2020 Shannons Spring Timed Online Auction
1979 Mazda RX-7 Series 1 Coupe
|Engine||Twin-rotor Wankel, 1146cc|
This lot is no longer available
When Mazda conceived a sports car to compete with the likes of Datsun’s 280Z and Porsche’s 924 in the 1970s, its designers turned to Dr Felix Wankel’s remarkable rotary engine for motive power. From the original Cosmo 1100 to the RX-series coupes and sedans, the rotary had been honed to become a reliable alternative to the conventional internal combustion engine, transforming these otherwise unremarkable little cars into high-revving machines capable of out performing many so-called sports cars. Launched in 1978, the all-new RX-7 featured fresh liftback styling with pop-up headlamps, neatly integrated bumpers and excellent proportions, while the well-equipped cabin boasted full instrumentation, a wide centre console and 2+2 seating layout. Badged the Savannah in Japan, where it sold in Custom, Super Custom and Limited versions, the RX-7 proved a massive hit in export markets, particularly North America where a lengthy waiting list developed in the first year as supplies ran short, with hefty premiums being paid by enthusiasts anxious to get their hands on Mazda’s latest. The RX-7 proved equally popular in Australia and went on to enjoy a successful motor sport career in this country in the hands of Allan Moffat in early 1980s, including a second and two thirds at the Bathurst 1000 enduro. Priced well below its rivals, the RX-7 used its lighter weight and front mid-engined layout to good advantage, with road testers singing the praises of the Mazda’s roadholding. In voting the new model its ‘Best Sports Car Under $7000’ Road & Track said “The RX-7 is a blend of the best of both worlds; a true sporting GT” while Car & Driver commented “Every once in a while a car comes along that seems too good to be true. The original 240Z was one… and now we have the Mazda RX-7. The car cannot lose. It has power, smoothness, comfort, reasonable looks and a generally sophisticated demeanor, all for about $7000.” Today, 40 years since its introduction, the first generation RX-7 has assumed classic status and good original examples are becoming increasingly sought after by collectors.