VIDEO: Mazda UK celebrates 40 years of the RX-7

2018 marks 40 years since the debut of the original Mazda RX-7. According to Mazda UK, Mazda has sold 2 million rotary-engined cars, with 850,000 of them being RX-7s. To honor the occasion, they’ve produced a video bringing together three generations of the beloved sports car (in the shape of a rotor).

This being the UK, the cars available are somewhat different than what we got in the US. The first-gen SA22 model shown looks to bee the equivalent of our top-spec GSL-SE model (maybe UK readers can clarify), but the styling is a bit different, especially with the rear spoiler and fascia.

In the UK, a turbocharged version of the second-gen FC convertible was available. Sadly, we only received naturally aspirated droptops (which probably explains why the best-preserved FCs on Craigslist are usually convertibles).

Lastly, thanks to Britain’s lax import laws, the FD shown appears to be a gray market Type R Bathurst, released to honor three consecutive wins by the RX-7 at Austalia’s 12 Hours of Bathurst. It came with factory height-adjustable dampers and about 20 pounds worth of weight savings to enhance performance.

Lastly, there’s another big difference between the UK and the US: It appears that you can actually find unmolested RX-7s over there. Happy 40 years, RX-7!

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9 Responses to VIDEO: Mazda UK celebrates 40 years of the RX-7

  1. Gene said:

    I had a Mazda 323 a 626 a 79 RX7 a 87 RX7 and I have a 1994 Mazda Miata. I loved the RX 7’s but had trouble passing emissions tests.GeneG

  2. David said:

    Interesting that the FB they show has GSL-SE wheels, which was an option on 84-85 models that came with a 13B rather than the 12A. And I didn’t realize they made a convertible TII. Was this a UK thing?

    • j_tso said:

      I think only North America got the 13B and updated dash for 84-85.

      All Japanese 2nd gens were turbocharged. Might have been an option for other markets, but definitely not in the US.

  3. Christopher said:

    It is not easy to find unmolested FD RX7s in the UK, a lot have been modified in one way or another. It is however relatively easy to import late model cars direct from Japan with a number of specialists offering to do the hard work for you.

    This is the route that I took when I imported a 2001 Type R Barthust R nearly 5 years ago. It is factory standard with the exception of a Racing Beat exhaust system (the original rusted through)

  4. Dimitry said:

    That same rear spoiler and a different front bumper came as a dealer option on Canadian RX-7’s too. I met the car and it’s original owner over at VARAC Grand Prix last week.

  5. Dave said:

    I currently daily a 1980 RX-7 GS: no powersteering, drum brakes in the back, and a solid rear axle, but a lovely 5-speed (that was GS-trim only) and an interior that makes me smile every time I sit inside.

    It’s a bit of a slowpoke (although not bad for its time) and needs a strong arm when parallel parking, but it’s an absolute joy on long, winding roads. The rotary burbles nicely at 700rpm and even delivers a slight kick around 6k. It’s so smooth that I sometimes forget that I’m cruising in 3rd gear.

    I haven’t had the opportunity to check out later RX-7s, but the SAs are definitely great sports tourers.

  6. Dutch 1960 said:

    The later first generation UK cars were visually a GSL-SE with spoilers, but had the 12A engine.

  7. Dutch 1960 said:

    RX7s were and are not a common sight in the UK. Not that many were sold. The British publish a record of current registrations by car. There are now about 585 RX7s registered in the UK. Along with 3 RX2’s, 6 RX3s, and 2 RX4s.

    Also 191 Datsun 240z and 13 Datsun 510 Bluebirds and SSSs.

    “You’ll be amazed at a Mazda”. That was the slogan in the UK in the ’80s. Not real catchy, like “zoom-zoom”.

  8. james said:

    Happy 40th RX-7

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