Those of us into our fast, classic JDM metal have little to be cheerful about at present. The days of just a few years back, when an R32 GT-R NISMO would cost £15k - as would an Evo VI Makinen - and a delivery mileage R34 was £50k, seem like a lifetime ago. We now live in a time of £120k Skylines, £100k NSXs and similarly-priced Impreza 22Bs.
Which is all rather a shame. Because there's that era - from roughly the introduction of the NSX to the mid-2000s - where Japanese models, be they imported or officially on sale, transformed the UK fast car scene. They were different to anything we'd been used to, and proved their worth as driving devices emphatically year after year, as turbos were tweaked, differentials were upgraded and precious kilos trimmed away. Driven in reality or virtually, the era influenced a generation of car enthusiasts like little has since.
The situation today is a somewhat different, with only cars like the Civic Type R, MX-5, Supra and GT86/BRZ duo flying the flag in a similar fashion to how it once was. And while, yes, the GT-R is still soldiering on, it's very much changed as an ownership prospect as the price has crept up. Point being that we all know such an era won't happen again, immediately making those models more desirable, plus as the cars age numbers will inevitably drop (doing the same thing again). Cars that responded famously well to tuning are now in demand as standard and as more and more approach 25 years old, the US market will lap them up.
All of which should lead you to believe that the Mazda RX-7 would be megabucks. It's a stunning looking car (as it always has been), has technical intrigue with its twin-turbo rotary, was great to drive and is game/movie starlet - who can forget Han's Veilsided FD3S in Tokyo Drift? Furthermore, this particular car, imported last year, has been recently resprayed, has covered just 46,000 miles and is entirely standard. With all of the RX-7s now at least 17 years old, this must be one of the best.
Yet despite all that, it's for sale at £16,495. Good luck getting a similar Supra, Skyline or NSX for that money. Of course there's an element of risk buying a 20-year-old car that's pretty high maintenance at the best of times, which has spent the vast majority of its life in Japan and which has a fairly spartan advert. On the other hand, these cars surely can't ever be worth less, there's plenty of rotary knowledge in the UK and it's surely been under much less strain as an unmodified car. Let's face it, too: any 20-year-old vehicle based on a 25-year-old design, however modest the mileage, is going to need some care and affection nowadays. Just be sure to keep close to good oil and petrol supplies!
For fans of the breed, the RX-7 is surely a very hard one to argue against. Perhaps the puny sales in the UK have affected its reputation, but it would surely be a very mean soul who wouldn't categorise the RX-7 as a legend alongside the Skyline, Supra, NSX and the rally saloons. It could, however, be a very wise one who jumps on this before the rest of the world realises...
SPECIFICATION - MAZDA RX-7
Engine: 1,308cc, twin-turbo rotary
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 240@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 217@5,000rpm
CO2: N/A. Expect many
First registered: 1999
Price new: £32,000 (UK, 1992)
Price now: £16,495