Mazda, a Japanese car maker, introduced the Mazda RX-7 in 1978. The car was produced from then until 2002. The original version of the vehicle was equipped with a Wankel rotary engine. It also had rear wheel drive and a front mid-ship. The Mazda RX-7 was the replacement for the RX-3. Each version was sold as the Savanna in Japan.
The original version was a sports car that had pop up headlamps. The Wankel rotary engine was lightweight and compact and was located just behind the front axle of the vehicle. Mazda marketed this configuration as the front mid-engine. The first RX-7s were offered as 2 seat coupes and in some parts of the world such as Australia, Japan, and the United States an optional back seat was available. Rear seats were first offered as a dealer installed option in the North American market.
The Mazda RX-7 is one of the few classic sports cars to come out of Japan. From the first time it was introduced in the market it became an instant hit.
From the first generation Mazda made their intentions with the RX-7 quite clear. The original version was sold from the model year 1979 through 1985 and established the DNA for the vehicle as being a light, small, and fun sports coupe. While the motor was not the most impressive, it made up for it with a light weight, rigid chassis, and wonderful handling characteristics. The standard transmission was a 5 speed manual.
In 1981 a GSL trim was provided, but the first of several major changes did not come until the GSL trim was offered in the year 1984. The second generation of the vehicle was then released in the year 1986.
The most recent version of the vehicle was the third generation. The idea behind this version was to create a car that was pure sport. It was launched in the year 1993 and was still a 2 door coupe with rear wheel drive. It was only available in a single trim that was powered with a 1.3 L rotary engine that would put out 217 lb. ft. of torque and 255 horsepower.
The 1993 through 1995 RX-7s quickly proved to be a great all around performer. The car was fast, agile, and light. It would go from 0 to 60 in about 5 seconds. It had great suspension and came with several high performing features such as 4 wheel anti-lock brakes, 5 speed manual transmissions, and a limited slip differential. There was also the option for a 4 speed automatic transmission.
While the 3rd generation seemed to be great on the road, it seemed that this version was too specialized. It had a tight suspension, but seemed to be too harsh for driving every day. There were not many luxury options offered and the price of the RX-7 was in the mid $30,000, which was a bit high for the times. The sales were lagging, and the coupe was dropped from the market in the year 1995.
Over ten years later, the last generation of the RX-7 holds up well in comparison to some of the more modern sports cars. The main reason for this is because of the styling and the performance of the vehicle. Consumers who are in the market for a used version will want to make sure that they shop around and do a lot of research. Many of the RX-7s from this generation have been driven quite hard or they have been modified using after market performance parts.