The Mazda RX-7 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 worlds market for inexpensive and fun sports cars was quickly dying out……yet Mazda took one of the boldest steps in the auto industry by introducing the revolutionary Mazda Rx7 sports car. First unveiled to the public in Japan on March 30, 1978, and in the United States on April 24th as a 1979 model, the Rx7 took the world by storm. The Rx7 was both inexpensive and a LOT of fun to drive…..to add to its new image and appeal Mazda powered this spunky new car with the revolutionary 12A Rotary Engine. Although the 12A was a less powerful engine than others Mazda had developed, Mazda was taking into account the fact that its other engines may have had high performance, but guzzled gas and were more expensive. Based on Mazda’s RX-3, but totally redesigned, the Rx7’s exterior was far different. The engine was placed behind the front axle, which made it a front mid-engine vehicle(this design has been re-used in the new Mazda Prototype the RX-01). As a bonus, the Rx7 had a near 50/50 weight distribution between its front and rear tires. The suspension was compromised of MacPherson struts and a live rear axle on coil springs with four trailing links and a Watts link. Mazda made three transmissions available. These transmissions were the standard 4-speed manual, the optional 5-speed manual(w/overdrive), and the optional 3-speed automatic. The first Rx7 ‘s came only with the 4-speed manual and only a driver-side mirror. In the USA, the Rx7 was only sold as a 2-seater, however the Japanese version had a backseat standard. Mazda initially planned to make only 1,500-2,000 Rx7’s bound for the US, however to their surprise, America got Rotary Fever, and the amazing Rx7 sold 19,299 in 1978 and a whopping 54,853 in 1979.