Our freelance writer laments at the practicality of RX-7s of old, but celebrates the fact that they were never made for that anyway!
Photos: Joel Tam
I have a serious problem.
I cannot commercialize my appraisal of an automobile. This is because of my uncontrollable addiction of expressing the features of a car, be it good or bad. It is an extricating element that I’ve decided to live with, and it saturates to an extent where you will hardly catch me mincing my words if I think that the car is great or just crap.
I know I’m not going to expect any fans for saying this, but who in the right frame of mind would build a four-seater car that can only sit a twosome and a pair of Chihuahuas?
Well, Mazda did. And it's called the RX-7.
They not only anchored a quirky 1.3L engine in its bay, the car gulps on petrol like how a deprived Asiatic elephant does to a river. You have little time to realize that you are coughing up nearly two dollars for every six kilometres, and you are rivaling in proximity to that black Chrysler cab.
But it is an RX-7 and I’ll just ignore how impractical it is, because it doesn’t matter. Which clown would try to fit a quartet in a stunning performance coupe anyway? So tell me about it.
The 1992 Mazda Efini RX-7 (FD3S) was utterly gorgeous with those stimulating curvatures. In fact, it was an exquisite piece of moving street art spanning until 2002 when Mazda decided to lay it off and settled for the uninspiring RX-8 in 2003. The 13B-REW Wankel Rotary engine presented a sequential twin-turbocharger setup that dispatches a powerful output from a light and compact system.
The complexity of the twin-turbochargers are harmonizing with the first providing torque at low-end and the second propelling beyond the 4,000 rev-zone. The inheritors of that era enjoyed the extensive range of models such as the Type R, Type RB, the A-Spec and Type RZ, all paired with five-speed manual transmissions and running on the standard horsepower of 260-ish.
But there is more. In the ensuing years after 1999, modifications were made to improve intercooling, braking system and aerodynamics to the already outstanding front/rear weight distribution of 50:50. The turbochargers were boosted to unleash a competitively respectable 276hp on most of their rotary flagship productions, including the Bathurst and Spirit R editions.
The picturesque FD3S has constantly dominated the covers of motoring magazines whenever the theme is simply Mazda. The veracity of nature, is that people are suckers for beauty. What if we have an FD looking like a Matrix? Would you put it on the front page? Don’t kid me. And it is of these shallow justifications that we often neglect the existence of the archaic 1990 Savanna RX-7 Infini (FC3S).
The FC is an exquisite piece of rotary fashion that represents the 1980s. This classic predecessor paces on a solitary turbocharger that deploys the twin-scroll design that launches off at 202hp. You might have thought that the silhouette of the FC was scooped from a Porsche 944 but that’s forgivable.
In those days, car designing was traditionally constrained and you have cars looking the same everywhere on the streets and the only way to differentiate them was by the manufacturing emblems. The miserable part is, we still have manufacturers doing that. And it is particularly frustrating because you have waited four years for that exciting face-lift finally, and all they gave you was just a change of front and tail-lights and a new bumper. So it doesn’t really make sense.
But the FC on the other hand, is handsome, retro-licious and fast. And it feels absolutely gratifying to take over the wheels of an aging authentic sports cars knowing that you are being appreciated by the creators and you know that they do take that extra mile to provide the driver with that feel.
The feel of driving a real FR machine. Total driving experience, is that contraction you get on your butt-cheeks when you start drifting on tarmac because these timeless classics were made for that. That’s the kick you get out of driving the FDs and the FCs. The irony is, progressive technology has taken away that good old feel.