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The Mazda RX7. A recap

By Rigval on 04 Jan 2010

Attached Image We've now read in here that the new Mazda RX7 may make a reappearance within the next few years. This fact has made a lot of car enthusiasts happy, including me. Throughout the years I have had my bottom in the seat of one of these models whether as a passenger or as a driver, starting from a friend's first generation “Savana” FB series, the second generation FC series to the revered third generation FD series “Efini”.

The Wankel rotary engine utilized in the RX7, while somehow sounding pretty perverted, is turbine like in smoothness and is extremely refined even in turbo state. Aside from occasional oil seal failures to the engine and the fact that it seems to love petrol more than most normal 4 stroke engines driving and owning any of the past RX7s is a pretty good thing to do if you're a car enthusiast. Mazda's in general have surprisingly good build quality as well as interiors that feel good to the touch and lasts a long time. The ride of most RX7s are pretty good, hard but very acceptable and trips throughout the Peninsular Malaysia would not be tiring, if you kept the shocks stock of course. I think this is mainly down to the rigid nature of the car itself as well as Mazda's engineers doing it right with the suspension in the first place.

The differences between the FB series and the FC series is that the FB had a design dossier like the FD series in that both were made to be sports cars while the FC was slightly heavier in build and took up a more grand tourer style of design. This is quite true in that the FC was the heaviest among the three and it was actually designed with input from studies on the American sports car market and the Porsche 944. Honestly I have no idea why anyone would study the American sports car market unless it was for drivers who liked straight lines and disliked windy roads. Not to mention the cars America made at that point of time (and to this day) were big, softly sprung monsters that could hardly be the final word in sporting.

Having said that, I sometime ago had driven a basically stock red colored FC series RX7 turbo with the exception of larger rims (somewhat like the one pictured in the photo) in anger and I did enjoy the very aggressive rear differential that it was equipped with. Meaning that I had to ensure changing down at the proper rev range as failure to do so would mean wheel lockup most of the time, making the tires chirp at every badly made downshift. The upside of this is that when it corners in anger, the tail is incredibly mobile. But I'd suggest a decent hand and a gentle right foot in the wet. The fact that its a front engined and rear wheel driven car meant that the Nardi steering wheel feels positive and uncorrupted by power made things nicer. The overall solid feeling and ride made the experience even better. Yes the 200 or so bhp did not feel all that great. I think this was mainly due to it having to pull over 1350kgs of over engineered vehicle weight and a fat guy like me in it. Of course, you then have friends who tune the heck out of these cars and I can tell you readers that a 300bhp tuned version is a different animal altogether. I have a friend who bought his series 5 FC RX7 turbo in 1992 and he's still using it today. If you asked him why he's still with that car he'll tell you that it is a stonking car to drive and tune; and the fact that his car now is a 450bhp+ Ferrari chaser is also why he refuses to part with it, stating that he doesn't think any other ride can come close to matching his RX7 including the newer FD RX7. But don't ask him how many engines he has swapped though. Its all about passion in a brand I suppose.

Speaking about the FD RX7, I think the main reason why he didn't swap to the newer one is that he's a chap that's around six feet tall and if you read about the FD series, you'd know that Mazda went back to its roots to create a pure sports car. Mazda ensured that the car was 100kgs lighter than the FC series and it was packaged in a car with a tautly stretched skin over the mechanics. It looked superb. Beautiful in its execution and extremely fast in the correct hands. Now as it was an out and out sports car, it is small. Hence the trouble that my friend may encounter if he bought that car. He'd have to duck most of the time. Actually if you're slightly rounded in built, you'd also encounter the fact that you'd have to wriggle yourself into a very 'cozy' interior. Too cozy if you're huge. I'm lucky that I still fit in the driver's seat and the steering wheel does not rub against my belly. It only takes me a few seconds longer than normal to fit in it. After that, you'll find yourself at the wheel of a car that's extremely mobile, fast and one that reacts to your inputs with intimacy that'll be hard to find in cars costing much more than the money it costs you to get your hands on one of these RX7 Efinis pictured below.

Attached Image

And with that, I end this article with the fact that I am indeed looking forward to another out and out, pure sports car. This may happen as Mazda already has a tourer with the RX8 and this new RX7 is what we should welcome with open arms.

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

  • 1
Sw20 Jan 04 2010 08:57 PM
Good job!!! You're one person who has done his home work!
You should do more write up on how it performs as a racer, rather than a car that just sits. Talking about acceleration and tune up is a plus point.

FC3S is my favourite compared to the FD3S. FC has a shorter wheel base and narrower than the FD. FD being wider and a longer wheel base, gives it stability in corners which sometimes tend to understeer. FC on the other hand, has the tendency to "snap" in corners and oversteer. As a driver, I love cars that oversteer. For those who tends to panic in situations, FC3S would not make a practical car to buy and is definitely not for beginners.

Anyway, good job for the write up. Try to write about driving dynamics of the car. Driving dynamics as in, how a race car position is like and how far must your eyes travel to view the road to mirrors to speedo. Also, how does a car respond to fast entry cornering, stability in mid corners and how does it react in exiting corners. A car moves, it doesn't stay at park. No point talking about paper performance.

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