Starting with the Cosmo of 1966, Mazda is the only major manufacturer to have persisted with Felix Wankel’s revolutionary rotary engine design and early models like the R100 and RX2/RX3 enjoy a cult following today. It took until the launch of a proper sports car, the RX-7, in 1978 for the rotary to find a home more appropriate to its high-revving characteristics; the first generation model received rave reviews and proving a commercial success, with over half a million sold. The second generation RX-7 of 1985-1991 took Mazda’s sports car further upmarket, competing with the likes of Porsche’s 944, aided by a lot more clever technology and the first appearance of a turbo variant. When Mazda unveiled the third generation RX-7 in 1991, it was clear the model had come a long way from its humble roots, harnessing a complex sequential twin turbo system to overcome lag and deliver linear power all the way to the redline. With perfect 50:50 weight distribution achieved by locating the engine well behind the front axle, the new FD RX-7 also looked the part, with bold new styling. The third generation RX-7 was a bone fide supercar, combining sublime handling, excellent braking and strong acceleration. Although the RX-7 enjoyed a long and successful motor sport career in Australia, issues with unreliability hindered earlier cars from fulfilling their potential, but the third generation RX-7 fared better, winning the James Hardie 12-Hour event at Bathurst on debut in 1992. In order to homologate a revised model for the 1995 Easter Creek 12-Hour race, run as part of the Australian GT Production Car Series, Mazda Australia released the SP, with an intended run of 25 examples slated for production, although it would appear 29 were ultimately made in total at the Kingsgrove workshop, of which 26 were road cars and remaining three designated as race cars. A different intercooler, modified exhaust and new ECU resulted in a substantial increase in power (up to 204 kW) and torque (357 Nm), while other changes included bigger brakes, special 17-inch alloy wheels, a larger 110-litre carbon fuel cell and 4.3:1 ratio rear diff. A significant weight reduction was achieved by using a Recaro race seats, lightweight bonnet, carbon-fibre nose and front spoiler – in all there were some 120 modifications over the standard car, the apparance enhanced by the dramatic carbon rear wing. The SP went on to beat the Porsches at Eastern Creek with Dick Johnson and John Bowe co-driving, backing up with a podium finish in the Targa Tasmania. Compared with the standard RX-7’s list price of $89,505, the SP’s asking price was a hefty $101,610 and today each of the survivors is a highly desirable collector’s item.
• Ultra-rare homologation special
• Fresh from long-term storage
• Offered at No Reserve
One of only nine Vintage Red Mazda RX-7 SPs built at Mazda Australia’s Kingsgrove facility, the first owner of this example ordered the car through Port Darwin Motors Pty Ltd in the Northern Territory, taking delivery on June 30, 1995. Originally owned by a prominent surgeon and keen yachtsman based in Darwin, the car has enjoyed just three NT keepers from new, spending the past twelve years in dry storage. Not running at the time of purchase, the current owner replaced the radiator, clutch slave and master cylinders, cleaned the injectors and replaced the vacuum hoses to get the car running. Showing 111,130 kms on the odometer at the time of cataloguing, the RX-7 retains all the hard to replace items like the original BBS 17-inch wheels, carbon airbox and carbon fuel tank. There are some paint chips and scratches evident in a couple of places (including the passenger’s side door, where it appears someone has tried to break in) and one headlamp cover is broken, while the carbon front clip also has some repairs. The interior presents well, retaining the original Recaro kevlar seats (recovered) and optional air conditioning (not working), an aftermarket turbo timer has been installed, along with a later Kenwood stereo. Rarely available on the open market thanks to the extremely low build numbers, this is a wonderful opportunity to acquire a genuine RX-7 SP at a reasonable price level (the last example sold by Shannons in 2018 made $112,000), a car that can - with a little work and further mechanical recommissioning - easily be returned to original condition. Sold unregistered and unreserved, the original books are missing but the warranty book is supplied, stamped up to 2000 at 85,019 kms.
Note: Shannons advise that all potential buyers research all vehicles before purchase to authenticate originality.