RE: Mazda RX-7: PH Buying Guide

RE: Mazda RX-7: PH Buying Guide

Monday 16th October 2017

Mazda RX-7: PH Buying Guide

An icon of 90s Japanese performance cars, the RX-7 is now a rare classic - here's how to get the best



The pace of development among supercars was rampant in the early 1990s, yet one of the most exotic cars of the period came from a much more humble manufacturer: Mazda. Its third generation RX-7, known as the FD, came with a twin-turbo twin rotary engine that set it apart from the herd in more ways than just its design.

Well if there's a Bathurst available
Well if there's a Bathurst available
Power started at 255hp thanks to sequential turbocharging that meant the first turbine came on song at low revs, while the second didn't kick in until 4,500rpm. That meant 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds and an engine that was unusually smooth with a very different sound to most rivals' four- or six-cylinder units.

Power was increased by 10hp in 1996 for the Series 7 models, which used an improved ECU, while the Series 8 came with 280hp when it arrived at the beginning of 1999.

Praised for its handling and dynamic ability, the RX-7 still proved a tough sell in the UK and in other important markets around the world. By 1996, Mazda dropped it from its official UK line-up even after lowering the price to £26,000 from the initial £34,000.

Buyers stayed away and sales in the UK are estimated in the hundreds, with only 164 reportedly sold through dealers. However, there are many more imports available and the ease of tuning of the RX-7 has ensured its popularity with drifters, racers and track day fans.

Prices are going up as numbers go down...
Prices are going up as numbers go down...
It remains a great road car, too, so finding a looked after example now will entertain and excite drivers who appreciate the simple rear-wheel-drive coupe format. They have plenty to choose from thanks to R, RS, RZ RB, A-Spec and Touring versions, the latter fitted with a four-speed auto in place of the five-speed manual in all the others. You may also come across cars badged as an Efini, which was a Mazda's sports brand in Japan.

Rarity has pushed RX-7 FD prices up in recent years and buyers are now more likely to want an original car than one that's been modified. Prices for a genuine UK car start at £20,000 for an immaculate example. Half that will get you an import in good condition.


PHer's view:
"The FD is a modern classic. The looks, the performance and that engine all set it apart from other coupes. Just glad I got one before prices go crazy."
John Salter


Introduction
Powertrain
Rolling Chassis
Body
Interior
At a glance
Search for Mazda RX-7s here

 

 

Author
Discussion

big_rob_sydney

Original Poster:

2,096 posts

127 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Big fan of these.

The 13B turbo can be wrung out to silly horsepower numbers, and those wanting even more can go for the 20B engine.

Australia has been modifying these for drag racing purposes for decades, and have many strong passes down the quarter mile. Coupled with relatively light weight, these make for a great car, just a shame that local support seems difficult here in the UK.

The Green Triangle

70 posts

19 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Love these. One of the best looking cars of the 90s.

V8RX7

16,018 posts

196 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Talk about dumbing down "PH Buying Guide"

So what price are they ?

£20K and £10K - you're looking in the wrong places - they start around £5k

What should I look for ?

A COMPRESSION TEST !

Why not just lose the car pics and put up a topless girl.

rolleyes


unsprung

2,395 posts

57 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
The Green Triangle said:
Love these. One of the best looking cars of the 90s.
+1 coffee

F1GTRUeno

3,806 posts

151 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Honestly would want a bone stock one.
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kambites

54,922 posts

154 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Back when these were dirt cheap I rather fancied the idea of buying one with a knackered engine and transplanting a 231 RX8's unit into it.

BIRMA

2,383 posts

127 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Great cars, they made a Bathurst X which is the one I had. Apart from engine re-builds, excessive fuel consumption they were just sublime such a smooth revving engine.

samoht

758 posts

79 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Good overview.

I still love my FD. It's not just the turbo rotary, it's the looks, the shrink-wrapped compactness, the turn-in, the balance, did I mention the way it looks?

There tend to be a lot of bad cars out there, so be careful. History, not just the service kind but also on a forum thread, is helpful; the more modified a car is, the more care is needed. Good FDs do exist!

If finding a good car is half the battle, finding a good specialist to maintain it is the other half. If you manage both, you're free to enjoy a really special, exciting car at what are still quite attainable prices.

F1GTRUeno said:
Honestly would want a bone stock one.
That's what I thought, but the stock intercooler and rad don't really hold up on track, so if you want to do trackdays then you'll get into engine mods. Then the stock sequential turbos can take a lot of work to get working reliably, an aftermarket wheel makes more space for your knees, ...
Having said that, it doesn't need suspension mods unless you really want to get the best out of sticky rubber, the stock turbos are great when working, and the stock brakes hold up well on track with good pads, especially the RS-spec ones on the 17"-shod cars.

kambites

54,922 posts

154 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
How easy are they to work on? The engine bay looks a nightmare for access but that might just be because it's so unfamiliar to someone used to a piston engine.

cib24

641 posts

86 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Hang on. Some corrections are needed here.

If you only drive on the road change the oil every 2,000-3,000 miles. Just use mineral 10w-40 to keep costs down as the rotary doesn't need synthetic.

If you track the car change the oil after a track day. The more time you spend at WOT the more oil you will use so don't expect 1L per 1,000 miles if you hoon everywhere.

MPG on the highway is about 24-26 mpg driving 70-80mph.

MPG in the city is about 14-18 mpg in London.

Finally, compression in the 7's and 8's bar is basically a new or low mileage motor. Compression in the 6s is just fine and will last several thousand miles. Car's will run with compression in the 5's just fine but then you are getting close to rebuild territory.

A bog standard rebuild of the entire motor will cost you about £2,500 to £3,000 by a specialist. But no one with a FD goes for a bog standard rebuild. You usually port it, use aftermarket apex seals and try to make more power via more boost or a larger single turbo.

I own a 1999 Type RS that is nearly standard like the car used in this piece.



Edited by cib24 on Monday 16th October 19:55

cib24

641 posts

86 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
And 0-60 is around 5 seconds for an early car and sub 5 seconds for a late spec one. They will do mid to low 13s standard in the 1/4 mile.

cib24

641 posts

86 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
samoht said:
That's what I thought, but the stock intercooler and rad don't really hold up on track, so if you want to do trackdays then you'll get into engine mods. Then the stock sequential turbos can take a lot of work to get working reliably, an aftermarket wheel makes more space for your knees, ...
Having said that, it doesn't need suspension mods unless you really want to get the best out of sticky rubber, the stock turbos are great when working, and the stock brakes hold up well on track with good pads, especially the RS-spec ones on the 17"-shod cars.
Not true, the stock intercooler and radiator on my 99 spec survived an extra 0.15 bar of boost pressure above factory levels and 2.5 years of track days. My compression is still high 7's. If you go much higher the twins will produce too much heat and then you need to consider an upgrade.

ZX10R NIN

11,546 posts

58 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
I really like these a Black Bathurst with around 400bhp would be my ideal car.

Matt p

563 posts

141 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Stock engine setup will do track days all day long with a water injection setup.

As above, prices start at £5k for ones needing work (well a fair bit) right up to £25k for a Spirit Type A but for that money it needs to be minty fresh.

Avoid at all costs the dreamers that are in the classifieds on here and eBay. Lots of Richard Rawling wannabes.

Matt p

563 posts

141 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
kambites said:
How easy are they to work on? The engine bay looks a nightmare for access but that might just be because it's so unfamiliar to someone used to a piston engine.
Everything is a 12mm or 14mm few 17's and 19's chucked in. Piece of cake to get down to the nitty gritty. Replacing coils or exhaust manifold gaskets can take time but it's very easy to get around.

cib24

641 posts

86 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
I haven't seen one go for £5k that wasn't a complete piece of crap.

You need to start at like £8,000 to get anything that isn't going to require tons of cash to restore things like the paint, interior or motor immediately.

Anyway, the best cars listed on Pistonheads right now are these and I'm debating if I want a second one...

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

cib24

641 posts

86 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Matt p said:
Stock engine setup will do track days all day long with a water injection setup.

As above, prices start at £5k for ones needing work (well a fair bit) right up to £25k for a Spirit Type A but for that money it needs to be minty fresh.

Avoid at all costs the dreamers that are in the classifieds on here and eBay. Lots of Richard Rawling wannabes.
You don't need water. ECU adjusts for temp just fine.

Matt p

563 posts

141 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Had a couple over the years. Stock cars, mildly modified to a full on 600+ monster.











Edited by Matt p on Monday 16th October 22:35


Edited by Matt p on Monday 16th October 22:37

cib24

641 posts

86 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
Awesome.

V8RX7

16,018 posts

196 months

Monday 16th October 2017
quotequote all
cib24 said:
I haven't seen one go for £5k that wasn't a complete piece of crap.
You may not have seen them, but I have bought them.