Mazda RX7 – The Rotary Engine Classic
Mazda Motor Company produced the Mazda RX-7 from 1978 to 2002, though the American market saw the last new one in 1995. When a person thinks of this rotary masterpiece they usually go straight to the most noticeable feature of the car. Which is the Wankel engine. It uses a rotary style engine. That means there are no cylinders just a rotating compression chamber and other odds and ends.
How A Rotary Engine Works:
- A rotary engine works on the compression of incoming air which is mixed with gasoline at this time.
- At the peak of compression, the spark plugs fire, igniting the compressed gas and supplying the engine’s power.
- The exhaust leaves the engine and the process is repeated.
- Due to the design, a rotary engine can generate much more RPMs than a standard piston motor and they are very durable, despite speculation.
First Generation (1979 – 1985):
The first generation RX7 can be classified into 3 different series.
Series 1 (1979-1980)
The first generation was often called the “SA22C” which is taken from it’s VIN number. The most noticeable features of this model are the fully exposed steel bumpers and its high mounted license plate, referred to as a “Baroque Depression”. This vehicle was also offered with an LS package, standing for “leather sport”. This package added badge to the car, full leather upholstery and a sunroof.
Series 2 (1981-1983)
Unlike the previous series, the bumpers of this model were covered in plastic, with black rubber body molds, new taillights and more modern engine components. This series was offered with a GSL package:
- 4 wheel disc brakes
- Limited slip differential
- Front ventilation
Series 3 (1984-1985)
This series changed the lower front look, as well an updated instrument panel for gauges behind the steering wheel. This car featured a GSL-SE package.
- Fuel injected 1.3L 13B RE-EGI engine – 135 HP 135 Torque
- Larger brake rotors
- Lug nuts with common pattern 4×4.5”
- Upgrade suspension
- External air-oil oil cooler
- 29 Highway MPG
- 0-50 in 6.3 seconds
- 50/50 weight ratio
- Under 2600 lbs
2nd Generation (1986-1992):
The 2nd generation continued the series that was let off by the original RX-7.
Series 4 (1986-1988)
- Fuel Injected 13B-VDEI – 146 HP
- Turbocharged Turbo II – 189 HP
Series 5 (1989-1991)
- Lighter rotors
- Higher compression ratio 9.7:1 – 160 HP
- Turbo model 9.0:1 – 200 HP
The second generation RX 7 was inspired by the Porsche 944 and was designed primarily for the American market. It is known as the FC in America and the Savanna RX-7 in Japan. This car focused on correcting problems that were seen with the previous generation such as:
- Handling – Rack and pinion replaced recirculating ball
- Disc Brakes became standard
- Available rear seats
- DTSS – Dynamic Tracking Suspension System
- AAS – Auto Adjusting Suspension
- 1986 Car of the Year – Motor Trend
3rd Generation (1992-1995):
The third generation RX 7 is by far the most impressive out of the three generations. With its futuristic design and an all new twin turbocharged engine, the car was every bit an iconic sportscar of its time. The 13B-REW was the first engine used in an RX-7 to receive a mass produced twin turbo system, boosting the car to 252 HP and eventally to 276 HP near the end of its production.
Series 6 (1992-1995)
Boasting the highest sales out of any of the previous RX7 models, the RX7 was sold in Japan as the Efini RX-7. The vehicle was available with twin oil-coolers, an electric sunroof, rear storage instead of rear seats and cruise control. At this point in time the car put out 252 HP and 217 Torque.
Although the car continued with series 7 and series 8, they were sold only in Japan until 2002.