The 3rd-gen Mazda RX-7 has it all: beauty, performance, a Le Mans tie-in, and a sales failure. Like so many other legends, it’s everything we want in a sports car. Which made it a hard sell in its time.
The FD RX-7 was developed at the same time, by the same man, as the 4-rotor 787B that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
It was a lightweight, fast, focused sports car that walloped its competition on the road and on track, thanks to a sequential twin-turbocharged rotary engine and an obsessive lightweighting.
But it might have gone too far. The 13B-REW engine is fragile and finicky, and the chassis was one last-second reinforcement away from being too light to be structurally sound.
Then again, what sports car doesn’t suffer from a few problems? At least the RX-7 had incredible performance and looks to kill. It was designed to be a classic, with forms that would make it one day appear on the lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Given how well it’s aging, there’s little doubt the most beautiful sports car to come out of Japan in decades will one day appear on the lawn.
Which is also a shame, because where this RX-7 really shines is on the road.