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Mazda RX-7

Mazda RX-7

Mazda RX-7
Overview
ManufacturerMazda
Production19782002
Body Style(s)2-door sports coupe
LayoutFR layout
Engine(s)1.3L 255 hp (190 kW) 13B-REW
Transmission(s)4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase95.5 in (2426 mm)
Length168.5 in (4280 mm)
Width68.9 in (1750 mm)
Height48.4 in (1229 mm)
Curb Weight1280 kg (2822 lb)
Specifications
Engine(s) Specs13B-REW Rotary Engine
Power220230 kW (290308 hp)
Torque330 Nm (243 ftlbf)
Redline (RPM)7,000 rpm
Transmission(s) Specs4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Drag CoefficientCd = .36-.39
Rated Performance
Top Speed158mph (255 km/h)
Acceleration0-60mph (0-100 km/h) @ 5.1 seconds
Standing 1/4 Mile14.0 seconds @ 100mph (160 km/h)

History

The Mazda RX-7 (also called the ?fini RX-7) is a sports car produced by the Japanese automaker Mazda from 1978 to 2002. The original RX-7 competed in the affordable sports car segment with the likes of the Nissan Fairlady Z. The styling was inspired by the Lotus Elan +2. It featured a unique twin-rotor Wankel rotary engine and a sporty front-midship, rear-wheel drive layout, making it well balanced and appropriate for racing. The RX-7 was a direct replacement for the RX-3 (both were sold in Japan as the Savanna) and subsequently replaced all other Mazda rotary cars with the exception of the Cosmo.

The original RX-7 was a true sports coup design, as opposed to a sports car like the Triumph TR6 or a sedan with sporting intentions. The compact and light-weight Wankel engine, also known as a rotary engine is situated slightly behind the front axle, and in contemporary advertising, Mazda called the first generation RX-7 as "a front mid-engine design". It was offered in America as a two-seat coup, with four seats being optional in Japan, Australia, and other parts of the world.

The RX-7 made Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list five times. In total, 811,634 RX-7s were produced.

Current Production

Series 6 (19921995) was exported throughout the world and had the highest sales. In Japan, Mazda sold the RX-7 through its Efini brand as the Efini RX-7. Only the 19931995 model years were sold in the U.S. and Canada. Series 6 came with 255 hp (190 kW) and 217ftlbf.

Series 7 (19961998) included minor changes to the car. Updates included a simplified vacuum routing manifold and a 16-bit ECU allowing for increased boost which netted an extra 10 hp (7 kW). In Japan, the Series 7 RX-7 was marketed under the Mazda brand name. The Series 7 was also sold in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Series 7 RX-7s were produced only in right-hand-drive configuration.

Series 8 (January 1999 August 2002) was the final series, and was only available in the Japanese market. More efficient turbochargers were installed, while improved intercooling and radiator cooling was made possible by a revised frontal area. The seats, steering wheel, and front and rear lights were all changed. The rear spoiler was modified and gained adjustability. The top-of-the-line "Type RS" came equipped with a Bilstein suspension and 17" wheels as standard equipment, and reduced weight to 1280 kg (2822 lb). Power was officially claimed as 250 PS (276 hp, 208 kW) (with 330 Nm (243 ftlbf) of torque) as per the maximum Japanese limit, though realistic power was more likely 220230 kW (290308 hp). The Type RZ version included all the features of the Type RS, but at a lighter weight (at 1270 kg). It also featured custom gun-metal colored BBS wheels and a custom red racing themed interior. Further upgrades included a new 16-bit ECU and ABS system upgrades. The improved ABS system worked by braking differently on each wheel, allowing the car better turning during braking. The effective result made for safer driving for the average buyer. Easily the most collectible of all the RX-7s was the last 1,500 run-out specials. Dubbed the "Spirit R", they combined all the "extra" features Mazda had used on previous limited-run specials and all sold within days of being announced. They still command amazing prices on the Japanese used car scene years later.

- There are three kinds of "Spirit R": the "Type A", "Type B", and "Type C". The "Type A", which accounts for 500 of the 1,500 "Spirit" models produced, has a 5-speed manual transmission, and is said to have the best performance of the three models. The "Type B" has a 2+2 seat configuration and also sports a 5-speed manual transmission, 500 of which were also made. "The Spirit C" is also a 2+2, but has a 4-speed automatic transmission and 500 were made.

There is also a "Touring Model" which includes a sun roof, and Bose stereo system. Compared to the R1 and R2 which both don't have a moon roof, and they have an extra front oil cooler in the front bumper, and other race modification equipment

The third and final generation of the RX-7, FD (with FD3S for the JDM and JM1FD for the USA VIN), was an outright, no-compromise sports car by Japanese standards. It featured an aerodynamic, futuristic-looking body design (a testament to its near 11-year lifespan). The 13B-REW was the first-ever mass-produced sequential twin-turbocharger system to export from Japan, boosting power to 255 hp (190 kW) in 1993 and finally 276 hp (208 kW) by the time production ended in Japan in 2002.

The FD RX-7 was Motor Trend's Import\Domestic Car of the Year. When Playboy magazine first reviewed the FD RX-7 in 1993, they tested it in the same issue as the [then] new Dodge Viper. In that issue, Playboy declared the RX-7 to be the better of the two cars. It went on to win Playboy's Car of the Year for 1993. The FD RX-7 also made Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1993 through 1995, for every year in which it was sold state-side. June, 2007 Road&Track magazine proclaimed "The ace in Mazda's sleeve is the RX-7, a car once touted as the purest, most exhilarating sports car in the world.

The sequential twin turbocharged system was a very complex piece of engineering, developed with the aid of Hitachi and previously used on the domestic Cosmo series (JC Cosmo=9095). The system was composed of two small turbochargers, one to provide torque at low RPM. The 2nd unit was on standby until the upper half of the rpm range during full throttle acceleration. The first turbocharger provided 10 psi of boost from 1800 rpm, and the 2nd turbocharger was activated at 4000 rpm and also provided 10 psi (70 kPa). The changeover process was incredibly smooth, and provided linear acceleration and a very wide torque curve throughout the entire rev range.

Handling in the FD was regarded as world-class, and it is still regarded as being one of the finest handling and best balanced cars of all time. The continued use of the front-midship engine and drivetrain layout, combined with an 50:50 front-rear weight distribution ratio and low center of gravity made the FD a very competent car at the limits.

In North America, three models were offered; the "base", the touring, and the R models. The touring FD had a sunroof, leather seats, and a complex Bose Acoustic Wave system. The R (R1 in 1993 and R2 in 199495) models featured stiffer suspensions, an aerodynamics package, suede seats, and Z-rated tires.

Australia had a special high performance version of the RX-7 in 1995, dubbed the RX-7 SP. This model was developed as a homologated road-going version of the factory race cars used in the 12hr endurance races held at Bathurst, New South Wales, beginning in 1991 for the 1995 event held at Eastern Creek, Sydney, New South Wales. An initial run of 25 were made, and later an extra 10 were built by Mazda due to demand. The RX-7 SP produced 204 kW (274 hp) and 357 Nm (263 ftlbf) of torque, compared to 176 kW (236 hp) and 294 Nm (217 ftlbf) on the standard version. Other changes included a race developed carbon fibre nose cone and rear spoiler, a carbon fibre 120 L fuel tank (as opposed to the 76 L tank in the standard car), a 4.3:1-ratio rear differential, 17 in diameter wheels, larger brake rotors and calipers. An improved intercooler, exhaust, and modified ECU were also included. Weight was reduced significantly with the aid of further carbon fibre usage including lightweight vented bonnet and Recaro seats to reduce weight to just 1218 kg (from 1310 kg). It was a serious road going race car that matched their rival Porsche 911 RS CS for the final year Mazda officially entered. The formula paid off when the RX-7 SP won the title, giving Mazda the winning 12hr trophy for a fourth straight year. A later special version, the Bathurst R, was released in 2001.

In the United Kingdom, for 1992, customers were offered only one version of the FD which was based on a combination of the US touring and base model. For the following year, in a bid to speed up sales, Mazda reduced the price of the RX-7 to 25,000, down from 32,000 and refunded the difference to those who bought the car before that was announced. The FD continued to be imported to the UK till 1995. In 1998, for a car that had suffered from slow sales when it was officially sold, with as surge of interest following its appearances in videogames such as Gran Turismo and the benefit of a newly introduced SVA scheme, which meant an influx of inexpensive Japanese imported cars, the FD would become so popular that there were more parallel and grey imported models brought into the country than Mazda UK had ever imported.

A popular modification to the 3rd Gen RX-7 is the substitution of a 20B (2.0 litre) 3-rotor engine taken from the Eunos Cosmo in place of the stock 13B (1.3 litre) 2-rotor engine. Many aftermarket performance houses sell conversion kits with the 20B engine, such as Stillen and Pettit Racing. Such 3-rotor configurations typically produce 550 hp (410 kW) and a top speed of well over 200 mph (300 km/h). While critics claim that any 13B 2-rotor RX-7 can be highly tuned to achieve this level of performance, the difference is in daily drivability and reliability that makes the 20B conversion superior to the stock 13B motor at those high horsepower levels.

Also gaining in popularity over the past 3-5 years, is the swap of the Chevrolet produced LS1 (LSx) engine from the Camaro/Firebird/Corvette/GTO platforms. With available kits, these engines can be swapped into the RX7 platform (SA/FB/FC/FD) and nearly retain the 50/50 weight balance provided by the rotary. The LSx platform also offers 350-505 factory HP depending on the model selected, allowing a much higher base HP level then any available rotary engine.

Other

Motorsports

Racing versions of the first-generation RX-7 were entered at the prestigious 24 hours of Le Mans endurance race. The first outing for the car, equipped with a 13B engine, failed by less than one second to qualify in 1979. The next year, a 12A-engine car not only qualified, it placed 21st overall. That same car did not finish in 1981, along with two more 13B cars. Those two cars were back for 1982, with one 14th place finish and another DNF. The RX-7 Le Mans effort was replaced by the 717C prototype for 1983. In 1991, Mazda became the first (and so far, only) Japanese manufacturer to win the 24 hours of Le Mans. The car was a 4-rotor prototype class car, the 787B. The FIA outlawed rotary engines shortly after this win.

Mazda began racing RX-7s in the IMSA GTU series in 1979. That first year, RX-7s placed first and second at the 24 Hours of Daytona, and claimed the GTU series championship. The car continued winning, claiming the GTU championship seven years in a row. The RX-7 took the GTO championship ten years in a row from 1982. The RX-7 has won more IMSA races than any other car model.

The RX-7 also fared well at the Spa 24 Hours race. Three Savanna/RX-7s were entered in 1981 by Tom Walkinshaw Racing. After hours of battling with several BMW 530i and Ford Capri, the RX-7 driven by Pierre Dieudonn and Tom Walkinshaw won the event. Mazda had turned the tables on BMW, who had beaten Mazda's Familia Rotary to the podium eleven years earlier at the same event. TWR's prepared RX-7s also won the British Touring Car Championship in 1980 and 1981, driven by Win Percy.

Canadian/Australian touring car driver Allan Moffat was instrumental in bringing Mazda into the Australian touring car scene. Over a four year span beginning in 1981, Moffat took the Mazda RX-7 to victory in the 1983 Australian Touring Car Championship, as well as a trio of Bathurst 1000 podiums, in 1981 (3rd with Derek Bell), 1983 (second with Yoshimi Katayama) and 1984 (third with former motorcycle champion Gregg Hansford). Australia's adoption of international Group A regulations, combined with Mazda's reluctance to homologate a Group A RX-7, ended Mazda's active participation in the touring car series at the end of the 1984 season.

The RX-7 even made an appearance in the World Rally Championship. The car finished 11th on its debut at the RAC Rally in Wales in 1981. Group B received much of the focus for the first part of the 1980s, but Mazda did manage to place third at the 1985 Acropolis Rally, and the Familia 4WD claimed the victory at Swedish Rally in both 1987 and 1989.

The RX-7 is considered as a popular choice in import drag racing, during the late nineties toward 2004 Abel Ibarra raced a spaceframe FD which averaged no less than high 6 seconds passes, until he replaced it with a spaceframe RX-8, the FD was later to shipped and sold to an Australian.

The FC and FD is considered a popular choice for drifting contests, given the long wheelbase and an average of 450 bhp (336 kW). Youichi Imamura won the D1 Grand Prix title in 2003 and Masao Suenaga narrowly lost his in 2005, both in FDs.

The RX-7 is a popular choice among autocross drivers,

In Japan, the RX-7 has always been a popular choice in domestic events, competing in Group 5 based Formula Silhouette to its modern day incarnation, the Super GT series from when the Japan Sport Sedan series would become the GT300 category which it had been competing in. Its patience would pay off as in 2006, RE Amemiya Racing Asparadrink FD3S won the GT300 class championship.

In New Zealand a large and growing motorsport class called Mazda Pro7 Racing makes use of the series 1, 4 and 6 RX-7s for one make circuit racing. They run an average of 8 x 2 day meetings a season and racing can see up to 30 RX-7s on the track at any one time.

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Source: Wikipedia under the GNU Free Documentation License


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