We get behind the wheel of the uber-rare Mazda RX-7 Bathurst Kind R to see how the trendy basic Japanese icon fares at present.
In terms of oddball Japanese efficiency automobiles, the Mazda RX-7 have to be up there as some of the distinctive. Initially launched in 1978, it mixed a modern coupe physique with the newest incarnation of Wankel engine design it had co-developed with NSU. There was good purpose for going the rotary route; at underneath 1.5-litres it suited Japan’s strict tax legal guidelines based mostly on engine displacement.
The automobile here’s a last-of the-line 2002 instance of the third technology RX-7 (this one can also be a Bathurst Kind R mannequin), which was launched in 1992 and in any other case often known as the FD3S. It went again to the purer sporting roots of the unique SA22C and FB fashions produced till 1985, somewhat than the softer 1986-1992 ‘FC’.
Displacing the equal of simply 1.3-litres with a few turbochargers bolted on for good measure, the RX7-FD provides an expertise like no different; it epitomises what a sports activities automobile needs to be.
So why if it was a superb sports activities automobile did Mazda UK solely promote 210 automobiles out of a complete manufacturing run of over 70,000 worldwide? At a launch value of £32,000, it wasn’t precisely low cost within the early Nineties, which when coupled with identified rotary engine points and a small variety of specialists, meant the buyer market was unwilling to take the danger.
Hop inside, although, and also you immediately neglect about reliability points. The low-slung physique is about as minimal as you’d anticipate from a sports activities automobile; in reality, it’s typically been known as a physique that has simply been moulded over the chassis, with no pointless facets. It’s a lot smaller than you assume, sitting low to the bottom, however not that includes such a large physique that you simply fear concerning the automobile’s positioning in site visitors.
The one factor that the Japanese do brilliantly is seating positions. Usually, the standard of the inside isn’t as excessive as you’d anticipate for a automobile costing upwards of £30,000, however the format is classy. All of a sudden this small, slender automobile begins to really feel like a menacing racer itching to go.
This automobile, which is definitely restricted version Mazda RX-7 Bathurst Kind R (has been barely modified and due to this fact incorporates a titanium exhaust and carbon fibre air consumption, so the acoustics are barely completely different to a daily inventory automobile. Anybody who has ever heard a rotary engine speed up will keep in mind the distinctive sound that makes you wish to climb to the 8000rpm redline time and time once more.
Initially, our check route within the Welsh Black Mountains appeared extra suited to the automobile my colleague introduced alongside for this street journey, a Mitsubishi Evo VI Tommi Makinen Version, than this Mazda RX-7 Bathurst Kind R, however boy was I unsuitable. Whereas it might solely be producing the identical 276bhp, it feels a complete lot greater than 300bhp from the motive force’s seat. Slotting residence second and third can have you closing in on 80mph faster than you may think about.
Mazda engineers centered closely on the driving expertise, and particularly, the automobile’s steadiness. In consequence, good 50:50 weight distribution front-to-rear was achieved and meant the RX-7 may change path immediately, with out feeling troubled or unnerving. It isn’t bone-crunchingly stiff, although, with a component of subtlety to its experience regardless of sitting on aftermarket lowered coilovers. However when the going will get powerful, the automobile stays steady, with a touch of lean on its tyres to search out the sting of grip.
It’s an easy automobile to drive quick regardless of sending all its energy in the direction of the rear wheels, however you do have to beat the turbo lag so typical of automobiles from this period. Even so, you be taught to work with the automobile’s strengths shortly, driving it akin to a naturally-aspirated engine and protecting maintain of revs the place you may.
What’s a Mazda RX-7 Bathurst Kind R?
The Mazda RX-7 Bathurst Kind R is a formidable machine. Constructed as a final run particular to rejoice its victories at Australia’s Bathurst circuit, the RX-7 Kind R had its energy boosted to 276bhp to carry it in keeping with the Gentleman’s Settlement that the Japanese producers labored in the direction of, whereas eradicating a few of the weight. The consequence was the quickest Mazda RX-7 up to now and one which mixed sensible 50/50 weight steadiness entrance to rear with the turbocharged 13b rotary engine.
Shopping for a Mazda FD RX-7
Reality be instructed, nearly all of FD RX-7s offered within the UK at present will likely be imports, because of solely 210 examples being formally offered within the UK. That isn’t a foul factor, but it surely’s value doing all your analysis to know what automobile you’re taking a look at and the place it got here from.
Pricing the FD within the used market is hard (most notably as a result of legendary Japanese icons just like the R34 and Supra have climbed staggeringly in value in 2021 and 2022), most automobiles are modified, some tastefully, some terribly, however that needs to be apparent from the off.
Realistically, budgeting round £20,000 to round £30,000 ought to safe you a pleasant automobile, however with modifications. There are nonetheless used automobile shares in Japan, so chances are you’ll discover that importing a automobile via a trusted import service like Torque GT or JM Imports is a most well-liked possibility, though numbers are depleting, significantly for inventory automobiles, so be ready for steep bidding wars.
Tech Spec: Mazda Rx-7 Bathurst Kind R
Engine: 1308cc twin-chamber rotary, twin-turbo
Prime Pace: 158mph
Transmission: five-speed man, RWD