Collectible Classic: 1979 - 1985 Mazda RX-7

Don Sherman
A. J. Mueller

With more power on tap, I didn't hesitate to replace practically every part of the stock braking system. The new gear included larger AP Racing rotors, rear discs and calipers from a Cosmo, dual master cylinders operated by an adjustable balance bar, a much heftier brake pedal, and braided stainless-steel hydraulic lines.

The goal for the chassis was to preserve the RX-7's congenial ride while upping its agility. Clipping half a coil from each spring lowered the body and increased the suspension's stiffness a smidgen. I also raised the tops of the strut towers to drop the nose another inch and installed a tight limited-slip differential. Those changes, in combination with fifteen-inch Hayashi Racing center-lock wheels and staggered-size BFGoodrich Comp T/A radials, produced near-neutral handling without the need for a rear antiroll bar.

There was one cherished instance when the RX-7 was a touch too neutral. An unwise indulgence of the throttle on wet pavement in an Ann Arbor intersection triggered a 360-degree spin. This occurred on my first date with Cheryl, who later became my wife. She thought the maneuver was intentional; years passed before I confessed that it wasn't.

Recaro USA provided a set of bucket seats trimmed in velour and leather. A local stereo shop reconstructed the center dash and console to accommodate an Alpine sound system and a small security-system keyboard. A Nardi steering wheel and two additional VDO gauges completed the interior makeover.

While these alterations sound extensive, I was careful to preserve the RX-7's original lovable character. Before the second-generation design arrived in 1986, Mazda had installed its own engine, chassis, and interior upgrades to make the RX-7 a worthy opponent to Porsche's acclaimed 944. So I like to think of my red rotary racer as an early advocate of better things to come.

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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