Mazda Rx-7 Classic Cars FB, FC, FD, Convertible Mazda RX7 Fast and Furious – In the 1970s when Porsche was seemingly unchallengeable in sport cars market, Mazda RX7 came to the scene and shifted the paradigm. The car was also an important piece of motoring industry as it re-introduced the use of rotary engine instead of the more common inline models (V or straight). Rotary engine was nothing revolutionary in 1978 when Mazda introduced the RX7. During World War I and years preceding the conflict, rotary engine had been widely used before it as rendered obsolete by 1920s.
In the more conventional inline engine, the cylinder block remains stationary and the crankshaft does all the works. Rotary engine takes things in opposite direction; the crankshaft sits still and the entire cylinder block rotates around it. There are some serious advantages including a substantial gain in power-to-weight ratio in the absence of additional flywheel. While the engine is considered too uneconomical for mainstream application, Mazda RX7 is still one of few classic sport cars with perfect 50/50 weight distribution. Such attribute combined with rear-wheel drive and sleek coupe styling, it remains one of the best handling affordable sport cars ever.
First generation Mazda RX7, or also known as the FB model, was produced for only two years starting from 1978 to 1980. FB model was known for its power and smoothness; two cold hard evidences that brought Mazda to the more serious market. Just like many other Japan-based cars from the period, however, most of the examples you can find today suffer from severe corrosion. From engineering perspective, even today a Mazda RX7 FB is probably too quirky for the vast majority of people and best left to serious mechanics only.
Things looked a bit better in 1981 with the second generation. Commonly referred to as Mazda RX7 FC, the style is for the most parts reminiscent of Porsche 924 and 928. Improvements over the predecessor took place in other areas as well; the steering used rack-and-pinion mechanism instead of the previous re-circulating ball, disc brakes became standard, and there was the independent rear suspension. Rotary engine remained the same at 146bhp, but then a turbo version was made available in 1985 and it could produce substantially more power at 182bhp. Mazda RX7 Convertible was made available in 1988, but this variant is more difficult to find today. And again in 1989, Mazda RX7 Turbo with 200bhp came to existence.
What you really want is the third generation, Mazda RX7 FD, started to roll out in 1992. Available only in coupe form factor, the car was equipped with 1.3-liter twin-turbocharged rotary engine that produced up to 255bhp. Its twin-turbocharged engine was a complex piece of engineering; one turbocharged provided boost at lower RPM, while the other kicked-in after it reached around 4000-4500 RPM.
Although the car ended production in early 2000s, you can still consider it a classic today. Similar to most classic cars, top speed and acceleration are actually much less important than you may think. You can get newer cars with more power and the promise of easier maintenance. But when you grew up dreaming of having a Mazda RX7, the reward for getting one today is far more substantial than driving as brand new CX-5. The newest Mazda RX7 FD is 22 years old now. Not surprisingly, however, the overall design still keeps up with its more modern counterparts, if not better.