Motoring | Features

Classic cars: Mazda RX-7

With its revolutionary Wankel rotary and its perfect weight distribution, the Mazda RX-7 was one of the best sportscars to have come out of Japan.

  • By Nishant Mehta, wheels
  • Published: 16:14 July 5, 2012
  • Wheels

  • Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • The RX-7 was a unique combination of great performance at an affordable price.

Start the tributes, prepare the salutes and begin with the candlelight vigils; the last Mazda RX-8 has rolled off the company’s Hiroshima assembly line. This also marked the end of an important chapter in automobile history. The RX-8 having been the only model using the rotary engine, this spells the end of the road for Felix Wankel’s celebrated mill.

Although loved for its performance edgeover traditional powerplants, its poor fuel economy and emissions figures resulted in its inability to pass strict European and
North American emissions standards. The fact that Mazda is the only Japanese carmaker to have gone without a profit for over five years didn’t help either.

That gives us reason to look back at one of our all-time favourite classic Japanese sportscars, the original Mazda RX-7. Replacing the rotary-powered RX-3 sports coupé in 1978, this ‘affordable sportscar’ became an instant hit thanks to its sleek looks, unique styling and, of course, its unique rotary engine.

The first generation RX-7 was everything that Mazda wanted it to be, a small, simple and fun-to-drive sports coupé. Although the 1.1-litre Wankel wasn’t the most powerful engine of the time, the Mazda engineers gave the RX-7 a rigid chassis and a perfect 50:50 weight distribution which made it handle like a dream.

The RX-7 was a unique combination of great performance at an affordable price. Even today, you can easily get one with a couple of hundred thousand kilometres on the odo for under Dh10,000, while one that’s not clocked that many and is in reasonably good condition can cost you somewhere around Dh30,000. Once you decide on one, make sure to get its engine thoroughly checked before purchase, and by someone who knows what he’s doing, because there aren’t too many rotary engine specialists in this region. On a positive note, maybe the candles can wait for a bit, because chances are, the rotary might just rise from its ashes. There are rumours of a new Mazda rotary floating around — the ‘16X’. Even with its fuel and emissions implications, chances are that Mazda has just suspended the engine’s production until they fix their losses.

And though some say that may take decades, we believe in Mazda, at least for the sake of the rotary…

Related Links

Packed with the latest local and global motoring news, first drives, up-market car products, bikes and more

Wheels
Life & Style editor's choice
FROM THE NETWORK

More from friday

More from Wheels

More from alpha

More from aquarius

  • Noura_Main
    Highly commended finalist: Noura Al Ramahi

    Along with our three fabulous finalists, the judges decided to include a Highly Commended category as the standard of entries to our competition was so high. This goes to Noura Al Ramahi for her stunning villa in Abu Dhabi. Well done Noura – it’s beautiful!

  • IO_141020_Home of the Year awar86
    In pictures: InsideOut Home of the Year Awards

    The InsideOut Home of the Year Awards 2014 party held at the Nawwara Bar at the JW Marriott Marquis on the 20th October went with a swing! Here’s our gallery of a really great night….

  • IO_141014_Casablanca_STF_Stefan07
    InsideOut Home Of The Year finalist: Dana Jaber

    Dana Jaber’s Al Barsha villa was considered by the judges to be bold, original and eclectic. We loved her individual approach to decorating which lends interest and unexpected touches to every room

  • Main_2
    InsideOut Home Of The Year finalist: Helena Brown

    Helena Brown’s home in Umm Suqeim was a favourite with the judges because of the many personal touches, and undeniable sense of comfort and style. Her interest in Feng Shui has helped achieve a calm relaxed ambience

  • claudia (4)
    And the InsideOut Home Of The Year winner is...

    Claudia Baliyan's apartment in Dubai Marina impressed the judges. Here's why

More from insideout