The Mazda RX7 is a sports car that was produced by the Japanese automaker Mazda from 1978 to 2002. The first RX-7 featured an 1,146 cc (69.9 cu in) twin-rotor Wankel rotary engine and a front-midship, rear-wheel drive layout. The RX-7 replaced the RX-3, with both models sold in Japan as the Mazda Savanna.
The original RX-7 was a sports car with pop-up headlamps. The compact and lightweight Wankel rotary engine is situated slightly behind the front axle, a configuration marketed by Mazda as “front mid-engine”. It was offered as a two-seat coupé, with optional “occasional” rear seats in Japan, Australia, the United States, and other parts of the world.
The rear seats were initially marketed as a dealer-installed option for the North American markets.
The RX-7 made Car and Driver magazine’s Ten Best list five times. 811,634 RX-7s were produced.
The RX-7 has become notable through pop culture such as Battle Fever J, Ultraman 80, Space Sheriff Shaider, Kyojuu Tokusou Juspion, Choudenshi Bioman, Shakotan Boogie, Kamen Rider Black RX, Wangan Midnight, Initial D, Need for Speed, The Fast and the Furious series, Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo.
In Japan, sales were enhanced by the fact that the RX-7 complied with Japanese Government dimension regulations, and Japanese buyers were not liable for yearly taxes for driving a larger car. The rotary engine had financial advantages to Japanese consumers in that the engine displacement remained below 1.5 litres, a significant determination when paying the Japanese annual road tax which kept the obligation affordable to most buyers, while having more power than the traditional inline engines.