1981 Mazda RX7 Series 2 Coupe
|Engine||Twin-rotor Wankel, 1146cc|
|Interior||Grey & Red|
Thanks to extensive development of Dr Felix Wankel’s radical rotary engine in a range of production cars during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Japanese carmaker Mazda had overcome the inherent sealing problems by the time it launched a proper sports car designed around the engine in 1978. The new RX-7 was a stylish, practical and technologically advanced automobile that ultimately proved a sales success, with more than 800,000 built over three generations. Intended to compete with the likes of Porsche’s 924, road tests compared the Japanese car more than favorably with its German rival, commenting on the excellent handling and roadholding and the outstanding performance afforded by the twin-rotor 12A engine. The attractive and aerodynamic body featured fashionable pop-up headlamps, a glass lift-back and 2+2 seating while the interior was well equipped and trimmed in velour. A Mark II version was introduced in 1981 with more power, new alloy wheels and various improvements inside. The bodywork was also revised, with integrated colour-coded bumpers, black rubber protective side mouldings and a new tail lamp design. Other changes included the five-speed gearbox becoming standard on all models and disc brakes on all four wheels for European specification cars. The RX-7 acquitted itself well in motor racing around the world, including Australia, where Allan Moffat’s Stuvysant-backed efforts in the Group C category garnered multiple wins and even a second place at the Bathurst 1000. Vindication of the rotary as a serious rival for conventional engines occurred in 1991 with outright victory in the famous Le Mans 24-Hour race for the Mazda 787B.