(Reading time: 5 - 10 minutes)
- Published: Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:37
The Mazda RX-7 also known as the Ẽfini was was the dawn of a new type of sports car back in 1978, it was the coming of the rotary sports car engine. As soon as the car appeared the it was pitted against such cars as Nissan Fairlady Z. The Mazda had a totally different type of styling, inspired by Colin Chapman's Lotus Elan 2+2 and unlike other sports models it ran a different type of engine a Wankel twin-rotor rotary engine, the RX7 utilised a midship, rear drive system , the perfect balance for racing. The predecessor to the new car was RX-3 (in Japan the Savanna) the rotary engine replaced all Mazda's.
Since the beginning of production 811,634 Mazda RX-7 cars were manufactured, it also achieved Car & Driver's Top Ten Best 5 times.
It was a real sports coupe, different to cars such as the TR6 or other sports saloons. The Mazda RX7 and its Wankel rotary sporting its lightweight build was the power behind the automobile. The car was avaiable in the US as a coupe 2 seater, in Japan, Australia and some other locations was available as a four seater.
First generation RX7 (SA/FB)
This series the SA22C was the 1st series, it came with crude exposed steel bumpers and number plate plate recess highly-mounted, the car was famously criticised by Road & Track critic Werner Buhrer as Baroque depression.
The Series 2 running from 1981 to 1983 had smoother plastic-coated bumpers integrated into the RX7 cars body, Mazda tried to achieve a more sporty look with this car by adding wide black rubber body side mouldings, wrap around rear lenses upgraded engine and ECU. The GSL came with many optional extras including disc brakes all round, Limited rear slip dif clutch type version (LSD). This model was available in the US, the rest of the world, could only purchase the earlier the RX-7 SA22C until 1986, when the next gen was released.
The Series 3 (1984 to 1985) featured a lower front fascia and different instrument clocks. The RX7 GSL continued into this series of the car, however Mazda had another idea the introduction of the GSL-SE sub-model. This version was equipped with fuel injection and a 1.3 L 13B-RESI engine, this produced 135 bhp with 135 lb-ft torque. It also came with the same options as the earlier version, though the brakes rotors were bigger, this allowed Mazda to utilise the common lug nut, in addition to this the suspension was stiffened the springs and shocks, and just for good measure an upgraded oil cooler was added.
The 1984 Mazda RX-7 S runs approx 29 mpg gallon and the
NSU-Wankel accelerates from 0 to 50 in 6.3 seconds.
The car has exceptional handling & acceleration making standout back in the 80's. This gen RX-7 had 4-link rear suspension with custome live axle and the fact it had a 50/50 weight distribution ratio, and weighed in at just under 2600 lb, the lightest version ever produced. The RX7 or efini was capable of reaching 60 mph in 9.2 s and ran at 100 bhp @ 6000 rpm,and achieved a max speed of 120 mph (190 km/h). The Wankel rotary engine created very little harshness at high revs, for this reason a buzzer was added to the tacho as an warning aid to the driver quickly coming close to the red line.
The Generation 2 cars varied globally. Over 474,565 first generation Mazda RX7 cars were produced; many of these infact 377,878 were sold in the US alone.
Second generation (FC)
Series 4 1986 - 1988 this had a naturally aspirated, fuel-injected 13B-VDEI Wankel Rotary capable of producing 146 bhp. As an option turbocharged model was availabale this was known as the RX7 Turbo II, this came with 182 bhp.
Series 5 1989 this version featured upgraded styling and ECU, the Wankel rotary engine rotors were lightened also the compression ratio was increased to 9.7:1 for the naturally aspirated cars, the Turbo RX7 had a ratio of 9.0:1 for the turbo model. The Turbo II moniker was eventually dropped from the range, the turbocharged RX7 model was then known as dubbed Turbo. The Series 5 FC produced 160 hp, the Series 5 Turbo was capable of creating 200 bhp.
The second generation RX7 was comletely restyled somewhat mirroring the infamous Porsche 944. The SA22/FB was a real sports car, the FC however was more a sports touring car. The Handling of the 2nd Gen was upgraded, oversteer was reduced which was the main problem of the FB. The car was given rack and pinion steering, all round disc brakes became factory standard, however the following Models S4: GXL, GTU, Turbo II, Convertible; S5: GTUs, Turbo, Convertible were fitted with 4 piston front brakes. The rear suspension was upgraded and made independent with a toe control hub to increase a certain degree of passive rear steering. The rear seats were added as an option to the FC RX-7 however these are rare.
The RX7 FC was 80lbs heavier but still had admiration from the press. Winning various awards. The convertible version of the was released in 1988 available as an atmospheric or turbocharged model, this created an overnight success. Production ceased in October 1991, however Mazda manufactured 500 limited edition RX7 convertible cars for 1992. The Japanese & UK were treated to a turbo version of the convertible.
The Japanese market was limited to only the RX7 turbo; an atmospheric version was available only as an export.
The second generation RX7 Mazda did the best overall, with 86,000 sold in 1986 throughout the US alone.
Mazda RX7 Third generation (FD)
The Series 6 1992 - 1995 was exported globally, this version achieved the highest sales. The Japanese Mazda company branded & sold the RX-7 as the Efini RX-7.
The 1993 - 1995 RX7 model were only available in the U.S. and Canada.
Series 8 January 1999 August 2002 was the last RX7 series manufactured and sold, initially available to only European markets & Australia. The car was given upgraded turbochargers, intercooling and radiator cooling.
The interior was overhauled. The rear wing was given the option to adjust it. The No1 the RX7 Type RS came fitted with Bilstein dampers and springs, 17 Inch alloys as standard, the weight was reduced to 1280 kg.
The Jap auto was capable of producing 276 bhp & 243 ft per lb of torque limited to Japanese law. The actual figures were closer 290 to 308 bhp. The RZ version came with Type RS extras, but even lighter 1270 kg. It came with limited edition gun-metal BBS alloys and red racing interior. It was even given an upgraded 16-bit ECU and ABS system, this allowed it to brake independently with each wheel, this gave more controlled steering while turning & during braking.
The third and final generation of the RX-7, FD (FD3S for the JDM and JM1FD for the USA VIN), was an outright sports car by Japanese standards. The 3rd Gen RX7 13B-REW was the 1st mass-produced sequential twin-turbocharged car ever to be exported from Japan, this addition gave the car 255 bhp and finally 280 bhp with the formation of the gentlemen's agreement on engine power agreed by Mazda.
Playboy rated the RX-7 a better car than the Dodge Viper. The FD won Playboy's Car of the Year for 1993. The most desirable RX-7 was the final 1,500 run-out specials. The RX7 Spirit R available in 3 versions the Spirit RA , RB and RC, Spirit R Accounts for 1000 of the 1500 cars made, fitted with 5-speed manual gear box, recognised as the best performer of all. Its available as a 4 seater, with sports manual 5 speed box, however the 'The Spirit C' came as a 4-speed auto box.
The Touring Model of the RX7 Spirit comes with a sun roof, BOSE stereo.
Limited edition RX7 models
Australia had a special high performance the Mazda RX-7 SP, a road-going racing car, driven in the 12hr Bathhurst Endurance race, An initial run of 25 were manufactured in 1991, with an additional 10 added due to demand. The RX-7 SP produced 274 bhp and 263 ft lbf of torque, The car came with a race-inspired nose cone, proven racing wing mounted at the rear, 17 inch alloys, upgraded brakes, upgraded intercooler, exhaust & ECU. The weight of the car was made lighter a carbon fibre bonnet and seats, this reduced the overall weight to 1218 kg (from 1310 kg), this car was capable of challenging the Porsche 968CSRS. The Mazda RX-7SP achieved victory, an RX7SP Bathhurst was released in 2001.
RX7 Modifications & Mazdaspeed
There are many performance houses including Mazdaspeed who sell kits for conversions targetted mainly at the more popular 20B engine Stillen and Pettit Racing specialise in this. The conversion usually comprises of the twin sequential turbo being replaced for a single bigger turbo in such conversions. Such 3-rotor configurations typically produce 550hp and a top speed of well over 200 MPH.
The Third Gen RX-7s are notorious for over heating. Out of the factory 1 out of 3 engines had to be rebuilt within a short period.
(Reading time: 4 - 8 minutes)
- Published: Tuesday, 28 May 2013 18:33
The company first emerged in 1920, Mazda actually started as a small manufacturer of cork in Hiroshima, Japan. Today the Global car company is recognized as a leading car manufacturer recognised for its many achievements and array of cars from the MX-5 to the RX-7.
1920 - Tokyo Cork Togyo Co, LTD is founded in Hiroshima, Japan.
1931 - Production of moves towards motor vehicles, Mazda release their 1st three-wheeled truck.
1960 - This is the decade that Mazda started manufacturing cars at a higher rate, the R380 Coupe is introduced, recognised as the 1st 2-door car.
1961 - Mazda introduce the first compact pickup, the B-Series 1500.
1962 - The Carol 600 is introduced, the of its kind a 4-door car.
1967 - Mazda's trademark the rotary engine is first released in the form of the Cosmo Sports 11OS.
1970 - Mazda Motor of America (N.W.), Inc is born - This was marked by mass production of the rotary engine the R100 coupe, this car utilised the same engine as the Cosmo .
1971 - Next to be launched was the the RX-2, this marked the beginning of the RX supercar series, initially released only in the US. The car was available in either a 2-door coupe or 4-door saloon, and came with a rear wheel drive system. It was the 1st car in America to use the 12A rotary engine.
1972 - The success of the Mazda 12A rotary engine and rear wheel drive meant the release of the next incarnation the RX-3. A little more compact than the RX-2, available in either a 2-door coupe, 4-door saloon and estate version. The high performance of the RX-2 and RX-3 cars gave Mazda cars a certain reputation for designing and building competition street and track cars. The performance of the rotary engined cars rivalled V-8s, even European sports cars such as Porsche. These cars are somewhat rare today and are hardly ever seen, however some do still exist and still compete on the track.
1974 - Mazda decided to introduce a 110 bhp 13B rotary engine RX-4 coupe a mid sized car, saloon, and estate(wagon). The 13B had a greater displacement, advanced cooling and uprated rotor seals, even better fuel economy and the advantage of lower emissions than its predecessors. In
1975 - This year saw the introduction of the world famous revised Mazda typeface, still in use today.
1976 - The RX-4 was renamed the Cosmo, this model was seen as the one of the most luxurious cars in
1977 - Mazda saw the introduction of the GLC. The car originally was a rear wheel drive, this car used a piston-engine. This marked the changeover to piston-engines for non-sportscar models. The GLC slowly changed into the 323, inturn to the 3.
1978 - This year marked the introduction of the RX-7. The car was a very light, front-engined rear wheel drive 2 seater sports car, it was designed to fully utilise the rotary engine and its capabilities. This technology and design earned it Car of the Year 1978, it gained worldwide recognition even making the 10 Best list in Car and Driver magazine no less than 5 times. The 1000'000th rotary powered Mazda vehicle was manufactured, the 626 was introduced, a rear wheel drive saloon car & finally the B2000 pickup truck was released.
1979 - This year was a major marker for Mazda, in 24-hours of Daytona the RX-7 placed 1st and 2nd, and drove to victory in its 1st of 7 GTU series championships.
1980 - Mazda release their first front-wheel drive car to be sold solely in the US ,the GLC is redesigned to suit the American market, the car back in Japan receives 1980-1981 Japanese Car of the Year award.
1982 / 84 - The 626 redesign is introduced, this earns the car many global awards one of which: 1983 Import Car of the Year courtesy of Motor Trend.
1985 - The Mazda RX-7 after 7 years at the top is redesigned by, the new model now features rack-and-pinion steering, rear suspension on each wheel working independently and a 200 bhp engine running a turbocharger. The long waited B-Series Pick-up is introduced. The infamous RX-7 shatters the IMSA record for 1 car - 67 victories.
1986 - Mazda feel the need for a Hot hatch to suit the up and coming market featuring such cars as the Golf GTI 16V and Peugeot 205 GTI, a 4 wheel drive turbocharged 323 GTX is released. The RX-7 receives more credit and is named Motor Trend Import Car of the Year 1986.
NEWS FLASH 1986 - The Mazda RX-7 sets a record of 238.442 mph at the Bonneville National Speed Trial in the SCTA’s C/Grand Touring Class.
1987 - The 1 st Convertible Mazda RX-7, in the US, is introduced. The new Mazda factory in Flat Rock, Michigan starts production production reaches reaches 20 million vehicles manufactured in Japan.
1988 - A relatively quiet year, the introduction to N USA for the MPV.
1989 - The beginning of an era, the MX-5 Miata is unveiled February, Chicago Auto Show, the car was so popular sales commenced the July after, becoming an overnight success and a cult sensation globally.
1991 - Mazda are victorious in the LeMans 24-Hour Endurance Race racing the 787B car No.55 a first victory Japanese car utilising the rotary engine.
1992 - Efini 276 BHP standard released, this car features dump valve engine power in excess of 300 BHP & comes with Enkei Wheels
1992 - The RX-7 is redesigned and unveiled introduced as the 3rd Generation, it was decided the car should be redesigned to suit the 90's. Therefore a pure high-powered rotary engine sports car would be given a power increase through the utilisation of a highly tuned 255 hp refinement of the 13B and the added power & acceleration of sequential twin-turbochargers the first available in the US. This matched with engine power-to-weight ratio recognised as record breaking and of course the added reputation to being one of the best handling cars ever.
The Mazda receives Motor Trend magazine award 'Import Car of the Year'
1993 - 'Only the Strong' film released this introduces Zoom-Zoom-Zoom, now globally associated to Mazda as there slogan.
1995 - This year sees the end of importing the RX-7 into the US, this is mainly due to very high insurance rates and a high currency conversion from the yen-to-dollar ratio.
The Japanese giant Mazda celebrates their 75th Anniversary, also its 25 years since they started doing business in the U.S.
1996 - A major mark in Japanese car maunfacturing, due to Scottish born Henry Wallace being appointed as CEO, 1st time a Japanese car company has appointed a non-Japanese CEO.
1997 - The MX-5 Miata flattens all competition and receives the award 'All Stars' the seventh year consecutively.
1998 - Mazda debut the second generation MX-5 Miata one of the stars of the Chicago Auto Show.
2000 - The first SUV for is released.
2002 - The 6 is released receiving 60 global awards.
Mazda astound the world with the reintroduction of the rotary sports car the RX-8, the new car is powered by the new RENESIS rotary engine. Almost immediately the car receives numerous awards including Car and Driver 10 Best award and All star 2004 to name just a few.
MAZDASPEED emerge with the 170 hp turbocharged sports car a first of its kind extending the excellent reputation of high end tuner.
2003 - The 3 is launched globally.
2004 - The special edition Mazdaspeed MX-5 is released, much to the delight of its dedicated fans. SpeedSource Racing RX-8 takes both titles of driver and team championship.
2005 - A 274 bhp 4-wheel-drive MAZDASPEED 6 is introduced, making this the most powerful US model.