Thursday 25th July 2013


MAZDA RX-7: SPOTTED

The great Mazda that isn't an MX-5 or RX-8, now available for very little money


Looks great, doesn't it? Normally adorned with Veilside's finest, it's easy to disregard just what a pretty thing an untouched FD RX-7 can be. No spoilers, no skirts, standard 16-inch wheels... lovely.

M5 is the seller's too; a PHer of fine taste!
M5 is the seller's too; a PHer of fine taste!
Though there are a few RX-7s for sale on PH (19 at the time of writing), many are either Fast and Furious imitations, non-UK imports or pristine show ponies. To find a usable, cosmetically unmodified UK car is extremely rare. And exciting.

I've used 'cosmetically unmodified' as there are a couple of tiny tweaks under the bonnet. When the engine was rebuilt 11,000 miles ago (right when RX-7 engines tend to detonate, at 60,000 miles), the owner fitted an Apexi induction kit and Racing Beat exhaust. Sure, it would be good to have car free from any non-OEM additions, but they aren't fundamental modifications and should be reversible too.

The rest of K69 PLE really is standard though, and all the better for it. A recent respray in Mazda Vintage Red means the paintwork is gleaming, and the wheels were refurbed at the same time also. The interior is as relentlessly black as it was in 1992, the lights (should) pop up rather than glare through fibreglass and the plain, quite basic dials haven't been substituted for a garish digital set up.

Inteior best described as 'functional'
Inteior best described as 'functional'
But over and above all else, the RX-7s beautiful dynamics remain untarnished by any attempts to improve it. Though its 1,300kg kerbweight is perhaps more than expected given its petite silhouette, the 50:50 weight distribution, low centre of gravity and firm suspension give the RX-7 wonderful responses. The engine was front mid-mounted, something many supercar manufacturers will boast about today; slotting the lightweight rotary there meant turn-in was scalpel sharp and understeer became notable by its absence.

The RX-7 used sequential turbos, with one boosting from 1,800rpm to about 4,500rpm, the larger turbo taking over from there to 8,000rpm. Who said turbos won't rev? With 240hp from the 1,308cc rotary, Mazda claimed a sub-six second sprint to 60mph and a 155mph top speed.

Design still looks fresh two decades on
Design still looks fresh two decades on
As a rare (just 124 came to the UK) and talented car, that this RX7 can be bought for 6,995 seems outstanding value. Finding a comparable challenging; this early E36 M3 is less expensive but simply won't be as sharp to drive, whilst UK Supras are costlier also. A Porsche 968 CS with similar miles is more than 15K and the other Japanese contemporaries aren't too alluring: 300ZX, Soarer or 3000GT anyone?

It may be a bold claim, but the RX-7 probably remains Mazda's peak when it comes to driver's cars. It isn't quite as accessible as an MX-5, but it seems churlish to level such a complaint at a 6,995 RX-7.


MAZDA RX-7
Engine:
1,308cc twin-rotor, twin-turbo
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Power (hp): 240@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 218@5,000rpm
MPG: Not many...
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1992
Recorded mileage: 71,549
Price new: c. 35,000
Yours for: 6,995

See the original advert here

Author: Matt Bird
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