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Mazda RX-7 (1978 - 1985)

Last updated 19 September 2013

 
4
Smooth, powerful, and proof that the Rotary engine could be made reliable and dependable
Like pretty much every Japanese car of this era it suffered from corrosion

Introduction

The Mazda RX-7 was an important car in the rehabilitation of the rotry engine in the minds of buyers. After the crushing blow the Wankel took at the hands of early NSU Ro80s, Mazda launched the RX-7 with the benefit of considerable development in the durability of its rotor tips. It was also convincing enough as a package to make the world sit up take the company as a serious manufacturer capable of building a car to challenge Porsche.

In the USA, especially, the RX-7 sold very well indeed, where it put up a stiff challenge to the Porsche 924 by being cheaper, just as good looking, and far more sporting in the engine department. But the RX-7 also sealed the rotary's fate as a sports car engine - they were too uneconomical to go mainstream. The RX-7 makes the most of the engine’s light weight, with perfect 50/50 weight distribution. The early version is best left to enthusiasts; from 1981 it was a better car, with an extra 10bhp, rear disc brakes, a spoiler on the back and more comprehensive equipment - and the option of the brilliant Elford Turbo version.

 

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