This site was created to share information and pictures with friends, family, and anyone else who stumbles upon it. I don't sell products or services or advertising space on this site, it was created because of the love of the Rx-7 and several days of not enough real work.

1993-1995 Rx-7
"FD Rx-7"
"3rd Gen Rx-7"

Available Models:

Base Price:

RX-7 R1


13B-REW Twin Turbo
1308 cc
255bhp @ 7000rpm
220lbft @ 5000rpm
2800lbs curb weight
Redline 8000rpm
0-30 1.6 sec
0-60 5.1 sec
0-100 14.0 sec
14.0sec @ 100mph

Lateral G's:
.91-1.02 g*
Slalom 68-71mph*
Top Speed 159mph

*Dep. on Model

1993 - 1995 Mazda Rx-7 "FD"

Commonly referred to as the "3rd gen", or "FD Rx-7" (FD coming from the portion of the Vehicle Identification Number which determines model years), it is the last Rx-7 to make it to the United States, and has since been replaced by the non-turbo Rx-8. The 1st generation Rx-7's were produced from 1978 - 1985, the second generation (or FC) from 1986 - 1991, and the 3rd generation from 1993 - 1995. It's not a typo, there were no U.S. 1992 Rx-7's, as Mazda was working hard to finalize this sequential twin turbo machine. This is the most sought-after model as it was the lightest and most powerful of all the generations. At roughly 3000lbs, 255 horsepower, and 50/50 weight distribution, to many the Rx-7 was the perfect sports car. Click HERE to get all the 3rd gen details.

1986-1991 Rx-7
"FC Rx-7"
"2nd Gen Rx-7"

Available Models
86-88 :
TurboII (87+
Anniversary (88)



13B N/A or Turbo
1308 cc
146 - 200bhp
138 - 196lbft
Redline 7-8000rpm
0-30 1.8-2.1 sec
0-60 6.5-7.7 sec
0-100 17.3-23.1sec
14.4sec @ 93mph
15.5sec @ 87mph

Lateral G's:
.86-.89 g
Slalom 67-69mph
Top Speed

*Dep. on Model

1986 - 1991 Mazda Rx-7 "FC"

Referred to as the "2nd gen", or "FC" Rx-7 (FC coming from the portion of the Vehicle Identification Number which determines model years) it was as fast and fun to drive as a Porsche 944 Turbo, but at half the cost. In 1988 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Rx-7, Mazda produced only 1500 of the limited edition "10th anniversary turbo Rx-7". All white including white wheels, special badges, unique steering wheel and shifter, special security system, bronze tinted windows and headlight washers. Divided into 2 subcategories; S4 (86-88) and S5 (89-91). The differences were subtle but noticeable in both performance and styling. Some of the more noticeable differences included; different upper and lower intakes, turbo, transmission, interior components and exterior moldings, front bumper, taillights, wheels and ground effects. The S5 was the same car but refined from the 86-88 models. Click HERE to get all the 2nd gen details.

1978-1985 Rx-7
"1st Gen Rx-7"

Available Models
78-85 :

Base Price:



12A / 13B

1156 / 1308 cc
105 / 135bhp
105 / 135lbft
Redline 7000rpm

0-30 2.5/2.1 sec
0-60 10/8.8sec
0-100 33.3/25sec
17.0sec @ 80mph
16.2sec @ 84mph

Lateral G's:
.78-.80 g
Slalom 64/63mph
Top Speed

12Afig / 13Bfig

1978 - 1985 Rx-7 "SA2" & "FB"

The "1st gen" Rx-7 can be split into several sub categories, but from Mazda they were the "SA2" for 78-80, and "FB" for 81-85. Armed with a carbureted 12A rotary engine (78-83), the Rx-7 not only saved Mazda, but created an affordable sports car with incredible performance. Competing with the Datsun 240Z. Click HERE to get all the 1st gen details.


1993-1995 3rd Gen Specifications

General Specifications 
           Models 1993 Base, Touring, R1
                  1994 Base, Touring (PEP), R1 (R2)
                  1995 Base, Touring (PEP), R1 (R2)

EPA Gas Mileage   1993-1995  17 City / 25 Highway(Miles per Gallon)

Fuel Capacity 1993-1995 20.0 US Gallons Dimensions Specifications Curb Weight 1993-1995 Base 2,789 lbs (5 Speed) / 2,857 lbs (Automatic) 1993-1995 Touring 2,862 lbs (5 Speed) / 2,923 lbs (Automatic) 1993-1995 R1 2,800 lbs (5 Speed only) Wheelbase 1993-1995 95.5 inches Track front 1993-1995 57.5 inches Track rear 57.5 inches Length 1993-1995 168.5 inches Width 1993-1995 68.9 inches Height 1993-1995 48.4 inches Ground Clearance 1993-1995 4.5 inches
Drag Coefficient 1993-1995 0.29 Engine Specifications Engine Type 1993-1995 Twin Rotor 13B-REW Intake Type 1993-1995 Sequential Twin Turbocharging Displacement 1993-1995 1308cc/80ci Compression Ratio 1993-1995 9.0:1 HP Output 1993-1995 255 bhp @ 6500 rpm Torque 1993-1995 217lb-ft @ 5000 rpm Fuel Supply 1993-1995 Bosch L-Jetronic Electronic fuel injection Red Line 1993-1995 8000 rpm 0-60 mph 1993-1995 4.9 sec. 1/4 mile 1993-1995 13.5 sec. Top Speed 1993-1995 155.3 mph / 250 kph Steering Specifications Type 1993-1995 rack and pinion with power assist Overall Ratio 1993-1995 15.0:1 Turns 1993-1995 2.9 (lock to lock) Turning Circle 1993-1995 35.4 feet Suspension Specifications Type 1993-1995 Front Fully Independent,double wishbones,coil springs,anti roll bar. Rear Fully Independent,double wishbones,coil springs,anti roll bar Front Anti Roll Bar 1993-1995 30.0mm tubular Rear Anti Roll Bar 1993 19.1mm tubular 1994-1995 17.3mm (Base and Touring(PEP)) / 15.9mm (R1(R2))
Drivetrain Specifications 
Gear              5 Speed Manual 4 Speed Auto. 
           1 st        3.483        3.027 
           2 nd        2.015        1.619 
           3 rd        1.391        1.000 
           4 th        1.000        0.694 
           5 th        0.719         N/A 
           Reverse     3.288        2.727 
           Final Drive 4.100        3.909

The manufacture of 3rd Generation RX-7s started in December of 1991. Mazda did not make a 1992 year model RX-7, as the third generation RX-7
would make its debut in mid 1992 as a 1993 model year. Production continues in Japan, but RX-7s are no longer being imported to the US.

 Mechanical Standard Features
           - 2-rotor inline rotary engine with sequential twin turbochargers,
           air-to-air intercooler, and electronic fuel injection
           - Engine oil cooler
           - 5-speed manual transmission with overdrive
           - Power Plant Frame (PPF)
           - Torsen torque-sensing limited-slip differential
           - Fully independent double-wishbone suspension with rear shock-tower support
           - Rack-and-pinion steering with engine-rpm-sensing variable power assist
           - Power-assisted 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes with aluminum 4-piston front
           calipers and ducted backing plates
           - Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
 Exterior Standard Features
           - 16-inch aluminum alloy wheels
           - Dual aerodynamic body-color power mirrors
           - Tinted glass
           - Retractable halogen headlights
           - Lightweight aluminum hood
           Interior Standard Features
           - Highback bucket seats with seatback recliners
           - Sport cloth upholstery
           - Dual storage compartments behind seats
           - Power windows and door locks
           - Remote liftgate and fuel door releases
           - 9000-rpm tachometer with 8000-rpm* redline
           - 180-mph speedometer
           - Gauges for oil pressure and engine coolant temperature
           - Leather-wrapped steering wheel, handbrake grip, and transmission shift knob
           - Cruise-control with steering-wheel-mounted controls (n/a R-1)
           - Driver's side air bag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS)
           - Drilled aluminum clutch and brake pedals (manual trans. only)
           - Anti-theft alarm system
           - Heater/defroster with 4-speed blower and side-window registers
           - Air Conditioning
           - AM/FM/cassette stereo sound with five speakers and automatic power antenna
Base models
Comes with all equipment above, and can be ordered with a 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with overdrive. Can also be ordered with leather seating surfaces.
 Not available in Competition Yellow Mica.
Touring models
This is an option package consisting of:
           - Leather seating surfaces
           - Bose Acoustic Wave stereo music system with compact disc player, five
             speakers and automatic power antenna
           - High-reflex paint
           - Sliding sunroof with tilt-up ventilation feature
           - Halogen fog lights
           - Rear window wiper/washer
           - Upgraded sound insulation
           - Removable rear cargo area cover
 Touring models can be ordered with a 4-speed electronically controlled
           automatic transmission with overdrive.
 Not available in Competition Yellow Mica.
 For the 1994 year model, the touring package was renamed "PEG" for popular equipment group.
"R" models
The "R" model is the performance model, and does not have cruise control. The "R" model's option package consists of:
 - Rear spoiler and front air dam
           - Dual engine oil coolers
           - Dedicated front brake air ducts
           - Special suspension tuning
           - Front shock-tower support brace
           - Z-rated high-performance steel-belted radial tires
 Not available in Silver Stone Metallic or Montego Blue Metallic.

A typical RX-7 VIN looks like: JM1FD3311P0200001
           In order, the fields are as follows:
 "JM1" "World Manufacturer Identifier" for Mazda
           "FD" RX-7 series
           "33" body style ("33" = coupe)
           "1" "Misc ID field" (1993: "1" = US, "2" = Canada.)
           (1994: "3" = manual seat belts, 2 airbags)
           (1995: "3" = manual seat belts, 2 airbags)
           "1" "Check Digit" (used to verify that a VIN is not bogus)
           (calculated for each car)
           "P" year model code (1993 = "P")
           (1994 = "R")
           (1995 = "S")
           (Q was not used)
           "0" assembly plant code ("0" = Hiroshima)
           "200001" serial number (1993: started with 200001)
           (1994: started with 300001)
           (1995: started with 400001)
So, the car in this example would be a 1993 RX-7 coupe to be sold in the US.
Here are the numbers of RX-7s sold in the United States through 1995.
 Model             1992 1993 1994 1995
           Base     763 1245  392  153
           R-model 1107 1015  275  182
           Touring 2991 2734 1010  648
           P.E.G.     0   53  533  416
 * P.E.G. = "Popular Equipment Group" (Used to be called "Touring")
The History of The 1993-1995 Rx-7
First and only car make to achieve 100th IMSA victory per model

The 92 - 93 - 94 - 95 victories in the Bathurst 12 Hour endurance events against the best Porsche racers ( 944 - 968 - 911 ) and other reputable sports car entries has showed the the world how Mazda's little RX-7 rotary engine could outclass the best from Europe and any other country bidding for it's glory. At the popular Targa Tasmania each year, even private RX-7 entries were able to topple the factory outfitted Porsches for top honors on regular occasions.

Porsche (911, 944, 968), BMW (3 series ), Acura (NSX), GM (Corvettes) were targets Mazda aimed for, and when released onto the World stage in 1992 the RX-7 easily outshined the best of them with styling years ahead of it’s time and breathtaking performance to match. The 3rd generation RX-7 won numerous awards and races throughout the world and became an instant classic.

However the cost of building such an "over achiever" meant the 3rd generation had crept up the price scale. This kept many loyal buyers from purchasing it, sales were going down and the car was withdrawn from the world market (1995) and primarily sold in Australia (1998) for a short while and now only in Japan. The 1999 RX-7 will be the last of the "pure sports" cars from Mazda. Mazda ( controlled by Ford ) simply will not allow such extravagance on the next generation RX-7. Sports cars, just like fashion go through phases.

" With the exceptions of top speed, speed at the end of the 1/4 mile, and 0-30 and 0-40 mph times, our RX-7 R1 beat the Acura NSX in every objective performance test--and costs about half as much ...... The RX-7 explodes out of corners ...... The RX-7's boost builds so rapidly it's easy to find yourself in tire-spinning power oversteer ...... The new RX-7 is just gawdawful fast. It won the important acceleration contest with a 5.2 second 0-60 mph time, turned in a monumental 0.98g on the skidpad, and blew everything else away in lapping around Willow Springs Raceway. Especially in its R1 package, which we had, this is about the raciest feeling thing you can buy and still screw on a license plate. On the race track, it had ferocious cornering power, but seemed to get the biggest edge with enormous jump off the corners "
--- Motor Trend, Apr. and Sep. 1992

" The RX-7 can do almost anything the best sports cars can do, but better -- it accelerates quicker, stops shorter, corners harder, and is faster around a racetrack than almost anything this side of $50,000, and a whole lot of things on the far side of that. As one tester put it, " It sticks to the road like tar on a rocker panel. "
--- Motor Trend, 8/92

" The new RX-7 R1 blitzed the Bang portion of Bang for the Buck III ...... The RX-7's performance was like having an MIT grad student, as a prank, enroll in Calculus I at a junior college. For instance, in lateral acceleration, its advantage over second place equaled second place's advantage over 15th place ...... Our editors' notes sound like a movie ad: " Spectacular ... the best... fabulous in all areas", said one editor before coming down from an adrenaline high. " By far the best track car here, maybe of all time ", said another ...... The RX-7 didn't just win the numbers game, it humiliated the field ...... Its stats read like a sports car's wish list ...... It was also rated first in Fun Factor, with an almost perfect 99.57 score "
--- Motor Trend, 9/92

" The only cars that get around Sears Point International Raceway hill loop much faster have numbers on their doors ...... The RX-7 may be a performance high-water mark for years to come ...... The RX-7's performance is awe-inspiring: It's within 1 foot of being the shortest-stopping street car we've ever tested; ...... and grips the road harder than the best race cars of only a few years ago ...... This is the best hardcore sports car in its price range, maybe in any price range ...... The RX-7 redefines road manners for its class; the handling feels nimble and natural ...... No sports car in its price range delivers the same level of sensory gratification for the enthusiast driver. "
--- Motor Trend, proclaiming the RX-7 the Import Car of the Year, Feb. 1993

The cars were offered in following lines ( North America )

Base: Outstanding third generation performance from 255 BHP twin Turbo REW engine. Cloth seats. Most popular model.

PEP: (Popular Equipment Package) This designation appeared in 1994. Standard features are leather seats, cruise control, and sunroof.

Touring: Cruise control, leather interior, sun roof, CD player, Bose sound system including waveguide speakers, rear cargo cover, rear wiper, driving lights.

R1 / R2: The R's are the performance variants of the third generation. Thus there are two oil coolers for sustained high speed travel in hot conditions, and a strut tower brace across the engine compartment to enhance structural rigidity. A rear spoiler is mounted (the other versions depend on the sculpted rear to provide some spoiling effect). The seats are suede leather, the theory is that the driver is less likely to shift position under hard cornering than on standard leather seats.

25th Anniversary: This was a Canadian model only, that came in black with red leather and all the goodies.

SP: A '95 RX-7 SP This was available in Australia. It had 280PS. It beat out Porsches and BMWs for the 4th time to with the Australian Production racing title race. ( There also was a SP version of the Eunos X800 and now there is a SP version of the M2 Miata that is outfitted with a turbocharger making 201HP and 207lb-ft )

1991.12 : A brand-new RX-7(FD-3S) was announced in late 1991. The engine was upgraded to the 13B Rotary EGI sequential twin-turbo with enlarged intercooler.
The low hood which cannot be regarded as front-engine is the big point of the FD-3S, the engine was mounted 50mm lower in order to lower the center of gravity.

1992.10 : The limited edition RX-7 type RZ 1st version, which is based on the type R,was introduced. It has decreased weight by the change in equipment by 30kg.

1993.8 : The RX-7 was changed a little. It was improved the suspension.

1993.10 : Mazda introduced a limited edition RX-7 type RZ 2nd version in commemoration of the 15th anniversary of its debut. The type RZ 2nd version was equipped with BILSTEIN dampers, Bridgestone S-07 tires, BBS alloy wheels, and RECARO seats.

1995.3 : The RX-7 was changed a little. The RX-7 was equipped with large size disc brakes for 17inches alloy wheels.

1996.1 : The RX-7 was partially restyled. Enhanced cooling performance due to increased air-intake pipe allows the RX-7 to achieve 265PS. Moreover, all grades feature new style taillights along with a redesigned new gauge cluster and large sized rear spoiler.

1997.1 : The limited edition RX-7 type RB Bathurst X was introduced. It is based on the Type RB, and it is equipped with red leather seats.

1997.10 : Mazda introduced a limited edition RX-7 Type RS-R in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Rotary engine. The RX-7 type RS-R, which is based on the type RZ model, features an exclusive BILSTEIN dampers and high performance tires.

Unfortunately, Mazda has decided to discontinue the RX-7 line in the U.S. in 1995. No new cars were brought in after this model year. The last RX-7 officially imported into the U.S.A. bore VIN JM1FD3338S0400526.

The next 1996 revision got a horsepower upgrade to 265PS and some small cosmetic changes, including other wheel styles, and a revised rear taillight cluster, reminiscent of older rotary Mazda cars (R100, RX-2, RX-3). In addition, in following years (1997 and on), they made changes to the ECU, revising it to a 16-bit system, changed the shape of various engine piping, and further bumped the horsepower, running very close to the Japanese 'limit' of 280PS.

Zevolution is that's what they called the tendency of a lean and hungry sports car to grow fat and lazy, typified by the 240Z's mutation from elemental sports car to boulevardier. And Zevolufion is what Takaharu Kobayakawa wanted to avoid at all costs.

Kobayakawa had taken the reins of the RX-7 project from Akin Uchiyama in January 1986, and been responsible for the direction of the program from that date forward. He had joined Toyo Kogyo in 1963 as a junior development engineer assigned to Kenichi Yamamoto's rotary engine program, and had been on hand at the US Mazda facilities during the First Great Oil Crisis and observed first-hand the company's dilemma.

The 1993 RX-7 represented a new level of maturity for Mazda's rotary sports car; the shape was as pure
as they come. Pure function: the vents in the front fenders really let hot air out of the engine compartment.

Almost immediately after taking over the RX-7 program, Kobayakawa began work on the next generation. And while there was total freedom over the powerplant choice for the new sports car, the rotary was selected, first for compactness and power potential, but also for heritage. Said Yamamoto: "To forsake the rotary would be losing our identity. The RX-7 could not and would not exist without the rotary."

While Mazda had experience with mid-engine designs, from the R16A of 1965 to the Le Mans prototype racers of the 1980s, it was decided that the "front mid-engine" layout of the previous generations would be retained. Again, that's just what an RX-7 was.

There was some conflict however, over which particular rotary would be used. Mazda had, of course, made various permutations of its rotary engine, up to the (relatively) huge 21A for the stillborn X20G. Technology had also fully matured for multiple (three and four) rotor engines, well proven in racing; a triple actually was shown to the American press for evaluation in a 2nd-generation RX-7 in the late 80s.

But a triple-rotor engine would require a larger vehicle than Kobayakawa had in mind; it would mean Zevolution. Fortunately, the push from some sectors of Mazda for the three-rotor car was diverted by a new (1990 debut) Cosmo coupe, a High Performance Luxury Grand Tourer that would share in triple-rotor form the engine technology of the RX-7.

The RX-7 interior is not easy to enter and is snug once in- side Stubby shifter is a far cry from long wands of early seventies.
Pop up headlamps grace the third generation RX-7. Chin spoiler is standard with R1 package but is available separately

The impending MX-5 Miata, on the other hand, allowed the RX-7 project to concentrate on the upper reaches of sports car performance; the Miata would cover the low-cost flank. As a result, all 3rd generation RX-7s would use a single engine model: the 13B, with all available rotary technology, up to and including Sequential Twin Turbochargers. This was a bold step. The RX-7s primary market had been the US, where most RX-7s were sold with naturally aspirated engines (unlike Japan or Europe, where only the Turbo was sold, which perhaps says more about sociology and economies than driver preference).

A "13B" the engine may have been, but it was, in most ways, a new engine. Only a dogged persistence to name engines by displacement and dimensions kept the name the same. It gained, however, a new suffix. The engine would properly be known as the "13B-REW." Although the acronym stands for Rotary Engine Double-Turbocharger, which should read "RED," for the Japanese, "W" sounds like the word "double."

The engine was more than just a Twin Turbo, however. Although the Turbos were arrayed in parallel, a series of microprocessor-controlled flaps activated them sequentially, assuring maximum torque at low rpm, minimal Turbo lag, and smooth, even power delivery.

For the RX-7's 13B-REW, Mazda used HT12 Turbos, with 20% greater flow capacity, and identical turbines. The use of 2 Turbochargers provided that, unlike a system with twin "simultaneous" Turbos, the primary Turbo would "spool up" to operating speed, then at a higher, preselected RPM, the second Turbo would be activated to provide boost greater than the single Turbo could provide.

The only problem with the Sequential setup was that when the second Turbo was called into action, it needed to spool up, which would cause a lag, perceived by the driver as a "flat spot" in the power curve. The problem was solved by diverting a small amount of the exhaust to the secondary Turbo, spinning it in a "pre-operation" mode. The boosted air from the secondary Turbo was shunted from the intake manifold to the Turbo inlet, with the air circulating in a closed loop while the Turbo spins at 100,000rpm. Even that speed would be too slow to avoid a flat spot, so the impeller was momentarily closed off so that it could go into "surge" (essentially cavitation). Although prolonged surge would damage the Turbocharger, its temporary utilization allowed Turbo speeds of up to 140,000rpm. At that point, full exhaust was directed to the secondary Turbo, and the Turbo outlet opened to allow the secondary Turbo to provide full boost--limited to 22.4in of mercury. From the Turbos, the intake charge was directed to an air-to-air intercooler, located in the left side of the car's nose (the R1 model got two intercoolers; the second located on the right side of the nose). The two-stage intake manifold as used in the previous 13B was used, though redesigned with different runner length. As on the prior Turbo, the primary port was located on the central side housing, while the secondaries were in the front and rear side housings.

The Turbochargers were mounted on a cast-iron exhaust manifold, dubbed "Dynamic-Pressure," close to and in a direct path from the exhaust ports. From the Turbochargers, the exhaust was routed through a single-tube exhaust system to a two-stage, five-bed oxidizing, three-way, low-restriction monolith catalyst Behind the catalyst was a single muffler of larger capacity than the twin routtiers used on the previous Turbo engine.

Ignition was electronically controlled with two platinum-tipped spark plugs par cylinder. On RX-7s with automatic transmissions, the engine and transmission computers were networked; ignition was momentarily retarded to smooth shifts.

The compact coolant radiator was canted forward (58° from vertical) and fully shrouded with two electric fans. Base and touring models had one oil cooler behind the small left side opening; the R1 had one on either side. To assure ade- quate lubrication, the oil sump is elaborately shaped and baffled.

The 1993 RX-7 was new from the ground up Mazda abandoned the MacPherson strut / DTSS- semi trailing arm arrangement of the second gen eration for full-blown double A-arm suspension on both ends. Mazda, however, didn't give up the acronyms. The new RX-7 had DGCS (Dynamic Geometry Control System), which included the basic geometry of the system including all arms and linkages and bushings. The upper A-arm was "squeeze-cast" aluminum (squeeze casting is essentially a pressure-cooled casting equivalent in strength to forging), The load-carring lower arm was hot-forged aluminum, and the suspension up-right was forged steel. At the rear, to maintain proper toe control, a rather elaborate set of links was used. The main rear toe control link was ad- justable for alignment purposes.

"Coil over" shock absorbers were used at all corners, mounted at the lower end to the lower suspension arm. Spring rates were 106lb/in front and rear, for base, Touring, and R1 models. Similar tubular anti-roll bars were used front and rear (respectively, 1.1 in diameter. 0.16 in wall thickness; 0.7 in diameter, 0.10 in wall thickness) for all models

Firmer shock absorbers tuned the R1's suspension. Engine-speed-sensing variable power assist was used on the rack and pinion steering, decreasing assist at higher rpm. This provided assist more appropriate to the way the driver is driving. Low speeds do not necessarily indicate a need for high steering assist, as they do during autocrossing, where the car is driven enthusiastically but at relatively low speeds.

All models got the ultralight squeeze-cast 16in aluminum alloy wheels. At 15.41b, the wheels were almost 9lb tighter than the 16in wheels of the ear- lier RX-7 Turbo. Tire size was constant at P225/ 50R-16, with base and Touring models fitted with V-rated tires, and the R1 with ZR. Again, to keep weight down, the space saver spare was mounted on an aluminum wheel; the jack was aluminum as well.

Brakes were disc all around, with all models having 11.6 in diameter ventilated rotors. The front caliper was squeeze-cast aluminum and of four- piston type; the rear caliper was of the dingle-floatting-piston design. The front fenders of the R1 included a dedicated cooling duct, while the under- hood air flow was managed on all models to route heated air from the radiators away from the brakes.

A larger master cylinder was used on the new RX-7, with the dual-circuit system split fore and aft. A modulating valve was used on the rear circuit. ABS was standard on all models, with four sensors and three circuits; the rear brakes functioned as a pair

The body of the 1993 RX-7 weighed no more than that of its predecessor, but had 30 percent more torsional rigidity. Mazda engineers accomplished this with what they call a "Space-Monococque," so named for combining elements of a monococque and multi-tube space frame. Completely new, the body included extra structural pieces welded into a cage like surround for the cockpit, and rocker panels included "bamboo-like" crossmembers for rigidity. A lateral brace linked the rear shock towers for additional rigidity, and a similar brace was used on the front shock towers of the R1. Front and rear subframes were rigidly mounted for additional strength.

The Powerplant Frame -- the rigid connection between transmission and final drive first used in the Miata was developed for the RX-7. This mem- ber, which looks like a small bridge truss, eliminates movement of the final drive during hard acceleration and braking that can result in driveline "hop, snatch, and shudder" (exciting but not an Olympic event). Transmission choice on the base and Touring models included a five-speed manual or four-speed electronically controlled automatic; the R1 comes with the manual only. The manual is Mazda's Type R152, with Borg-Warner synchronizers, double-cone on second and third gears for increased friction area, and improved torque capacity and shifter feel. The linkage was revised for even shorter throws.

Peter Farrell #7 led a factory supported RX-7 assault on IMSA's Bridgestone Supercar series. At Road Atlanta,Willy Lewis #77 was eliminated in a last lap tango with a Corvette, but Farrell finished ninth in his second Supercar outing Peter Farrell Ractng

The automatic has three shift modes: Normal, Sport, and Hold Sport is engaged automatically when the accelerator is depressed quickly, and Normal is engaged when the accelerator is pushed down slowly, and also when the car stops. Hold locks the transmission in second or third gear when selected on the quadrant, and the Hold button on the selector is pushed. Final drive ratio with the manual transmission is 4.10:1, and with the automatic, 3.909:1, and a Torsen limited slip is used. This patented design (developed by Zexel-Gleason USA Inc. and more commonly seen on race cars and expensive exotics) mechanically transfers torque to the wheel with the most traction.

Eliminating weight was a mania, and examples of avoirdupois elimination included an aluminum hood--an 18lb savings over steel; headlight housing made of plastic -- 4lb lighter than steel each; and a thin-wall casting used in the rear differential.

The exterior design was completely in-house, derived from the best ideas of the competing Japanese and American Mazda teams. The result was an evocative shape that borrowed from the past. Drag coefficient was 0.31, not better than its predecessor but very respectable, with almost no aerodynamic lift and minimal frontal area. The interior was functional without being stark. The gauges had white letters, red pointers, and chrome trim rings The 9000rpm (8000rpm redline!)

Tachometer was centered, with the electronic 180mph speedometer to the right and ancillary gauges (fuel, oil pressure, coolant tempi to the left. Climate control and radio controls were nestled to the right, and a stub of a leather-covered shift lever was on the console. There was no 2+2 version ( except for Japan, where regulations are not as strict, back seats ) a true sports car doesn't compromise --- only a pair of lightweight high-back bucket seats. The three- spoke steering wheel (with driver's side airbag) has a leather-covered rim; clutch and brake pedals are die cast aluminum. Leather seating was optional on the base RX-7 standard on the Touring, and not available on the R1, a more "adhesive" cloth was specified.

The RX-7 was offered in three versions--Base, Touring, and R1 -- and they differed only very slightly. With identical engines and similar suspensions, it was merely the differing options that separated them. Touring, for example, included an "Acoustic Wave Music System," bent "caterpillar" fashion to fit the RX-7 luggage compartment (but also reducing total luggage space).

The 1993 Mazda RX-7 represented nothing less than a coming of age, a maturity of engineering. concept, and design. No longer restrained by the cost-saving use of sedan components or the need to match the shape and performance bogeys of other manufacturers' products, the new RX-7 was more refined and sharply focused, albeit more costly as well. It was simply the best RX-7 ever. Maybe even the best sports car in the world.

RX-7 Specials
No sooner had the insurance underwriters caught their breath than people began looking at how to make the third-generation RX-7 even faster. Peter Farrell, who campaigned the factory effort in the IMSA Bridgestone Supercar series, capitalized on that experience (as well as made good use of a Mazda's 1993 racing hiatus) by developing a special RX-7 This effort, which had the explicit cooperation of Mazda as well as the technical expertise of Turbo export Mike Levitas, produced a car that was actually faster than the IMSA Supercar racers, since it was limited only by car emissions regulations and not restricted by race-class rules.

The Peter Farrell Supercar RX-7s had a custom air intake system, a more efficient intercooler, recalibrated electronics, reworked Turbochargers, and 3in exhaust for more horsepower, as well as a shorter throw gearshift, a lightweight flywheel, and a Centerforce dual-friction clutch. Suspension was modified with Penske adjustable shocks, custom progressive-rate springs, and adjustable anti- roll bars Ride height was made adjustable by threaded spring perches. Wider tires (235/45-17 front, 275/40-17 rear) were mounted on OZ three- piece wheels, and carbon-Kevlar brake pads were used with custom brake rotors. And finally, the PFS RX-7 was distinguished by a custom rear spoiler and a Kaminari-styled aerodynamic nose with built-in brake ducts.

An independent effort came from Pettit Racing. It, too, was lowered with progressive rate springs and equipped with an adjustable anti-roll bar, though tires were 225/50-16 front and 245/50-16 rear. The special RX-7, called the Turn Key Terror (TKT), has a Borla exhaust aft of the catalyst and a custom air cleaner for improved airflow. The TKT RX-7 improves the efficiency of the Turbo intercooler by spraying it with a water mist, and slows down the accessories by 25 percent with a new drive pulley, which reduces parasitic drag.

The R1 of 1993 was replaced by the R2 of 1994, the primary difference being a softer ride for its "competition-tuned" suspension and Pirelli P-Zero Z-rated tires. The base and Touring models also had their rides cushioned, and a new option package included leather seating surfaces, a power sun-roof and a cargo cover. Dual airbags were standard and interior trim was revised for greater durability. Essentially, Mazda had cued on the changes that observers believed needed making and made them.

Year/Month                     Award/Competition            From Country 
           95 Ten Best Cars Car and Driver (magazine) U.S.A 
           94 Ten Best Cars Car and Driver (magazine) U.S.A 
           93/Nov Ten Best Cars Car and Driver (magazine) U.S.A. 
           93/Aug Annual Design Review Award I.D. Magazine U.S.A. 
           93/Feb Best Sports Car Motor (magazine) Australia 
           Car of the Year Playboy (magazine) U.S.A. 
           93/Jan Most Popular Domestic Car, personal use car category readers'  poll, Nikkan Jikayousya (magazine) Japan 
           Best 100 Products Popular Science (magazine) U.S.A. 
           Ten Best Cars Car & Driver (magazine) U.S.A. 
           Design of the Year Automobile Magazine (magazine) U.S.A. 
           93/Jan Design and Engineering Award Popular Mechanics (magazine) U.S.A.            
           Import Car of the Year Motor Trend (magazine) U.S.A. 
           92/Nov Golden Prize Vehicle Category, Super Goods of the Year Mono (magazine)  Japan 
           My Car Best Choice, sports car category Gekkan Kuruma Erabi/ My Car Kounyu Gaido (magazine) Japan 
           92/Feb Best Car of the Year Best Car (magazine) Japan 
           Best New Performance Car, Best Car of the Year Automobile Journalists Association of Canada Canada 
           92/Jan King of the Cars '92 Sports Nippon (newspaper) Japan 
           Car of the Year Motorland (TV program) Japan 
           Best Car, domestic readers' poll Car & Driver (magazine) Japan 
           92/Jan Car Design Award Car Styling (magazine) Japan 
           91/Dec Best New Car of the Year (Anfini RX-7) Automotive Researcher & Journalists' Conference Japan 

1986-1991 "FC" 2nd Gen Specifications

              Year   Name Horsepower   Torque  C/R 
           1986-1988 13B   146@6500   138@3500 9.4 
           1987-1988 13BT  182@6500   183@3500 8.5 
           1989-1991 13B   160@7000   140@4000 9.8 
           1989-1991 13BT  200@6500   196@3500 9.0 
              Year  Model/Engine                  Gear Ratios/Top Speed      Differential Ratio 
           1986-91  5-speed/13B       3.48,36; 2.00,63; 1.37,92; 1.00,125; 0.70,128        4.10 
           1987-88  5-speed/13BT      3.48,36; 2.02,63; 1.39,91; 1.00,126; 0.76,142        4.10 
           1986-91  4-speed auto/13B                                                       3.91 
           1989-91  5-speed (LSD)/13B 3.67,38; 2.22,62; 1.43,96; 1.00,133; 0.76,133        4.30 
           1989-91  5-speed/13BT      3.48,36; 2.02,63; 1.39,91; 1.00,126; 0.72,146        4.10 
Exterior Dimensions
              Year  Length  Width  Height  Wheelbase   Track F/R 
           1986-88  168.9"  66.5"  49.8"     95.3"    57.1"/56.7"            
           1989-91  169.9"  66.5"  49.8"     95.3"    57.1"/56.7"          
           Year Model        Weight (lb) 
           1986 5-speed        2,625 
           1986 4-speed auto   2,695 
           1987 5-speed NA     2,700 
           1987 4-speed auto   2,735 
           1987 Turbo II       2,850 
           1988 5-speed NA     2,720 
           1988 4-speed auto   2,750 
           1988 Turbo II       2,870 
           1988 Convertible    3,003 
           1989 GTUs           2,725 
           1989-91 5-speed NA  2,857 
           1989-91 Turbo II    2,987 
           1989-91 Convertible 3,140 
           Year Model            0-60 0-100   1/4 mi.   Top Speed 
           1986 5-speed          7.8  23.7   16.2@86.4     128 
           1986 5-speed Sport    7.8  23.4   16.2@86.7     132 
           1987 5-speed NA       8.0  24.3   16.4@85.7     128 
           1987 5-speed Sport    8.0  24.0   16.3@86.0     131 
           1987-88 Turbo II      6.7  19.3   15.3@91.8     142 
           1988 5-speed          8.1  24.5   16.4@85.5     132 
           1988 5-speed Conv.    8.9  29.2   17.0@82.0     121 
           1989 GTUs             7.4  21.5   15.8@88.7     135 
           1989-91 5-speed NA    7.6  22.5   16.0@87.5     134 
           1989-91 Turbo II      6.5  18.2   15.1@93.3     146 
           1989-91 5-speed Conv. 8.7  25.7   16.8@83.1     125

The History of The 1986-1991 Rx-7
The Second Generation Mazda RX-7 breaks the IMSA record for a single model car with 67 victories and most consecutive wins for a model ( 11 years in a row )

By mid 80's the original RX-7 had grown old and sales were going down too. The 2nd generation RX-7 was soon to come and the car has been in progressive development from around the same time the first RX-7 was introduced. Date was being gathered from existing RX-7 owners of what they thought about the what they wanted in it, and so on. The new model was going to be a bit bigger, sportier, handle better, more luxurious and obviously cost more. So around 1981 the new car under codename P747 was started to be developed.

One main path that the new RX-7 did not want to go, was the big bulky " luxury sports car ". The new RX-7 was going to be built from ground up to be a light purposeful true enthusiasts sports car. Mazda introduces the 1985 2nd Generation RX-7 ( more popularly called the " FC " ) as a 1986 model. Numerous upgrades were made 'standard' at this point, including a standard 13B-DEI 146HP engine and 4-wheel disc brakes. For the first time in North America in 1987 a 180HP Turbo model was made available. The Turbo model was called Turbo II ( even though in press releases it was known as the GT ) because there was a Turbo I model in the previous generation RX-7. The transmission in the Turbo II model was a heavy-duty Type-R where the rest of the models would get the cheaper Type-M. The new RX-7 was a hit with the public and the best sales figures to date for the RX-7 have proved that ( 56,243 out of 72,760 produces in the the first year )

In 1988 a Series II RX-7 appeared, Mazda refreshened the RX-7, with minor exterior changes, the most obvious of which was the rear lights changing from the matrix of four lights on each side, to the classic looking round lights on each side, reminiscing of the R100, RX-2, RX-3, RX-4. Additional external changes included a revised front fascia ( old one ), and body-coloured rub strips. The normally aspirated 13B-DEI-II was revised to produce 160HP, the Turbo to 200HP. Several options and packages were changed, as well. For instance, pre-1988, the aero-effects package consisted mainly of small plastic pieces placed strategically around the body (behind front wheelwell and on the rear lip of the car behind the hatch). The new spoiler was much larger rear spoiler became available and appeared as standard equipment on the Turbo II.

The decision to replace the original First Generation RX-7 was made in the fall of 1980, and the official development proposal for Project P747 was put forth in June 1981 Akio Uchiyama, who had contributed greatly to the original RX-7, was designated Chief Project Engineer.

The new RX-7 would be a middle-road sports cars, somewhere between a basic and simple car, based on existing components, and an all-out techno-feast with electrically adjustable everything. A step up in class from the original RX-7, the new RX-7 would target the market of the Porsche 924/944. The final result, introduced for the 1986 model year, was very close to that bogey, too close in styling, say some, but a dead heat in performance.

Little but the name remained from the original RX-7. The shape was familiar but new, as was the basic chassis, with front strut suspension and front mid engine/rear drive configuration was retained. Lower arms for the front suspension, however, were H-section castings, for reduced vehicle weight. Aluminum hubs were also used up front for weight reduction. Ainti-dive was built into the front suspension, and special bushings were used to decrease harshness without decreasing precision or control.

The live axle of the first generation, one of the RX-7's inheritances from the RX-3, was abandoned in favor of fully independent rear suspension, using semi-trailing arms with DTSS (Dynamic Tracking Suspension System) featured a " Tri-axial Floating Hub " and an extra link to overcome the oversteer-inducilng toe-out during cornering, which was typical of simple semi-trailing arm suspension, and control the camber changes inherent in that suspension system. With DTSS, natural toe-out predominated below 0.4 g cornering force. This, in fact, helped in steering the car around turns. During harder cornering, however, the suspension load, the geometry of the links, and the calibrated bushing compliance combined to counteract the toe-out and generated net toe-in Toe-in was also created during braking, which aided stability. It was, in effect, passive 4WS. Though generally praised, DTSS was not without critics. Indy car engineer lan Reed, writing for AutoWeek, called it "an attempt to correct a basic design flaw"; ie., the semi-trailing arm setup itself.

Mazda's Auto Adjusting Suspension micro-processor-controlled shock absorbers with three damping rate settings was standard on the GXL. The computer varied shock in response to car speed, lateral acceleration, longitudinal acceleration and braking, and steering wheel angle, as well as to whether the " Normal " or " Sport " button was pressed.

Mazda finally replaced the recirculating ball steering system with rack and pinion. For a firmer on-center feel, Mazda put a 0.5mm bulge in the center of the rack for a tighter fit. Standard on GXL and Sports Package models (optional elsewhere) was speed-sensitive variable power steering assist.

Four wheel disc brakes with ventilated front rotors were standard equipment on the RX-7. The GXL and Sports Package-equipped cars came with aluminum 4-piston calipers up front and single-piston floating caliper ventilated rotors at the rear. The base models had single piston vented disks in the front and solid disks in the rear. These calipers were light weight, made of forged aluminum, and heavily finned for heat dissipation brake pads were semimetallic.

And finally, engine mounts were removed from the front of the engine relocated at the middle in order to eliminate resonance that occurred at about 3500rpm. Two transmissions were available, the Mazda 5-speed manual or JATCO 4-speed overdrive automatic. The exterior styling had to reflect the upward move of the RX-7 Mazda design chief Matasaburo Maeda, responsible for the styling of the 1st-generation RX-7, was clear about his desires for the second: " I want the car to impart a mature feel and an impression of quality. Youthful, yes, but not juvenile " Apparently, despite numerous racing victories, Mazda still had something to prove in the marketplace!

Originality is in the eye of the beholder. Automotive press comments on the new RX-7 included "clean and attractive" (AutoWeek) and "the collage [of Porsche, Daytona Z, and Camaro Z-28 styling cues] is attractive" (Car and Driver), while Road & Track said, the "styling may not be original," and in fact, called it "timid."Aesthetics aside, there were functional aspects of the body that were quite impressive, but certain limitations were inviolate.

For home-market sales, width and length could not exceed Japan's "small car" dimensions. Anything over 1700mm and the tax doubles; the RX-7 was the customary 10mm less. Weight was another constraint, not only for performance. Because fuel-economy testing is performed on a chassis dyno with resistance at certain weight breakpoints, Mazda needed to keep the RX-7 under the US EPA's 2,8751b class for standard transmission-equipped cars (3,000lb for automatic transmission class). It was critical that the RX-7 have a combined EPA city highway fuel mileage rating of 22.5mpg or greater to avoid the federal Gas Guzzler tax "Never again," stated Uchiyama, recalling the 1973 Oil Crisis debacle, "will we be called a guzzler"

Thus Mazda used light alloy suspension arms, engine mount brackets, front brake calipers, rear differential casing and mount, spare wheel, and, on some models, hood. Even the jack was for lighter overall vehicle weight!

Whether original or not, the body shape was aerodynamic. The drag coefficient for the standard model was cited as 0.31 The "aero kit," part of the Sport option group, reduced Cd to 0.29. Kit pieces included a small rear spoiler, spats on the rocker panels in front of the rear wheels, a discrete front air dam extension, and an aluminum belly pan under the engine bay. The large frame around the side windows not only gave an "aircraft-type" door opening, but also helped the door stay snugly closed at high speeds and cross winds, reducing wind noise. A metal sash around the hatch allowed thinner glass to be used, thereby saving 10lb.

The body was extremely rigid as well, and thanks to revised bracing for the US tests, 2+2 seating was optional in the new RX-7. Those choosing the "true sports car'' two-seat configuration got locking bins behind the front seat. The rear seats, when ordered, were tiny. One critic suggested using them for your pet monkey, an other for the "occasional munchkin." Either way there was no difference in the chassis itself, as with the 280ZX 2+2 "stretch." The wheelbase remained the same, as did the overall shape.

The new dash was reconfigured, with the tachometer given primacy again. In the reconfiguration, the tachometer was centered between a smaller speedometer on the right and 4 auxiliary gauges on the left. The steering wheel had a grippy rim. The shifter was universally praised for feel and precision. Some of the controls were quirky, but the interior was generally well received. The GXL model had upgraded velour and more carpeting, as well as optional leather seating. The seats were well bolstered buckets; the GXL's seats had added options for adjustability.

In addition to the upgraded accommodations, GXL models had larger 205/60VR 15" tires (versus 185/70HR-14" on the base RX-7). The Sports Package included the larger tire size, along with firmer shocks and springs. List price for the two-seat RX-7 was an amazing $11,995; for the GXL, $16,645 The 2+2 added an other $500.

RX-7 Turbo II:
The ink was barely dry on the first rave reviews for the RX-7 before Mazda brought forth the piece de resistance, the RX-7 Turbo II " The result " said Car and Driver, " is a fast and furious streetfighter with the legs and lungs to stick it in the face of much of the expensive iron tolling the streets " Indeed, in a 3-way test against the Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 944 Turbo. the RX-7 came in 3rd in acceleration, braking, and cornering, though only minimally, but it also came in third in price, In fact, the RX-7 was 1/3 as expensive as the Porsche 944. Bang for the buck? Mazda !!!

Introduced at the Chicago Auto Show as a 1987 model, the RX-7 was transformed from a really good sports car to something that honestly could be called world class by its 13B Turbo motor. The Turbo II designation (applicable to the engine only and not the model, Which was simply called Turbo) apparently came from it Mazda's second turbocharged rotary, though it was the first to be imported to the Uinited States. The first Turbo rotary was actually a 12A Turbo I, installed in the home market Cosmo Turbo ( launched autumn 1982 ) and later in a (again) home market version of the 1st-generation RX-7.

The turbo raised the horsepower to a new high for a production rotary: 182HP@6500rpm. But it was thirsty despite EPA ratings, AutoWeek editors found themselves unable to keep their foot out of that marvelous boost and no more than 11.8mpg ... But then the other complaint was that the $19,345 base price, which included sunroof, A/C, power windows and locks, and the aero kit, but not power steering, was subject to dealer-added profit during the RX-7 Turbo II's first year, such was the demand. And anyway, Motor Trend named it 1986 Import Car of the Year. As they say, when you're hot, you're hot. And the Turbo II was hot stuff indeed.

Hot on the heels of its maiden year, one wouldn't expect major changes in the RX-7. And one would be right. The most significant change was the optional availability of anti lock braking (ABS), but only on GXL or Turbo models. And at that, ABS added a whopping $1,300 to the cost, which had already gone up about $1,000 for all models.

Still there were more awards. Car and Driver named the RX-7 Turbo one of its Ten 10 for 1987, and Road & Track dubbed it one its 10 Best Values, as the Best High Performance Car for $17,500-22,500.

The RX-7 were topless for 1987 ( Turbo only ) and made it to North America as a 1988 model ( NO Turbo ), as Mazda's first production convertible. The roofless rotary was anticipated from the beginning of the 2nd generation project, and thus, accommodations for the convertible version were included in the basic design, The accommodations facilitated conversion, but the unit body required substantial reinforcement to compensate for the elimination of the steel root's truss effect. To wit, double-skinned sheet metal box sections were added to the crossmembers behind the engine and cabin, the door-hinge pillars were strengthened, the side sills were made from thicker steel, and plates were added to the floor pan Some 378lb were added, but most if not all of the body shake typical of topless models was eliminated. The RX-7 convertible had a three-position top and soft boot.

Other changes to the convertible included a final drive ratio of 3.98:1 ( instead o1 the 410:1 of the coupe ). With the ratio swap and additional weight, acceleration was slowed: whereas 0-60mph took about 8sec for the nonturbo coupe, it was 10.3sec for tile convertible. The steering wheel was slightly different for the drop top Mazda, and made for Mazda BBS forged-alloy road wheels were specific to the convertible.

The convertible top itself was well styled and even relatively aerodynamic when raised, upping the Cd to only 0.33, good even for a coupe, much less a ragtop, However, ragtop the convertible really wasn't, since it was fully lined and had no framework showing. In addition to the raised and fully lowered positions, the top could be set at "half-roof" by removing the rigid plastic targa panel that forms the front half of the roof. Luggage space, eaten up by the microchip-controlled electric soft top, shrank from about 20cu-ft down to just over &u-ft.

A Mazda innovation was the Windblocker, developed by Takaharu Kobayakawa. "Koby" liked to drive top down, but when driving to a Japanese ski resort, in season he found the backdraft made it spine-tingling in the wrong way. The Windblocker was the result.

Standard equipment included power windows and mirrors and an upgraded stereo; options for the Convertible were limited to one package consisting of leather upholstery, headrest speakers, and CD player. Sorry, no automatic in the drop top. bald Automobile of the convertible, " you can hear the muted burble of the twin tailpipes the note rising to a flat, symmetrical blare as the revs rise, in a way you never will in a closed coupe. Just one of the many pleasures of open-car touring. "

The base RX-7 for 1988 was dubbed "SE" and the GXL continued as the luxury version with standard electric sunroof, rear wiper/washer, power windows, leather-wrapped steering wheel cruise control, A/C, and AAS suspension; the GXL option list covered leather upholstery, ABS, CD, and the 4-speed automatic transmission.

A new GTU model, its name celebrating the model's competition success in IMSA's racing class, got 15 x 6" aluminum alloy wheels and 205/60VR15 tires (as did the GXL, while the SE made do with 185/70HR14 rubber on 5.5 x 14" wheels). Also standard on the GTU were "sport-tuned suspension" sport seats, aerodynamic body pieces, limited-slip differential, and body-colored electric door mirrors. No options were listed. Read & Track called it "one of today's truly great driving machines, a superb balance of all the things that make a calf go without sacrificing any of the qualities that make it nice to be in."

The Turbo continued in its 182HP ways with no significant changes. A 10th Anniversary package was offered on Turbo models, however. It included special badging on the flanks and an embossed 10th-anniversary steering wheel as well as virtually every option in the book. Price was an all-time-high $24,650.

The 1989 GXL got new wheels, a rear Spoiler and like all RX-7s, color-keyed side moldings. The turbo and the GTUs got new rims. Mazda reshuffled the RX-7 deck for the 1989 model year, and offered a new model, rearranged in honor of IMSA wins, the base 1989 RX-7 was called GTU, but a special model available for one year only was the GTUs, availability of features, and added power to naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines. For 1989, the GTU became the base model while the GTUs, according to Road & Track, was " endowed with all the sartorial splendor and handling progress of the top-of-the-line Turbo, without any sort of forced breathing " In other words, it was the Turbo chassis with the naturally aspirated engine. The Turbo was back as, Mazda said, "the ultimate expression of the RX-7 in terms of performance and technology." The luxury-oriented GXL returned, as did the Convertible.

The engines went to 160HP in nonboosted form and up to 200HP with the Turbo. Torque also increased, and the nonturbo engine revved to an amazing 8000rpm. In both engines, the additional power was due to higher compression ratios, lighter rotors and revised intake systems, and improvement in the turbocharger in the Turbo model. Fuel mileage went up as well.

The intake revision for the 13B engine was an advancement of DEI called Variable Dynamic Effect Intake This was a two-stage DEI controlled by which combined the handling package of the Turbo without the added expense of the turbocharged engine Mazda

A rotary valve that determined whether the pressure waves bouncing back and forth travel a longer or shorter path. Above 4500rpm, the valve opens, shortening the intake tract and increasing torque at higher rpm. The rotor was lightened by 5% and the flywheel by 16%, which allowed a higher rev limit. The airflow meter was changed to a linear type for reduced air resistance and more precise measurement, and the engine control computer speed was doubled and operation upgraded for faster response to throttle inputs. Even the oil pump was computer controlled for more effective lubrication and reduced oil consumption.

For the Turbo, a new turbocharger, dubbed Completely Independent Twin Scroll, fed both exhaust ports directly at the impeller, "This permits," explained Mazda, "the powerful exhaust pulse generated by the opening of the exhaust pert to directly hit the turbine blades without interference from the exhaust of the other rotor." Combined with the twin-scroll design of the earlier 13B-based turbo-rotaries, this resulted in reduced turbo lag and increased torque. Electronic control of the turbo wastegate, which allowed more closely calibrated response than purely mechanical control, also improved torque and response, and provided peak torque from 2,000rpm to 8,000rpm.

The 1989 RX-7 Turbo could be distinguished from earlier, less powerful turbos by its new nose, though the extra 12HP came from changes under the hood.

Mazda improved the shift-rod mechanism for better feel and shortened the shiftier too, reshaping it as a "gun-grip type" On all but the GTU, the shift lever, steering wheel, and handbrake handle were leather covered. Optional was a new electronically controlled 4-speed automatic with lock up torque converter and Hold mode that keeps the transmission in the lower three ratios when selected. The automatic was available in the GTU, GXL, and, for the first time, the Convertible, but not in the GTU s or Turbo.

Suspension was unchanged, except for the ball-joint mountings for the anti-roll bars, which Mazda claimed would decrease noise, vibration, and harshness. Engine-speed-sensitive power steering was used on the GTU and vehicle-speed-sensitive power steering was installed on all other models.

Built-in fog lights graced the front ends of the GXL, Turbo, and Convertible models, and all models had redesigned tail lamps with smoked lenses over dual round lights. Body side moldings were color keyed. More important functionally were the minor changes to the nose profile that decreased frontal lift and rear lift as well. For weight savings, an aluminum hoed was used on the GTUs, Turbo, and Convertible models.

Both the GTUs and Turbo had viscous coupling limited-slip differentials for better traction, the GTUs getting a final drive ratio of 4.30:1 to make better use of the high revving naturally aspirated 13B. The Turbo and less sporting manual-shift RX-7s were equipped with a 410:1 final drive ratio.

For 1989 only, the GTU had the base brake setup, while all other models got the 4-piston calipers. ABS was standard on the Turbo The GTU and GXL got 15" alloy wheels; the GTUs and Turbo got 16" alloys (both sizes lighter and restyled); and the Convertible continued with the 15" BBS rims.

The dash layout and marking on the gauges was changed for 1989. New seats, designed for better lateral support in cornering, also received new upholstery. Leather was again standard in the convertible and optional in the GXL and Turbo. Other interior changes included a mouse type passive belt for all models but the convertible, and a new parcel shelf shade for the Turbo and GXL (apparently the only RX-7 owners with something to hide). The 2+2 configuration was available only in the GXL. All in all, 1989 was a major step up for the RX-7, with significant changes making it a virtually a new model.

For 1990, the only change for the RX-7 was the addition of an airbag passive restraint for the Convertible. The GTUs model was dropped after 100 had been made. Sales and press release material doesn't mention the model, and it is only footnoted in the owner's manual specifications.

Mazda simplified the RX-7 line to three models: Coupe, Turbo, and Convertible and packed all three with an extensive list of standard equipment: air conditioning, power windows and door locks, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and antitheft alarm. The Coupe was available with two option packages. Package A upgraded the interior trim, added a power sunroof, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, the 4-piston caliper disc brakes, and an upgraded driver's seat. Package B was available with the Coupe or Turbo and included leather seat trim, a CD player, and rear cargo cover (standard on the Turbo).

The only option on the otherwise fully equipped Convertible was the 4-speed automatic transmission. The Convertible was painted using Mazda's Hi-Reflex process, which actually rotated the body while baking the paint in a drying oven. This process permitted thicker coats of paint to be used without runs or drips and provided a glossier finish than conventional painting processes.

Finally, 1991 can't be left without mentioning the RX-7 lnfini IV. This product of a Mazda skunk works for performance cars was the last of a series based on the 2nd-generation RX-7. It was to the RX-7 what the Road Runner was to the Plymouth Satellite, without the beep beep. A factory hot rod, the Infini IV was lightened ( 287lb ), by removing all the noise dampening material and using lighter parts. Stiffened ( shocks 25%, springs 10% and dropped 1" and it received a front strut brace, so the numbers showed a 0.91G on the skidpad), and generally biased as close to road race specs as you'd want a street-legal car to be. In fact, with no air conditioning, maybe even too close. Power was bumped to 215HP, largely by changing the exhaust "main fold" to increase exhaust impact on the turbocharger. Performance was 7s and 14.9s, with an impressively matching braking force 60-0 in 141ft. Color choice was restricted to a black-green. One Intini RX-7 was brought to the United States to fascinate American journalists who, once over the right hand drive, loved the hard-edged personality of the car. And yes, after its public relations stint was over, the Infini IV was shipped hack to Japan. So don't look for it in some dusty warehouse comer.

Well, there was no 1992 RX-7, just as there was no 1983 Corvette. With the 1993 RX-7 due out in midyear, dealers simply sold the old model till the new one came out.

What to Look For
The FC RX-7 was a big step up in durability from the first. Rust prevention was greatly improved, and the model's relative newness means that rust is less likely. A well kept naturally aspirated rotary should be able to hit the 200,000km mark, where a Turbo might need a major tune-up and at the worst a turbo or motor rebuild at 150,000km. Motors that are not cooled down or warmed up properly will have a better chance at failure. Some say that you should stay away from modified rotary cars, but you can save a lot of money and hassles if the job was done right in first place. And some would even argue that cars that have been upgraded will last longer if the muffler and the intercooler has been changed. One of the main killers of RX-7s is the exhaust system, plugged catalytic converters will the motor in no time ( pieces and back pressure will find its way into the motor and cause detonation or physical damage ). Many have a negative view on the RX-7 because of its reported short life expectancy and dealer prices. So some choose purchasing an RX-7 with a motor that is blown or high miles and good body shape and invest in a rebuild and better flowing exhaust.

This tine the Racing Speed pulls off another RX-7, this time an FC Mazda RX-7 (motor) and tries its luck again at Bonneville in the Grand Touring Sports class, succesfully reaching 238.442mph.

Amos Johonson starts off the season with a RX-7 win at Dytona 24H, but the dominat car would be the RX-7 driven by Tom Kendall, he was a young rookie that got 8 second palce positions. SCCA GT-3 runnoffs got Bill Schmid a 3rd place in a RX-7 and Bruce Short 4th in a RX-3. Millen had now concieved a lighter rally FC RX-7 with 4WD, a peripheral 13B, but it was still not enough to beat the Audi Quattro so he threw the towel and went to race his 323GTX for the Olympus team to win his class by the end of the season. This was the end of Milens rotary sports cars.

Amos Johnoson stats off the season again to win the Dytona 24H in the same car. Mazda's Manufacture's Championship was aided by the GTU wins of Al Bacon and John Finger in GT-2. The GTO was a disapointemt that year because the naturally aspired 3-rotor was simply not enough agaisnt the big V-8s and Turbos, the GTO car never finished better then 5th.

Tom Kenball repats another GTU win, but it was not in a Mazda or a rotary, he pulled it of in a Chevy Beretta. Although Amos Johonson won the Dytona 24H and Sebring. Chuck Kenball (father) bought Tom's RX-7 and let his other son Bart take it to 4th place. John Finger entere his RX-7 in SCCA GT-2 but got beat by couple of Porsches and a quick Celica to finish 4th. Bill Golden placed 3rd in his RX-3 and Jeffery Scorville had 6th in his RX-7 in GT-3. Millen wnet to win his class in the 323GTX and Richard Kesly won the Rally Production GT class at Pikes Peak with an RX-7

Amos Johnoson ran strong leading the Dytona 24H, was forced into the pits for 21minutes, came back and still placed 3rd. Al Bacon saves the points lead and places Mazda on the pole for the 8th consecutive time in the GTU class. In mid-season the new 4-rotor MX-6 arive and yeild another GTU win with John Finger. In SCCA GT-2 was a head-to-head battle between the RX-7 and the Porsche 944S, John Finger dodges off the course and brakes his suspension. Matt Minch started last with his RX-7 and brought it in the lead to only have it crash in the same race. Bill Reid entered a RX-7 in GT-3, qualified 2nd fastest but did not finish the race.

Mazda noticed that the sponsored racers were starting to have bigger chalanges from the factory financed Porsche, Ford, Chevy, so they built and sponsored entire teams. The new 4-rotor RX-7 proved to be the fastest in qualifing, but luck would have it and one would swollow a folt from the air filter and kill its motor early into the race. The sencond 4-rotor finished 2nd in GTO and 7th overall. The 4-rotr was designated 13J-M2 and it was the same motor as the 767B LeMans car from 1989. It had a Variable 2-step Intake System, trumpets would extend when load was low and shorten when loads where high. They were set to open at 7500rpm (80% laod) ... the motor was rated at 630HP@9000rpm and 378lbft@8000rpm.

All this was achevied on a normaly aspirated, regular unleded pump fuel from a 2.6L. First the #63 car retired, than the #1 car retired but they had enough points lead to land them into 3rd place. However the 4-rotors came back with vengence and took first at Maimi, Long Beach, than Topeka and another one at Mid-Ohio and San Antonio street race where the RX-7s have passed another Mazda milestone ...... their 100th IMSA win. In GTO Halsmer placed only 3rd. Amos Johonson took the GTU in the Highball Team RX-7 in Dytona 24H, this was the last GTU win that season and the 4-rotor MX-6 took the Manifacture's Championship with 1st and 2nd driver standings.

In this year Mazda only had one car in the GTU since they shifted their attention to GTO efforts. And again unsurprisingly the GTU win happened by Dick Greer (ex-89 Dytona 24H winner ) .... but the team brought the car a smashing 100 miles ahead of the 2nd place contender. The 2nd place was held by a ex-factory owned MX-6 4-rotor driven by Roger Mandeville and 3r place was held by Amos Johonson in the new style GTU RX-7.

Mazda had littel to gain from the GTU races so lots of effort went into the GTO teams, the suspensions were new, the aerodynamics were further improved. The team struggled to bring the car to 5th place. The Mazda team had an early points lead and the car entered at 2250lb and IMSA kept on adding weight (100lb after the New Orleans street arce ) to keep the series competative and the Mazda never gained another 1st place finishes at GTO races, but they managed wins at Laguna Seca. In the finaly the Mazda came ahead of the powerfull Nissans and finished first in the points league to win the GTO and this was an the same year that the 4-rotor program got the early kill. And Rod Millen took his RX-7 4WD Turbo to Pikes Peak to win the event, this time he came prepered, got the right times and recieved what he deserved.

Mazda ind the 1991 LeMans 24H ( first for a Japanese car and first for a rotary ) but the Frech banned the rotary after that so Mazda pulled the plug on the GTO 4-rotor racers and concentrated on the evem more chalanging GTP class. The team and the car was ill fated, the RX-792P never achieved its highs because of politics, so the cars were handicaped due to their motors, Peter Farrell and Willy Lewis for the first time in their series have finished 5th and 6th overall. That year the Daytona 24H was still showing strong runs by the RX-7 ... they "won" it again with another amazing 63 laps in front of a Mazda MX-6.

SCCA at Atlanta Bill Reid GT-2 RX-7 Placed 3rd, GT-3 RX-7 with Michael Lewis also placed 3rd. SCCA World Challange Makato Yamamuro finished 2nd in Class-B and Sergio Afansenko finished 3rd in Class-C.

At Bonnevile the Racing Beat team had a misshap, their new 3rd generation RX-7 had previously flipped at 240mph. This year the car wa entered in the C-BMS ( Blown Modified Sports ). This was the most sophisticated engine and car Racing Beat ever produced. This was a 3-rotor 13G ( not 20B) racing engine with Triple KKK Turbos ( one for each rotor ) each had its own intake and it was cooled by an water to air intercooler. The motor outputed 774HP@8100rpm the goal was 300mph. First the car pulled a 215mph at Ohio Transport Reaserch Center, than a 182mph El Mirage Lake (shorter than Bonneville) ... the car was traction limited even with a 150lb balast in the rear. The car hasn't had a desent run on the long track because of weather condition for couple of weeks. The car finaly had a run and became airborne, flew 10' in the air, landed on its rear right corner, did couple of other flips and slided upsidown.

Sports car sales where slowly goign down and Mazda also pulled the plug on their racing devision to concentrated on production and competition of production cars instead ( because of its finacial situation and the Japanese economy ). Gone was the still born GTP devision, but Mazda left some support to privateers that wanted to race. Mazda was still a froce to be wrekened with in GTU .... winning the 1993 Dytona 24H and Sebring 12H. Mazda took 3rd in Manufactures's Championship with its limited and deminishing crew.

In SCCA it was also a disapointing year in GT-2 and GT-3, many misshaps and black falgs eliminated and left the RX-7s behind in placings and point.

1993 GTU Greer/Uria/Bacon/Mees Mazda RX-7 (16th)1 lap
1988 GTU Johnson/Marsh/Marsh Mazda RX-7 (15th) 2 laps
1987 GTU Bacon/Reed Mazda RX-7 (17th) 1 lap
1986 GTU Mandeville/Smith Mazda RX-7 (8th) 1 lap
1984 GTU Baldwin/Young/Reed Mazda RX-7 (9th) 4 laps
1983 GTU Dunham/Kline/Compton Mazda RX-7 (6th) 1 lap
1982 GTU Mandeville/Johnson/Kline Mazda RX-7 (6th) 12 laps
1981 GTU Mueller/Bohren Mazda RX-7 (9th) 3 laps
1980 GTU Mandeville/Downing/Friselle Mazda RX-7 (9th) 10 laps

Year/Month Award/Competition From Country

90/Oct won IMSA GTO-class Manufacturers' Championship(based on points won during racing season) International Motor Sports Association (race sanctioning authority) U.S.A.
90/Nov Top Ten Performance Cars ('Cost an Object' Category) (RX-7 Turbo II) Motor Trend (magazine) U.S.A.
87/Dec Ten Best Values, High Performance Category ($17,500 - 22,500) (RX-7 Turbo) Road & Track (magazine) U.S.A.
Ten Best Cars (RX-7 Turbo) Car and Driver (magazine) U.S.A.
86/Jan Import Car of the Year '86 Motor Trend (magazine) U.S.A.


The following models were available for Series I: ( 85-88.5 )

Base Model: (SE) Has 14" wheels that have been described as "rotary phone dials". Cloth seats, 2-caliper front brakes.

Sports Package: 15" wheels with angular off-axis pattern (also adopted by GXL). Speed sensitive steering tapers off to zero at 55mph. Aerodynamic trim: front air dam, side skirts, black spoiler.

GTU: Brakes are upgraded to 4 calipers, the hood is lightened with aluminum alloy, and the transmission is beefed up to be like the Turbo II.

GXL: Luxury model features AAS (Auto Adjust Suspension). Wheels are 15", rear wiper, power locks and windows.

Turbo II: Readily recognizable by the scoop in the hood, which is not for engine air intake, but provides cooling air to an intercooler which cools the compressed intake air to raise the adiabatic efficiency of the engine. This is needed because compressing air raises its temperature.

Convertible: The convertible had a good drag coefficient of 0.33 with the top raised and a respectable 0.38 with the top down. There is a wind-blocker behind the seats to reduce air flow into the passenger area. The top is hard above the cockpit and soft elsewhere. The rear window is glass. The only engine in the US was normally aspirated and in Japan it was only turbo. Wheels are wire mesh style. Tom D'Acquisto(f) has a site especially for the convertible. George Samuels has a convertible with a 20B three rotor engine in it.

The following models were available for Series II: ( 88.5 - 91 )

Base Model: Derived from the first half's GTU.

GTUs: Lightweight sporty model with many of the performance features of the Turbo II, but with a normally aspirated engine.

Turbo II: The rear spoiler on the Turbo II was enlarged, scooped and has a slot. Power windows, locks, leather interior option, cruise control option, CD player option.

1978-1985 1st Gen Specifications

Dimensions/Capacities/Performance figures

Body Type: FR GT Coupe
Number of doors: 3
Drag Coefficient: 0.29
Length: 169 in. (170.1 in. for 1981 and later)
Width: 65.7 in.
Height: 49.6 in.
Wheelbase: 95.3 in. (front wheels to rear wheels)
Track, f/r: 55.9/55.1 in. (left wheels to right wheels)
Ground Clearance: 5.7 in
Legroom: 41.5 in
Headroom: 37.2 in
Headroom w/soonroof: 36.8 in
Shoulderoom 51.4 in
Hiproom: 49.8 in

Empty Wt - Varies with options and model year; 2350 lbs for 1979
4 spd S model to 2500 lbs for GSL model.
Average wt = 2450 lbs
1984 & '85 GSL-SE 2512 lbs
Weight With AC + 55
5-speed 1030 kg 2325 lb
Auto: CAL 2380 lb
Auto: 2390 lb
GSL-SE: 2512 lb
Weight distribution: 50% Front

Engine specs:
12A 12A 13B
Displacement: 1146 cc/70 cu in 1146 cc/70 cu in 1308 cc/80 cu in
Compression: 9.4:1 9.4:1 9.4:1
Horsepower: 100 @ 6,000 101 @ 6,000 135 @ 6,000
Torque: 105 @ 4,000 107 @ 4,000 133 @ 2,750
Induction: Nikki 4 bbl carb Nikki 4 bbl carb Bosch L Jetronic FI
Rotors: 2 RC
Valve Gear Periferal Side Ports
Valves per Rotor: 4 / 6
Swept Volume: 1156 cc & 1308 cc
Power-weight ratio: 104 & 134 - bhp/ton
Specific Output: 87 & 113 - bhp / litre

Fuel System:
12A Carburetor, 2-stage 4-bbl downdraft
13B FI , 6 engine sensor monitors
Catalytic converter Thermal reactor / Catalytic Converter
Aspiration Normal & Turbo ( Japan )
Compressor type NA & Single Hitachi Turbo
Intercooler N & Y

Manual overdrive Full syncromesh with hydraulic low-friction clutch (Heavy-duty clutch for GSL-SE)
Automatic overdrive Fully automatic with lock-up/ lock-out torque converter (Avaliable GS, GSL only)
4 spd man, 5 spd man, 3 spd auto in 1979 and '80.
No 4 spd man in 1981 and later models.
4 spd auto available in 1984 & '85.

Ratios: 1st 3.674 3.622
2nd 2.217 2.186
3rd 1.432 1.419
4th 1.000 1.000
5th 0.825 0.758 SE: 0.807
Reverse 3.542 3.493
Final 3.933/4.076 3.933
System Rear-wheel drive / Limited Slip Differential: GSL, GSL-SE.
Steering Radius: 16 ft.

Fluid Capacities:
Fuel tank: 14.5 gal (1979 & '80) 16.4 gal (1981 & later)
Engine oil: 5.5 qts (thru 1982) 4.8 qts (1983 & later) 6.1 qts (SE model)
Cooling system 9.5 quarts, forced water circulation

Oil meter pump flow:
2.0 - 2.5 cc/6 min (1979 & '80)
1.8 - 2.2 cc/6 min (1981 & later)
0.8 - 1.2 cc/6 min (13B engine)

Transmission oil:
1.8 qts (1979 - '81)
2.1 qts (1982 & later - including 13B)
7.9 qts (automatic) Type "F"

Wheels, tires:
Steel 5"x13" 165 HR 13 (S, GS)
Aluminum 5.5"x13" 185/70 HR 13 (option non-SE models)
Aluminum ? 14" ? 14 (Limited and SE)

Front Suspension Independant, A-arms, Coil Springs and Sway Bar
Rear Suspension Independant, A-arms, Coil Springs and Sway Bar
Controler Torsen limited slip differential, Electronic Traction Control

Performance Figures:
These are general figures due to the differences in driver technique, road surfaces, air temperature, etc on tests done at different places and times. Most published results were achieved with nearly new, well maintained cars.

0 - 60 accel: 9 - 10 secs varies with engine/trans | 80 - 9 secs SE model (13B engine)
1/4 mile accel: 17 - 18 secs/80 - 83 mph | 16 - 17 secs/84 - 85 mph (SE model)
60 - 0 mph braking: 150 - 160 (drum rear brake), 160 - 170 (rear disc brakes)
Cornering "g": approx .78 approx .85 (SE model-different tires)
Lateral Acceleration: 0.79G & 0.81G
Slalom: 64km/h & 65km/h
Maximum Speed: 130 mph (208 km/h)

• Dover White
• Persimmon Red Metallic
• Sunrise Red
• Sunbeam Silver Metallic
• Light Beige • Tornado Silver Metallic
• Sparkling Black Metallic
• Tender Blue Metallic
• Havana Brown Metallic

Vin Info:
Model Year VIN Ser Numbers
1979 SA22C - 500001 +
1980 SA22C - 600001 +
1981 FB33 - 500001 + (USA)
1982 FB33 - 600001 +
1983 FB33 - 700001 +
1984 FB33 - 800001 +
1985 FB33 - 856209 +

How to interpret the VIN (Chassis No.)

Vehicle Identification System for Mazda RX-7 series (1981 - )

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for RX-7 (1981 and later year models) consists of World Manufacturer Identifier, Vehicle Description Section (VDS), Check Digit, Model Year Code and Production Serial Number which is sequentially numbered within each VDS.

Shown below as an example is the VIN for a Mazda RX-7 (1981 model).

             ____ VDS (Vehicle Description Section)
   J M 1 F B 3 3 1 4 B O 5 1 2 3 4 5
   ----- --- --- - - - - -----------
     ^    ^   ^  ^ ^ ^ ^ Production Serial Number
     |    |   |  | | | |
     |    |   |  | | | |__ Assembly Plant Code (O = Hiroshima)
     |    |   |  | | |
     |    |   |  | | |__ Model Year Code (B= 1981, C = 1982, D = 1983...)
     |    |   |  | |
     |    |   |  | |__ Check Digit *
     |    |   |  |
     |    |   |  |__ Miscellaneous Identification Code **
     |    |   |
     |    |   |__ Body Style Code
     |    |
     |    |__ Car Line Code (FB = RX-7 Series)
     |__ World Manufacturer Identifier (All Mazda Passenger Cars are identified by JM1.) 

* Check Digit is included as a VIN security feature to permit law enforcement verification of the authenticity of a suspected illegal VIN plate. This single digit number is determined, based upon a complex mathematical formula which is applied to each vehicle's VIN number.

** Miscellaneous Identification Code identifies major components such as engine, brake system, cab type, etc. However, if all models of the same car line use the same such components, this code is indicated as a numeric character "1" only.

List of Monthly starting VIN (Chassis No.):

                 1983   1984   1985
           JAN  815218 881177
           FEB  819695 885029
           MAR  824687 889474
           APR  829422 893766
           MAY  834333 899625
           JUNE 839137/850001 905108
           JULY 850015 909988
           AUG  856209 912608
           SEPT 800001 861829
           OCT  800882 866965
           NOV  806531 871511
           DEC  811185 876904

Factory List Prices: Actual prices varied throughout production year, area of country, and of course depending on options.

         S      GS     GSL    GSL-SE
1979 $ 6,395 $ 6,995 (when introduced '78)
     $ 7,195 $ 7,995 (early in '79)
1980 $ 7,645 $ 8,395 $ 9,795 ("LS")
1981 $ 9,395 $ 9,895 $11,395
1982 $ 9,695 $10,295 $11,895
1983 $ 9,895 $10,915 $12,595
1984 $10,195 $11,295 $13,095 $15,095
1985 $10,945 $11,845 $13,645 $15,645

[1] From 1984 Mazda RX-7 Sales Literature.
[2] From Feb. 1984 Motor Trend article on GSL-SE:

0 - 60 accel: 7.96 sec.
1/4 mile accel: 16.06 sec @ 85.1 mph
60 - 0 braking: 135 ft

Mazda RX-7: The First Generation 1979 - 1985 by John Ball (1990)
Mazda RX-7 owners manual (1984)
Mazda RX-7 shop manual (1984)
Mazda USA Part Catalog: 1984 - 1985 (1990)
Haynes RX-7 shop manual
Motor Trend, Feb. 1984

The History of The 1978-1985 Rx-7

Mazda started with the idea of a rotary sports car as soon as they negotiated with NSU about the rotary technology. There was 1965's R16A, it was a mid-engine 4-rotor sports prototype, in spider and (in clay model only) coupe versions, the RX500 mid-engined 1970 Tokyo Motor Show prototype, and the X020Z, which never made it beyond paper. The X020G however made it to clay model stage, and 15A and 21A engines actually ran on test benches. The Corvette competitor, the X020G, fell victim to the OPEC oil embargo of 1973 The X110 never made it beyond styling study stage, but the X408 and X516 went so far as to be considered for ways to get double duty out of the X517 sedan. This sedan later became Project X606, the forerunner of the original reardrive 626 (Capella). Floor pans would be shared, with front strut suspension designed so that with lower control arms flipped, one way it made a longer wheelbase for a sedan, and turned the other way, a short wheelbase for the sports car. This idea, however, was stillborn.

Immediate sponsorship for the rotary-engined sports car was primarily from two individuals: Akio Uchiyama and Simpei Hanaoka. Uchiyama had been assigned to Project X516 ( headed by Jiro Maebayashi ) after having talked at Japan's Suzuka Race Track with Japanese enthusiasts who Hanaoka, a Toyo Kogyo board member representing Sumitomo Bank, had toured the US in late 1975 and upon his return reportedly stunned the directors by recommending a Mazda Rotary-Engined sports car for the American market! Having learned from the mistakes of the RX-5: The goal this time was a clean, simple and functional sports car.

After Road & Track test drove the Cosmo 110S in its February 1976 issue, they thought it would have been nice if there was a rotary car that compete with the Porsche 914 and Fiat X1/9. Mazda later that summer started the project called X605. The first prototype was completed in 1977. It was introduced to North America as a 79 model on April 24, 1978 since production began in March. A slogan Mazda used was " It's the real thing. A sports car with all the traditional virtues and then some." One magazine's headline was " The Rotary Revolution has begun ". Thus began Mazda's passion for pure sport cars that has continued through three generations ( SA, FC, FD ) and includes the Miata too.

The 12A engine (2 x 573 = 1146cc) engine was selected to power the RX-7, though it was updated and nudged to 100HP@6000rpm and 105lbft@4000rpm. A Nikki four-barrel carburetor fed two side intake ports per chamber, with the single peripheral exhaust port feeding the thermal reactor. The air pump directed air to a preheater before sending it to the reactor, thereby encouraging more complete burning of exhaust. A number of detail improvements were made to the 12A for the RX-7, including gas nitriding of the side housing for better wear characteristics. Seals were modified for better sealing and reduced wear. Improvements were made to both oil and water cooling, the carburetor floats were redesigned to prevent fuel cutoff in cornering, and a hot-start system incorporated also. Transmissions were 4 & 5 speed manual (an 0825:1 overdrive added as to the otherwise identical 4-speed's ratios) and 3-speed auto. Regardless of transmission, a 3.909:1 final drive ratio was used. North American models were two seaters only, though a 2+2 was offered in Japan due to relaxed crash standards.

Front suspension was by MacPherson struts, with trailing links, stamped lower control arms, and a 23mm anti-roll bar. The live axle rear end was controlled by four trailing links and a Watt linkage, the latter chosen over a Panhard rod because (A) it provided a "more favorable roll center," and (B) allowed a shorter rear overhang By design, the Panhard rod is behind the axle, and the Watt linkage ahead of the differential. Had the Panhard rod been used, the RX-7 would have been 3" longer. Coil springs and Kayaba gas-filled shocks were mounted separately on the rear axle (for longer travel than if a concentric mount had used); an 18mm anti-roll bar was used at the rear on one model. Cost and time restraints necessitated recirculating ball steering, disc/drum brakes, and the 13" diameter wheels. A thicker, stiffer steering shaft, however, contributed to more precise action of the steering Mazda claimed steering precision approaching that of a typical rack and pinion system.

Kenichi Yamamoto praised his beloved rotary engine upon the introduction of the RX-7, touting its "light weight and high acceleration (that makes) a unique and exciting combination for a sports car powerplant. "Toyo Kogyo president Matsuda claimed the rotary engine was "crucial" to the RX-7. Said Matsuda, "A sports car seems to just naturally maximize the overall performance potential of rotary power: good handling, quiet and smooth ride, quick acceleration."

The RX-7 debuted in the spring of 1978, production started in March and introduced as a 1979 model. Road & Track compared its impact to the instantly successful 1970 introduction of the Datsun 240Z. "A major breakthrough for the enthusiast" is how Road & Track subtitled it's initial article on the rotary-powered sports car. It was, the magazine noted, the first such vehicle since the demise of the original Cosmo Sports and the NSU Prinz. The interior was described as "enthusiast" with a big central tachometer (shades of Alfa Romeo), flanked by a 130mph speedometer on the right and a three-in-one temperature gauge, fuel gauge, and clock to the left. The tach doubled as a voltmeter, showing the state of battery charge before engine start. Warning lights below the gauges monitored the usual functions, including state of charge with the engine running. The RX-7 was praised for ventilation and heating (a Mazda tradition), including the then novel idea of demisting the side glass by separate vents at the A-pillar Some of the materials used on the RX-7's interior, however, were not felt to be up to Mazda's usual standards.

Initial driving impressions were uniformly favorable, from the strong feel of acceleration to generally balanced handling Road & Track recorded a standing start quarter mile in 17sec flat, 0-60mph in 9.2sec, and a top speed (in fourth and fifth) of 122mph. Ride was praised as " the best combination of springing and shocking of any Japanese car " though the rear anti-roll bar was criticized from the outset for causing the inside rear wheel to lift and spin on tight medium-speed corners, causing oversteer characteristics, which changed to understeer when the wheel came back down. The rear suspension would probably become the most commonly mentioned shortcoming of the RX-7. Note the absence of passenger side mirror. In contrast to frequently overdecorated Japanese designs, the RX-7 was unpretentious and efficient of line. Greenhouse area was said to resemble an airplane's canopy.

The RX-7 was initially offered in the following trims:

S The S was not a stripped loss leader, however, as standard equipment on the $6,395 base model included AM/FM stereo radio with electric actuated antenna, tinted glass, quartz clock, rear defogger, and HR-rated 165-13 steel belted radials from Bridgestone.

GS The GS package was $600 more, offered a lot of functional stuff: the 5-speed gearbox, 185/70-13 Bridgestones, the rear anti-roll bar, and a 4-spoke (instead of the base's 2-spoke) padded steering wheel, as well as an electric hatch release, a day-night mirror, and miscellaneous trim bits including side molding not on the base model. Aluminum alloy wheels were not included in the GS package The standard wheel was a 5" wide styled steel rim painted an aluminum/gray color. The optional 5.5"-wide alloys added to the sticker price, and the intricate design added a lot of time to a car wash to get all the road dirt and brake pad dust from all the nooks and crannies. Other freestanding options were the automatic transmission, air conditioning, stereo cassette sound system, a rear spoiler, and California emissions.

Dashboard / instrument panel was integrated with center console. This 1979 RX-7 GS is equipped with optional air conditioning (note tour-spoke steering wheel). For 1979-80 models, the tachometer face included a novel voltmeter that displayed battery voltage when the key was in the "on" position before the engine was started Road & Track

P642 (1979)

The P designates "production". Upgraded interior materials. Production changed October, 1979. Early 1979 models, those built in 1978 had only a left outside rearview mirror, and the prop rod for the hood was on the right instead of the left, The 1979 and 1980 GS models had a narrow rub strip (compared to the wider rub strip beginning in 1981) that filled a body crease along the side of the car, and in 1980, the radio antenna was made eight inches longer for better reception.

Ghost drawing shows compact layout of RX-7 afforded by rotary engine. Mazda tipped its hand by showing a " competition version " of the RX-7 at the model's 1978 Hiroshima introduction.

P815 (1980)

It appeared in August 1980. The rear and tail lights were redesigned eliminating the "Baroque depression". Front bumper, air dam changed. The Japanese variant had rotor inspired aluminum wheels. Changes to 1980 models included tile availability of vinyl seats, an improved sunroof mechanism (though still of the "liftoff" variety), and the Joan Claybrook Memorial 85mph speedometer, which was installed per federal regulation (replacing the original 130mph unit). Electronic ignition was in in 1980 as well, eliminating once and for all the hassle of points, condensers, and dwell meters. Save the timing light, however, as the electronic distributor should have its advance checked (although once set is much less likely to change than the old contact point distributor). The only external way to identify the 1980 RX-7 from the 1979 was the presence on the later cars of two rubber nubs on rear bumper's rub strip. Strangely, Mazda designers eliminated these in the 1981 restyle, On the inside, the 1980 RX-7 is distinguished from the 1979 by only the 85mph speedometer.

GSL model began in 1980 as the " Leather Sport ", 2500 units, and became the GSL in 1981. The "LS" featured a leather wrapped interior, including "competition style" seats as used on the Anniversary RX-7, the steering wheel, and gearshift knob. Leather Sport RX-7s also included a sunroof, "gold" aluminum alloy wheels, a four-speaker AM/FM multiplex radio, the remote control mirrors, raised white letter 185/70HR-13 steel-belted radials, and a special "LS" medallion. Only three colors were available: Solar Gold, Brilliant Black, and Aurora White. In Canada, this was known as the GX.

Mazda celebrated its 10 years on the US market with special anniversary editions of the RX-7, as well as the 626 and GLC. Availability was to be limited to 8,000 cars nationwide (though exact mix among models was not specified), and all three models were outfitted in the same livery: a new color, Mazda Renaissance Red (for Mazda's "rebirth" in the US, thanks to the GLC, 626, and RX-7), pinstriping, and a medallion with the Roman numeral "X". The Anniversary RX-7 was based on the "GS sunroof" model and included specific upholstery on new "competition style" seats, a 4-speaker AM/EM sound system, inside remote controls for the dual outside rearview mirrors, and the otherwise optional aluminum alloy wheels.

Series II (1981)

The 1981 model year saw the first changes to the RX-7, with one particular mechanical change overwhelming styling and marketing changes. To wit: The thermal reactor was gone. Instead, a "reactive exhaust manifold" attached directly to the engine served as a chamber to burn unburned hydro-carbons and carbon monoxide in the exhaust, with air pumped in through the exhaust port. Two catalytic converters were mounted in series behind the exhaust manifold, the second with two catalyst beds and air injection.

According to Mazda, "During deceleration and at low engine speeds, when HC and CO tend to be produced in larger amounts, air is directed to the engine exhaust port. In this phase, HC and CO are oxidized in the front and rear beds of the pellet [second] catalyst. At middle engine speeds, tile air control valve diverts air to the pellet catalyst" This "split air," as it is called, is injected through a nozzle located between the two pellet beds. With the exhaust port air stopped, the front bed serves as a three-way catalyst primarily taking care of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), while tile rear bed with the split air continue to oxidize HC and CO. The first (monolith) catalyst served as a "back up" and to preheat the exhaust for the second main converter. No exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) was needed for the rotary engine, which is low in NOx.

A "shutter valve" in the intake manifold closed the primary intake path for tile rear rotor chamber under deceleration (via engine vacuum), diverting the total air-fuel mix from the carburetor (still a 2-stage 4-barrel) to the front rotor. A "coasting valve" opened to allow fresh air into the rear chamber, preventing excessive vacuum. Spark plugs were replaced with four-electrode plugs with tile tips closer to the combustion chamber. And the trailing plug shutoff that had been used to keep HC high for complete bunting in the thermal reactor was eliminated as counterproductive with the catalysts.

The new lean burn system resulted in significantly improved fuel economy ( from 20mpg up to 24mpg ) for combined city/highway EPA mileage for the RX-7. Power remained at 100HP, but a curb weight reduced by 85lb ( by elimination of the heavy thermal reactor ) improved acceleration, according to Mazda's data, from 8.7sec to 8.6sec in a 0-60mph sprint. Ironically, the improved economy was accompanied by increasing the fuel tank from 14.5gal to 16gal.

Significant, though subtle, styling shifts were made in the 1981 model year. Most obvious was the rear lights. The "baroque depression" between the taillights, criticized by Werner Buhrer in Road & Track's first review, was gone. The license plate was moved to below the rear bumper, and the space between the actual tail lamps was filled with a black plastic band, matching the new smoked black tail lamps. The rear bumper was also better integrated into the body shape and its rub strip carried forward along the side of the car. The front bumper was also restyled and blended into the shape of the car with resilient polyurethane. The effect was to decrease the coefficient of drag (Cd) from 0.36 to 0.34, which, with an optional rear spoiler, could be lowered to 0.32.

On a more discrete note, black MAZDA logos replaced bright ones on the hood and rear deck. And to the relief of Saturday morning car washers, the available new optional aluminum alloy wheels had notably fewer dirt and dust catching crevices to clean.

Interior changes were led by the instrument panel. Gone was the clock, moved to the center console. The 3-function gauge to the left of tile tachometer included, for the first time a separate voltmeter and an oil-pressure gauge. The fuel gauge was moved to the bottom of the tachometer, which no longer served as voltmeter, The color of lettering and dial needles were reversed on instruments as well, from orange needles with white numerals to vice versa.

The shift lever, shortened by 50mm, was moved 30mm closer to the driver and the boot was redesigned. The handbrake was redesigned as well, and the sun-visors provided with recesses in the headliner Shiny interior trim was eliminated.

The base model was still called the S but had the 5-speed transmission as standard, along with the rear anti-roll bar (though reduced in diameter in response to previous complaints of tail happy handling). Also newly standard on the S were an electric remote fuel filler door release and intermittent wipers.

The GS got a new headlight reminder chime ignition key light, map lamp, headlamps, cargo area lamp, remote-control outside mirrors on both sides, and a "dead pedal" for the driver.

The Leather Sport of 1980 was continued as the GSL, though with a host of new features. In addition to the new GS items, the GSL got rear disc brakes, a limited-slip differential, a rear window washer and wiper, cruise control, digital clock, audio upgrade, power windows, special seats, a removable sunroof, and raised white letter 185/70HR-13 tires on aluminum wheels. A 3-speed automatic was optionally available on the GS and GSL, and the sunroof and wheels standard on the GSL were options on the GS Only the GSL, however, had the genuine leather upholstery as an option.

P130 (1982)

A stop-gap version appeared in July 1982, the P130, with an improved engine for better fuel economy. A high output audio system was an option. It was called "Black Dynamite". The 1982 model year was largely carryover for the RX-7, hardly surprising after the extensive changes in 1981. Mazda highlighted the change in tires, not size, but design in the information provided to the press. Instead of RD-106 tires, said Mazda, the GS and GSL would get RD-207 tires.


A new, rounder front bumper and smoother front-end styling highlighted 1981 RX-7's new look New wheels were much easier to clean. The heater/ventilation controls were revised, and all RX-7s got maintenance free batteries and new seats with lumbar adjustment and cushion modifications. The GS and GSL had the pop-out sunroof panel as standard, and sound systems for the premium models were upgraded. For the GS, there was an AM/FM stereo radio with cassette deck, six speakers, and manual tuner. The GSL's system added a graphic equalizer, electronic tuner, and stick balancer. The S got a remote release fuel filler for the first time.

A special limited edition was announced in March. A run of 5,000 cars, based on the GS trim level, would be produced in a new color called Chateau Silver, accented by red pinstriping. Specially styled 5.5" wide aluminum alloy wheels helped distinguish the exterior, along with Bridgestone 195/60HR15 tires and special badging on the rear pillar. Other special features of the Limited Edition RX-7 included a pop-out sunroof, cruise control, "plush" red velour interior, air conditioning, and a special sound system with a four speaker ETR/AM/FM stereo/cassette, Dolby noise reduction, and seven-band graphic equalizer.


Toyo Kogyo found another horsepower for the federal version of the 12A rotary in 1984, bumping the 12A's rating up to 101hp@6000rpm. The came from a new, more efficient monolith catalytic converter. Ironically, EPA fuel mileage dropped slightly, from 23mpg to 22mpg combined.

A new 4-speed automatic with lock-up torque converter became the optional transmission on the GS and GSL, replacing the 3-speed. And the rear suspension was revised by relocating the lower trailing links 20mm lower on the chassis. This improved handling by reducing the tendency of the rear suspension to bind in hard cornering and suddenly shift the entire rear cornering load to the outside rear tire, causing sudden oversteer.

Inside, the 1984 RX-7 got a new instrument panel. The tachometer was no longer centrally located, but paired with the speedometer; a combined oil pressure and voltmeter was located to the left, and a temp and fuel gauge to the right. A new climate control panel had twist knobs instead of slide levers. The RX-7 also gained a 3-spoke steering wheel as well. The storage bins behind the front seats gained lights and locks And seats were improved.

The Mazda service manual lists two sizes of tires for the 13 x 5" steel rims, 165HR13 and 185/70HR13. Steel or aluminum wheels measuring 13 × 5.5" were mounted with 185/70HR13 tires. This was all small news, however, compared to the introduction of the RX-7 GSL-SE. Though it takes a sharp eye to distinguish a GSL-SE from its lesser brethren wheels are an immediate tip-off-the GSL-SE had significant changes, including the 13B rotary, that made it almost a completely new RX-7.

Mazda offered 5,000 Limited Edition RX-7s in 1983, featuring Chateau Silver paint with red pinstriping, 195/60HR14
Bndgestone radials, and special 5.5in wide forged aluminum alloy wheels. Mazda

P132 (1985)

GSL-SE model 84-85 The SE saw the reintroduction of the 13B engine, last seen in the 1978 RX-4, but now rated at 135HP because of Dynamic Effect Intake (DEI), 6-port induction (2 by 3), and electronic fuel injection. In Japan, there was a P132 with a 12A turbocharged engine. Power steering was offered for the first time. The interior was upgraded, but this did not appear in the Japanese Turbo version. With a new RX-7 waiting in the wings and the GSL-SE still in the slpotlight changes for the 1985 model year were minimal. All wheels, however, were 13 x 5.5", whether steel or aluminum. ( Correction: The GSL-SE models came with 14 inch wheels.... in '84 and '85 )

The Topless California

From 1979 to 1985, an obvious question was answered by Al Dooley when, as Pacific Avatar, he converted the first generation of RX-7 into convertibles. He had been working as a sales manager at a Mazda dealership, and one look at the new RX-7 in 1978 told him that a convertible would be a natural for the RX-7's clean shape and simple lines. Alter jigging and strengthening the body with framing under the floor pan, inside, and in the windshield posts, custom convertible tops were installed, Interestingly, the trunk lid of the 626 was found to be an almost ideal fit and had to be modified only slightly to be used on the conversions. Although a few convertibles were sold with standard mechanical equipment, most also had turbocharged engines, modified suspensions and brakes, and custom wheels and wider tires.

A series of wide-body convertibles, with front tenders and rear quarter panels flared, were constructed following the appearance of a special for a magazine, including one Twin Turbocharged RX-7 that was reportedly, and undoubtedly, a Porsche Carrera eater. The conversion also got extra publicity when one appeared in the low budget film, "Smokey Bites the Dust."

Several prototype convertibles on the 2nd generation RX-7 were built, though the project terminated when Dooley learned of Mazda's plan to produce a convertible of its own. First-generation cars were converted as late as 1988 with the last going to a doctor in Baltimore, Maryland. Although many were sold in California, Florida was the biggest market for Pacific Avatar's convertible RX-7s. In all, Dooley reports that 126 conversions were performed. The cars were numbered sequentially with a data plate installed under the hood.

Turbocharged and Fuel Injected 12A ( 1983 - 1985 )

The Turbo was Japanese model only. The 12AT powered the Cosmo & Luce before it powered the RX-7. The 12AT was the first Turbocharged and Fuel Injected Rotary engine ever. The Turbo was revised to have four side intake ports. Each bank has one injector located in the intake port in near the port opening in the trochoid chamber. Because of this location ( which is a cross between manifold and direct-injection ) Mazda engineers call the fuel system Semi-Direct Injection. The injector is actuated by a electric current and satisfied the rotaries widely varying fuel demands, from 600rpm idling and 7000rpm full operation. Air and fuel mixing is prompted at lower speeds by an air bleed to the injector nozzle receptacle, at higher rpm by a mixing plate socket, an open sided plastic tube with twin perforated plates. The plates splash and squeeze injected fuel, aiding mixture atomization.

The fuel-injection control unit is an analog type made Nipon Denso; it works in conjunction with the Mitsubishi Electric digital emission-control computer. Fuel is injected once per intake stroke. simutaniosly in both chambers. As there is a 180° difference in the rotors' working phase. One chamber is injected at the beginning of the intake travel where the one in the other chamber gets fuel when it is almost 2/3 through the travel.

As the rotary has an internal "internal" intake ports ( each chamber takes in fuel and air one one side of the trochoid-housing and travels to the other side, where combustion occurs ) chamber filling and mixture strength become uniform between the two banks despite the staggered injection timing. Primary intake port timing is unchanged from the carburated 6PI engine: opening at 58° ATDC and closes at 40° ABDC. Opening of the secondary port is advanced to 32° ATDC. Closing remains at 40° ABDC. The single peripheral exhaust port opens at 75° BBDC and closes at 48° ATDC. Of interest the air-only secondary intake port and manifold are dual throttle valves. A second butterfly valve is located upstream of manifold, it opens slightly later then the lower one. The dual-valve arraignment prevents sudden air-pressure shocks and together with the semi-direct injection system, allows a smaller plenum chamber.

The 12A turbo engine was only sold in the Japanese market. It was fitted to the last of the SA22C RX-7s (also known as "1st gens" in the USA or "series III" in Australia) and the "Cosmo" (essentially a 929 Hardtop) and "Luce" (929 sedan). The photos of the RX-7 above are courtesy of an RX-7 mailing list member whose work colleague owned a 12A turbo RX-7 while in Japan.

Originally the 12AT was boosted by a Hitachi HT18-BM turbocharger with a 62mm diameter, 11 blade turbine, and a 63mm compressor, supplying a relatively modest maximum boost of 320mm Hg ( 6.2psi ); typical for Japanese turbocharged piston engines is 400mm Hg. The compression ratio does not have to be lowered as much as that of the piston engine ( eg 8.5:1 compared to 9.4:1 ). The 1982 RX-7 Turbo made 160bhp @ 6000rpm and 224Nm @ 4000rpm. Late the engine was given a new turbocharger HT18S-BM, with a smaller 58mm turbine and a 56mm compressor. It was dubbed an Impact Turbocharger by Mazda engineers because it fully exploited the rotary's forceful exhaust-gas impact with a new turbine shape. The new smaller turbocharger has 5 more horses and it improved bottom-end torque and minimizing turbo lag.

The 12AT also had a Knock Prevention System. Mazda engineers had observed that the engine would show knocking at 2500 ~ 3750 rpm zone when intake temperatures exceed 85°C. The systems was composed of Ignition-Pulse, Intake Temperature and Boost Sensors that would detect the knock prone zone and signal this to the Emission Computer to let the fuel injector spew more fuel and retard the ignition. The new 13B Turbo II a more useful PiezoElectric knock sensor is used ). The plugs are now semi-surface discharge but the ignition is still like the one found in the 6PI.

As the turbo rotary's performance and consequently the thermal loads have been considerably increased (for the latter some 30%), lubrication of the trochoid sliding surface and turbocharger has become more critical. A new trochoidal surface treatment, called MCP (Micro-Channel Porous Plating) is employed in the turbo rotary. It is a development of the pinpoint-porous chrome plating of the normal 12A; the pinpoint holes are interconnected by minuscule channels. Also, in contrast to the carbureted 12A's oil mixing in the carburetors for seal lubrication, the turbo rotary has separate oil injection; per chamber, one nozzle into the primary manifold and another directly into the trochoidal chamber, both fed by a metering pump. The turbocharger is also amply lubricated, thanks to the rotary's already adequate lubricating capacity (the rotors are oil-cooled too).

The 12AT engine (with all manifolds, turbo, fan, alternator, powersteering and air-conditioning pumps) is 786mm long, 548mm wide, 638mm tall and weighs 162 kg.

RX-7 GSL-SE 1984-85

It was thought, and so reported in Road & Track that the new Mazda sports car to come in the late seventies would be powered by the 13B as well. That was not to be. The 13B went out of production in 1981. The 13B was back, however, in 1983, updated and better than ever with EGI 6PI and DEl, better fuel economy; and more power. It first appeared in Mazda's home market Cosmo/Luce series cars and then, in 1984, in the RX-7, where some thought it should have been all along. The 13B-powered RX-7 would be designated the GSL-SE and would have a number of chassis upgrades. But the big news was the big engine with the big horsepower: 135HP@6000rpm. The 6PI system was originally on the 12A rotary but not used in any car imported into the North America. The effectiveness of the engine can be noted in the GSL SE'S low torque peak, 133lb-ft@2750rpm That's barely above idle for a rotary, and with the horsepower peak at 6000rpm, you have some idea of the broad flexibility of the GSL-SE's engine.

As if quoting an ancient oriental maxim, Toyo Kogyo president Yoshiki Yamasaki noted at that time, " We believe ... that improved performance is valuable only when it is in harmony with a vehicle's other components " In other words, upgrade your chassis for the extra power. The GSL-SE was equipped with distinctive 14" aluminum alloy wheels mounted with Pirelli P6 205/60 V-rated radial tires, 10" ventilated discs at all four wheels, and revised mounting for the rear suspension (common to all 1984 RX-7s) The rear suspension changes decreased, but did not eliminate, the RX-7's propensity for tail happy handling. Power-assisted steering, a speed sensing system that reduced assist as vehicle speed increased, was optional on the GSL-SE. A multi-adjustable driver's seat was standard, as was air conditioning The five-speed manual transmission was also standard, and no automatic transmission was available.

The RX-7 GSL-SE claimed a top speed of 135mph and a standing start quarter mile of 16.1sec, It was EPA-rated at 18mpg city/29mpg highway, virtually the same as the smaller engined RX-7s All this came with the full creature comforts of the standard GSL, for better or worse. No full performance/low luxury version was available. As with the lesser RX-7 models, the GSL-SE was essentially unchanged for the 1985 model year. The wait for the new generation was on.

What to Look For a RX-7:

The first generation RX-7 is a collector's delight. There were enough made that they are relatively common, and there should be quality examples available just about everywhere, There were also special models and special equipment that make for surprises, and these can often be found in local classified ads for "old car prices." Excluding tile GSL-SE, the first-generation RX-7 came in two basic versions, the original 1979-80 and the restyled 1981-85. There's a general consensus that the latter is the better looking, though beauty is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder. Take your choice.

Optioned models will have more interest (and more value) in the future, so pay special attention to Tenth Anniversary models, sunroof models, original alloy wheels, leather interior, etc. These will add relatively little, if anything at all, to the price of a used car, but will be good to have later on.

Although Mazda had made great progress in corrosion resistance, most can be a problem in cars that have as many years on them as these do. Rustbelt buyers have to be especially aware of rust damage to unit body cars. Look at the bottom edges of doors. The drains were mere clips out of the inner door skin, and the relatively narrow gap could easily be blocked (usually by dirt but ironically sometimes by poorly applied rust proofing), leading to moisture accumulation and rust. The rear-fender lips are also prone to rust.

Pay particular attention to floor pans on cars with sunroofs, which have been known to let in more than rays and cool breezes. Note too that the drain holes, circular cutouts in each foot well can develop rust around the rubber plug. Press on the rubber bump strip on the bumpers; a crunching sound can indicate rust underneath, caused by trapped moisture. Rust also forms behind insignia. The badges are not glued on but attached by clips gripping studs that project through the metal These edges give rust a place to start.

Suspension bushings and joints will wear with age, and replacing them can make an aging RX-7 feel like new. Note, however, that the ball joints are integral with the lower control arms and are replaced as a single piece. It's more expensive than the conventional American practice of detachable ball joints. Tie rod ends will wear, too, and these are expensive for the RX-7, as are the bushings integrated into the rear suspension links. The recirculating ball steering can be adjusted to remove excess freeplay, although some is simply typical of the design.

A nonfunctional horn may well be a worn button out of adjustment an easy screwdriver fix and the brake-light switch, though not officially rebuildable, can be repaired rather than replaced by a clever thinkerer. On the other hand, the pop-up headlights will be expensive to repair if the electric motor is shot. Keep the mechanism lubricated (white grease is good) to maintain proper operation and prevent undue strain (and early retirement) on the motors.

Interior plastic is not great on the RX-7, and replacement of cracked parts will be difficult and repairs don't always look that good. Shop with care. Faded carpets, a bane on cars with large glass areas, can be dyed, but worn carpeting will need replacement. Contact your friendly Mazda salvage yard.

Some RX-7 owners have noted a tendency for rear wheel bearings to wear out at about 60,000 miles Another possible problem area to check is the clutch throwout bearing. Owners have also noted a whine developing in fifth gear, though this doesn't seem to affect operation.

Overall, the RX-7 is a stout, well-construtcted automobile. The engine seems to draw the fewest complaints and is frequently cited as capable of close to 200,000 miles without anything but routine maintenance, as long as that maintenance includes frequent oil changes. Buy the best RX-7 available. The added cost will be repaid in reduced expenses after the original purchase is made.


The GSL-SE is the prize of the first generation, at least as far as performance goes. The bigger engine is what the RX-7 should have had all along. The upgraded GSL-spec interior is a nice touch as well, even it not on every racer wannabe's wish list.

The 13B rotary in the GSL-SE required more cooling, so Mazda added the vented panel under the front bumper beginning 1984. Standard on the GSL-SE where special 14" wheels. The GSL-SE could be recognised by the special badging.

Areas to check include the same as the 12A-powered RX-7, as well as the usual rotary engine checks. Although the RX-7 doesn't have the rust problems of earlier Mazdas, the first-generation cars are getting older, and repeated exposure to corrosive environments will take its toll. Check the bottom of the door, the rocker panels, and inside the wheel lips, and check every spot underneath the vehicle where sheetmetal panels are spot-welded together. Cars fitted with aftermarket sun roofs should be given particular attention in the footwell area. Remember that rust is more expensive to fix than a solid car costs to buy.

Dash of the GSL-SE differed only in detail from the new 1984 dash in the lesser contemporary RX-7s.

Of course, check the car over as you would any used car. The multilink rear suspension has a lot of bushings in it, and cars can show deterioration in this area. The bushings are cheap and available, however. The rear axle itself is relatively durable, which accounts for their relatively high availability at wrecking yards.

The 6PI system, if malfunctioning, can cause puzzling engine behavior. If the tertiary port is stuck open, erratic low-speed running and a relative lack of low-rpm torque will disappear at higher rpm. If closed, power will be down on the top end due to the restriction of high rpm breathing And then again the valve could open and close inconsistently, particularly if the shaft controlling it breaks. That's rare, and as a result can be misdiagnosed as a fuel injection problem Proper functioning of the 6PI system should be checked before expensive electronic fuel-injection controllers are ordered, because usually they are not returnable!

The interior of the GSL SE was upgraded.


The first racing event the new RX-7 participated in was on the flat salts in Bonneville. Racing Beat has been a long time Mazda racer, they have previously broken the speed record in an RX-3 with 160.393mph for the G-Production class. The Bonneville RX-7 was outfitted with a Bridge Ported 13B plus 58DSF Weber carburetors, Hall-effect electronic ignition mounted on the eccentric shaft. The car was able to hit 10,000rpm and that was enough to hit 183.904mph on the flats.

The Racing beat RX-7 takes the win, same car that captures the 1980 GTU championship.

The RX-7 later debuted in Dytona 12Hour and took 1st and 2nd, set the fastest lap in the 2.5L GT Class and got handicapped later on. Later in 1980 the RX-7 terrorized the GTU class and took the Manufacturer's championship.

Later in 1981 the RX-7 took 11 victories out of 16 in the GTU class, taking the manufacture's championship again.

In 1982 the RX-7 enters GTO, does a 48min stop in the repair pits and pulls out strong to take 1st but 4th overall. The GTU class again was dominated by RX-7s for 3rd year in a row. This was also very special because it was the first woman to win any major race in North America. In 1982 the RX-7 captured the SCCA grid by taking 1st and 3rd.

In 1983 Rod Millen gets frustrated with the advantage of the Audi Quattro and builds his custom 4WD RX-7 because the older 2WD RX-7 came so close to the Audi ( 5s differences in most laps ). Millen won 2 races but still placed second after the Audi. The 300HP IMSO GTO RX-7 were pinned against 600HP Porsches. The cars started 9th, were leading their class and finished 3rd overall.

Racing Beat underpowered GTO RX-7 lead the 6-hour Motorsport Enduro after 2hours and left the closest competitor 6 laps behind. Unlike the previous victory in the short twisted track the car proved underpowered on the long tracks. Dave Kent with no factory backing took a small sponsorship with Firestone and ran the car to 1st place with 36$ passenger type radial tires rated at 110mph, they won the GTU class @ Daytona and four out of the next competitors were Mazdas. At Sebring RX-7s took 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Jim Downing was working on a new GTP racer and captured forth straight win for Mazda in an RX-7.

The RX-7 takes GTO again both in placing and points with only one car ( so no manufacture's championship is awarded ). Rod Millen takes the prize this year from the Audi Quattro. There was a RX-7 entered in the SCCA GT championships that took 1st place.

The RX-7 starts 5th in GTU moves fearlessly into the lead and finishes 1st by leaving the closest competitor 41 laps behind. This was also the year that Mazda beat the Porsche in the " most successful model " by taking 67 wins and leaving the Porsche Carerra RS with 66. The RX-7 was dominating the GT-2 class in SCCA with 6 out of 12 top finishers being RX-7s.

Year/Month Award/Competition From Country
83 Ten Best Cars Car and Driver U.S.A
80/Jan Car of the Decade Motor Fan (magazine) Japan
79/Aug First overall & first in category Stylish Car Contest, Brussels Belgium
79/Apr Automobile Grand Prix, Japan Motor Magazine (magazine) Japan
Most Significant New Import '79 readers' poll, Car & Driver (magazine) U.S.A.
79/Jan First in Sports/Specialty Division Motor Fan (magazine) Japan
Car of the Year '78 Grand Prix Motor Fan (magazine) Japan
Most Popular Car, Domestic Sports Category Gekkan Jikayousha (magazine) Japan
Best Car readers' poll Weekly Playboy (magazine) Japan
Best Car Pit In (magazine) Japan
79/Jan Best Sports Car '79 Road Test U.S.A.
78/Jun Best Sports Car Under $7,000 Road & Track (magazine) U.S.A.
Car of the Year '78 Grand Prix Motor Fan (magazine) Japan

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Copyright © 2004 SteveMullin.com / The Merlot Group, LLC, All Rights Reserved
This information is from many sources and I tried to give credit to all of them especially http://me.a-spec.ca:6001/.