Collectible Classic: 1979 - 1985 Mazda RX-7

Don Sherman
A. J. Mueller

Mazda's timing was perfect. In the late 1970s, British and Italian sports car makers were hanging by their fingernails, C3 Corvettes were aging ungracefully, Datsun's lovable Z-Car was evolving into the foppish 280ZX, and Porsche's 924 suffered from a hodgepodge of Volkswagen and Audi components. So the Mazda RX-7 that arrived in the spring of 1978 (as an early '79 model) was the answer to unspoken sports car dreams: it was attractive, fun to drive, and -- with a sticker as low as $6395 -- bargain priced. As a bonus, the RX-7 was powered by a rotary engine, which at the time was only one step down from a turbine as a source of wonder and amazement.

Actually, before the RX-7 arrived to save its bacon, the rotary was suffering. Beginning with the R100 in 1970 -- the year Mazda began importing cars to the United States -- the company used this engine to power a wide variety of coupes, sedans, wagons, and its compact pickup, but the 1973 energy crisis and widespread engine seal failures severely wounded the rotary's reputation. The more fuel-efficient and durable engine that arrived with the RX-7 essentially brought the rotary back from the dead.

The RX-7's real brilliance was its simplicity. The chassis used rudimentary components -- struts in front, a live axle in back, disc and drum brakes, recirculating-ball steering -- blended with shrewd engineering. The compact, two-rotor engine resided behind the front-wheel centerline to provide a near 50/50 weight distribution. A tidy 95.3-inch wheelbase supported enough interior space for two and a weekend's luggage. The RX-7 weighed less than 2400 pounds, so the 100-hp, 7000-rpm hummer under the hood was capable of hustling this svelte ride to 60 mph in just under nine seconds on the way to a 118-mph top speed.

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Cuhulin AmHairghin
I agree.  I had two of them (the first was stolen and stripped, so I bought another.)  I still remember them fondly!
this is the best car i ever had.. you all need to try it :)

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