was never offered over here, making the car a 2+2 on paper but a knee-capper in reality, even for small children.

Trim levels varied too, with the Type S (similar to American base), Type R (similar to R1/R2), and Type X (similar to Touring) all putting in an appearance in the early years of production. By 1992 they were joined by the 300-unit Type RZ, which shed the rear seats and added aggressive Showa shock absorbers, Recaro seats, and a lightweighting program that dropped 66 pounds from the already-svelte Type R. Mazda/ Ẽfini would sell another 150 Type RZs in 1993.

That takes you to the very edge of what’s currently legal for importation to the United States based on the 25-year rule. By the 1997 model year, Ẽfini was no more, and the FD RX-7 would continue as a Mazda until 2002.

Mazda RX-7 front

Rotary Engine

Each and every third-generation Mazda RX-7 featured the same twin-turbo 1.3-liter 13B-REW Wankel rotary under the hood. Making use of a pair of sequential turbos (with one designed to deliver low-rpm boost and the other coming on around 4500 rpm), the engine was advertised as delivering 255 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 217 lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm, with an 8000-rpm redline. These numbers were enough to launch the RX-7 to 60 mph from a standing start in just five seconds, thanks in large part to its pleasingly-low 2800 pounds of curb weight.

There have been entire volumes written about the saga of maintaining, modifying, and otherwise living with the high-tech marvel that is the 13B-REW, and nearly as much hand-wringing about its reliability. Most of that anxiety is wasted energy, according to Jean-Pierre Derdeyn of Derwin Performance.

“The rotary is a very reliable engine when it has been properly maintained—in particular, when owners pay attention to the types of oil they use in the car, and the frequency with which they change that oil,” Derdeyn says. “It’s not a stretch for us to see well-maintained, stock 13B engines lasting well above 150,000 miles with no major issues. If it hasn’t been carefully maintained, a rebuild at less than half that mileage isn’t uncommon.”

Mazda rotary engine

Derdeyn’s No. 1 recommendation when evaluating a potential FD purchase is to perform a compression test. “A rotary engine’s lifespan and wear can be judged almost entirely from its compression,” he says.

You’ll need rotary-specific equipment to performance this inspection, with the factory service manual specifying 100 psi (690 kPA) for each chamber, with a maximum variance of 21 psi (150 kPa) between the four. Anything lower than 85 psi and you could be looking at a rebuild in the near future. Poor compression can often be linked to either a leaking side seal or broken apex seal.

Oil consumption is standard

The Wankel design is unique in that it actually burns oil as part of the combustion process, and it’s for this reason that Derdeyn recommends against using synthetic oils in the 13B. He stresses that it’s important to ask the seller not just how often the oil was changed, but also what type of oil has been used in the car.

“Synthetics don’t burn, and rotaries by design need to burn oil,” he says. “With synthetics, you end up with deposits and varnishes inside the combustion chambers, and eventually damage the apex seals as well as the soft seals inside the motor. It’s common for FD owners to run a mineral oil as a result—preferably one with a high zinc content, which is another necessity for rotary longevity—or to block off the oil-metering pump on the motor and instead add two-stroke engine oil, which is designed to be combusted, in the fuel tank. A third option, which is what I run on my own personal cars, is to connect the metering pump to a secondary tank filled with two-stroke oil. This allows me to run a high zinc-content synthetic oil from Brad Penn without having to worry about the combustion issue.”

That the FD RX-7 is consuming oil on a regular basis means you’ll also want to see oil change records and pay attention to the intervals. Shorter intervals than the factory 7500-mile recommendation are better, because it means that the previous owner was more vigilant about not just oil condition, but oil level, which is crucial for the RX-7. Most recommendations are for oil changes in the 3000- to 5000-mile range, with the latter representing the outside edge. Some owners are completely unaware that the engine burns oil at all, which makes checking those records that much more important.

Mazda RX-7 interior
Mazda RX-7 security and overheat buttons

Crazy from the heat

Heat is also the enemy of FD reliability, and it can manifest itself in a number of ways when inspecting the 13B. One of the most common issues found is in the “rat’s nest,” which is the term lovingly applied to the extremely complex system of vacuum lines used to control the sequential twin-turbo system.

“I replaced all 67 of the vacuum hoses with (synthetic rubber) Viton hoses,” says Bill Strohm, who bought the FD that he shares with his wife new in 1994. “The originals get stiff and become more like plastic than rubber due to how hot it gets in the engine bay. I also replaced all of my coolant hoses connecting the radiator, the heater, and the turbo at the same time.”

Derdeyn agrees that hoses in the rat’s nest are a common source of misery when it comes to turbo problems. “I also recommend inspecting and potentially changing the engine wiring harness, too. These cars are 25 years old at this point, and the harness is notorious for drying out and becoming brittle to the point where it can cause intermittent electrical problems.”

General engine-specific test drive advice for the FD RX-7 includes hooking up a boost gauge to the intake manifold and have a passenger verify that the turbos are healthy. You’ll want to see no more than 10 psi until the mid-4000 mark, where it will drop briefly to 8 psi as the second turbocharger comes online, then return to 10 psi. Anything higher than 10 psi means you’re looking at a car that’s been modified.

Mazda RX-7 gauge cluster
Mazda RX-7 side mirror
Mazda RX-7 tail pipes
Mazda RX-7 climate and radio control

Other positive things to look for: a temperature gauge that hits the middle mark and stays there, a warm engine idle around the 800-rpm mark paired with a vacuum reading of 16-inHg minimum, and a lack of any gasoline or burned rubber smells from the engine bay with the motor running. Some cars have a finicky fifth-gear synchronizer, which you can check during the test drive to see if it smoothly moves into place, while others may have a malfunctioning tachometer (which is repairable).

RX-7 FD and originality

Although we’ve cautioned you against picking up a non-stock RX-7, not all modifications are bad when it comes to purchasing an FD—and in fact, some are viewed as necessary by those who drive these cars on a regular basis. Known collectively as the “reliability mods,” they primarily tackle the issues associated with the Wankel’s high operating temperatures (which are inextricably linked to the emissions requirements of its era).

Bill Strohm swapped in the previous-generation RX-7 fan switch. “I found that the FD fan switch threshold is 255° F, which in my opinion is much too high, so I replaced it with the FC switch, which causes the fans to run at medium speed at a lower temperature.”

Mazda RX-7 clean interior

Another FD owner replaced the pre-cat with a downpipe, which drops engine bay temps considerably, and also added an aluminum radiator and replaced all vacuum hoses.

In addition, you may encounter cars that have replaced the stock plastic air separation tank in the cooling system with an aluminum one sourced from an aftermarket manufacturer, or simply bypassed it completely. The factory units dry out and crack, unceremoniously dumping all the car’s coolant on the pavement. The oil metering modifications mentioned above also qualify as common reliability mods.

Everything else is low stress

With so much focus on the RX-7’s engine, you’ll be happy to find that there aren’t really any other pain points on the car to consider.

The body of the FD isn’t known for corrosion issues, but given that most examples are now a quarter-century old, you’ll want to check the inside of the wheel arches at each corner, the door sills, and the rear box sections for rust. Occasionally, water can collect under the tail lights, under the back bumper cover, and inside the spare wheel well for vehicles that have been stored outside or used often in the rain. If the vehicle you are inspecting has the rear spoiler deleted, check to make sure the factory holes were plugged too or you could be looking at rust inside the hatch itself.

Mazda RX-7 hood up engine bay
Mazda RX-7 trunk hatch up

“You’ll want to look at suspension components, too, which are just regular wear items at this point,” Derdeyn explains. “The rear pillow ball bushings, the front suspension bushings—standard suspension maintenance.”

Derdeyn also cautions that while it is still possible to get FD parts from Mazda directly, the car is right on the cusp of sliding into obscurity from a factory components perspective. This is particularly prevalent when searching for certain interior components, such as armrests, so keep that scarcity in mind if the interior of the car you are looking at looks a bit beat.

Speaking of wear, you’ll also want to look for any signs that the car has led a different lifestyle than what the seller has described. A garage queen with rock chips all over the nose? A low-miles car with significant seat bolster wear? A “well-maintained” example without matching maintenance records? Common sense is crucial when attempting to separate fact from fiction on a sports car of this age.

yellow 1993 Mazda RX-7

What should you pay for an RX-7 FD?

The best FDs have shot up in value over the last three years, and the best examples in the world now top out at an average of $34,500. With that being said, #2-condition (Excellent) examples that you won’t feel awful about driving can still be found for an average of $22,600, and Good examples for $13,500. The smart route here is to focus more on condition, sensible modifications, and service history more than mileage. For the moment prices peaked in January 2018, but with the way Japanese sports cars of this era are climbing, quality FDs should at least hold their value for the time being.

What are you waiting for?

The 1993–95 Mazda RX-7 is a masterpiece of Japanese sports car design that still feels vital in a modern context. Comfortable to drive in modern traffic, and really no more troublesome than any of its piston-driven contemporaries provided proper care and maintenance are part of the ownership experience (along with due diligence prior to purchase), the FD provides a rare opportunity to own a vehicle that’s wholly unlike anything on the current landscape of performance cars.

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1992 Mazda FD RX-7 (FD3S) - 100% stock! - Walk-Around and Test Drive

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]



  1. ^ abcdeLong, Brian (2004). RX-7. Dorchester: Veloce Publishing. p. 206. ISBN .
  2. ^Lewis-George, Elliot (2013). Berg, Nik (ed.). "Mazda Heroes #1 – Ikuo Maeda". Zoom-Zoom Magazine (16): 6. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  3. ^ abHogg, Tony (ed.). "1981 Buyer's Guide". Road & Track's Road Test Annual & Buyer's Guide 1981 (January–February 1981): 105.
  4. ^Büschi, Hans-Ulrich, ed. (March 10, 1983). Automobil Revue '83 (in German and French). 78. Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag, AG. p. 363. ISBN .
  5. ^"Development of Low-Emission Rotary EnginesArchived 2010-01-16 at the Wayback Machine", Mazda Motor Corporation
  6. ^Dieudonne, Pierre (1983-12-15). "Ballade Japonaise: à la découverte des Mazda Turbo" [Japanese ballad: Discovering the Mazda Turbos]. Le Moniteur de l'Automobile (in French). 34 (784): 40.
  7. ^Dieudonne, pp. 43-44
  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.
  16. ^"Mazda pays tribute to the RX-7". Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  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". 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". Retrieved 2018-11-16.
  23. ^"2001 Mazda RX-7 Type R Bathurst | Review |". 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". 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". 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
  32. ^"Mazda RX-7 FD3S Series 8 (Version V + Version VI)". Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  33. ^"The Mazda RX-7 (FD) is Beautifully Engineered". beautifully engineered. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  34. ^[permanent dead link]
  35. ^"New Mazda RX-7 to launch by 2017".
  36. ^"Mazda RX-7 to Return in 2017". CarBuzz.
  37. ^Tisshaw, Mark (2015-10-28). "Mazda RX-Vision rotary-engined sports car concept revealed".

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.

Rx7 stock

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