It’s been said a thousand times: Group B race cars are among the most iconic, exciting, and outrageous in motorsport history, tearing through dirt or tarmac in outlandish style and manner. However, fans of Japanese sports cars may feel a bit shortchanged by this legendary era, as few Group B racers were homologated from the land of rising sun. The most famous example may be the Nissan 240RS, based on the S110 Silvia. Keen JNCers might also point out that there existed a Group B Mazda RX-7. And now, you can have one such example (sort of) in metaphorical exchange for your kidney.
If you haven’t heard of the Group B RX-7, don’t fret; the homologation specials were practically non-existent, and here’s why. When the FIA was transitioning their group names from numbers to letters in 1982, the RX-7 was already running in the World Rally Championship in Group 2. During this time, cars in older groups were allowed to run alongside lettered group cars, through 1983. To keep things competitive, the Mazda Rally Team Europe (MRTE) was established in 1983. Based in Belgium, MRTE further developed the Group 2 RX-7, which was eventually homologated in early 1984 in the Group B “Evolution” category. Whereas Group B required a 200-unit homologation run, only 20 racers were required to be produced for Group B Evolution. The Group B RX-7 was thus strictly for competition and ultra-rare.
The new racer was powered by a 2-rotor 13B rotary engine with peripheral ports, putting out 300 naturally-aspirated horsepower. It certainly looked the part as well, with extensive modification to the body and wild aero, a signature of Group B cars. An impressive effort and a very cool race car, it helped MRTE score 3rd place overall at the 1985 Acropolis Rally. However, the onslaught of 4WD turbocharged machines (or beasts) tailor-made to Group B’s rules (or lack of rules) was ultimately too much for the Group B RX-7 to overcome. As MRTE received more backing from Hiroshima, the team shifted focus to the 4WD 323/Familia in Group A. In the long run, this did prove more fortuitous and led to two generations of production 4WD turbo Familia, while the RX-7 would find track dominance elsewhere.
The example shown here is a 1985 RX-7 located in New Zealand. It does not appear to be one of the Works Group B racers originally built by MRTE but instead resembles Rod Millen’s Pikes Peak racer (incidentally, Rod Millen is a Kiwi and drove the Group B RX-7 back in the day). However, it does claim to be built with “factory motorsport parts.” Of note, it has the Group B peripheral port 13B and exhaust as well as a massive rear wing-mounted Mazdaspeed oil cooler. It also comes with a new unfitted fiberglass Group B body kit, enabling the buyer to create a potentially awesome replica of a very cool piece of racing history. The photos show the car wearing period Mazda rally livery similar to the Pikes Peak racer, though the car will be sold in white. The build appears excellent, and with the amount of spare parts — especially the original Group B RX-7 parts — the asking price of NZD100,000; ($68,000) actually seems a bit of a bargain. Feast your eyes on the photos.