Mazda RX-7 (1986 – 1991) Review

Mazda RX-7 (1986 – 1991) At A Glance


+Good-looking sports car with a smooth, strong rotary engine

-Specialist maintenance means it isn't cheap to run, short runs damage the rotor seals

The second generation Mazda RX-7, known as the FC and sold as a Savanna in Japan. featured all-new styling stole a lot of cues from the Porsche 924 and 928, and managed to look more substantial without growing in size, and only adding an extra 50kg in weight. As before, it was powered by rotary, and the fuel-injected 13B-VDEI produced 146bhp. A year after launch, the turbocharged model was introduced, boosting power to 182bhp, and upping the maximum speed to almost 150mph.

Although the RX-7 was designed primarily for the USA, it was also highly competitive against its rivals from Porsche. Certainly, its light and compact engine, and gearbox package bestowed the car with 50/50 weight distribution. It gave safer handling thanks to new rear suspension, and sharper steering from rack-and-pinion instead of recirculating ball. The revised ‘13A’ engine kicks out more power – especially in the Turbo version that became available in the UK from 1988 was boosted to 200bhp. The following year a convertible was added to the range, though these are harder to find.

Ask Honest John

Could you suggest a relatively easy to maintain and economic to fix modern classic?

"Having sold my two classic Triumphs, I'm at the age where I'm having difficulty in doing full maintenance jobs but still appreciate driving and owning a classic car as my hobby. Is there a car that I could purchase that gives me the thrill of a "classic car feel" and turns heads but is (relatively) easy to maintain whilst, if needed, incur low(er) garage costs for those jobs I am unable to tackle? I have a car for everyday travel and not too keen on a Morgan due to its harsh ride, so could you another two-seater soft top? I have about £40,000 to spend."
It's going to be tricky to tick all these boxes. If you want something that turns heads, that normally means a premium model such as a Porsche. In which case, you'd be expected to have anything but the most basic oil and filter it serviced at a specialist. Plus, if you're after mod cons like power steering, air-con, decent stereo (and soundproofing) then you're looking at cars that are a bit more complicated. If you're after something that's easy to get in and out of and doesn't have harsh ride, then you may have to think outside the box. You could go for something traditional such as a Triumph Stag (assuming you want to keep it Triumph), which is still very much a classic two-seater with a great engine. Alternatively, look at 911 ownership for a bit of wow-factor, and a decent compromise between mod cons and specialist servicing... and don't discount the later Jaguar XJ-S. We know plenty of people who own Honda S2000s and are terrifically happy with them - stunning performance and reliability (see also Nissan 350Z). Sightly left of centre coupe options to consider - BMW 8-Series and Mazda RX-7 or RX-8 if you're feeling brave, Toyota Supra. We'd also have a look at hot hatches - cars like the Mk1 Golf GTi and Peugeot 205 GTI are excellent to drive, have reasonably mod cons, and can be maintained at home... they also have plenty of wow-factor. Perhaps something like a TVR Griffith would also suit you.
Answered by Keith Moody
More Questions

What does a Mazda RX-7 (1986 – 1991) cost?