Retro Ride: 1993 Mazda RX-7 Review

4
Retro Ride: 1993 Mazda RX-7 Review

The 1990s was a great time for Japanese sports cars. Pretty much every manufacturer was building a world class performance machine including Mazda, with the third generation RX-7. But that was twenty years ago and what may have been great then, might not be any good today. So, we have gotten our hands on a pristine, low mileage 1993 Mazda RX-7 to see if it was all hype, or the real deal.

The 1990s is a decade known for things like flannel shirts, grunge music, Barney the purple dinosaur and Napster. But for those who live and breathe high octane fuel, the ‘90s was also a great time for performance vehicles. With the world economy in fine shape, manufacturers everywhere were producing some impressive machinery. This is the decade that gave birth to the Dodge Viper, McLaren F1 and Lamborghini Diablo.

1993-Mazda-RX-7-13.pngFAST FACTS

1.    Power comes from a 1.3 L turbocharged two rotor motor making 255 hp and 217 lb-ft of torque. 2.    The RX-7 weighs less than 2,800 lbs. 3.    Mazda claims a 0-60 mph time of just 4.9 seconds for the 1993 Mazda RX-7.

But there was one country in particular that was going bat-crazy for performance cars: Japan. Nissan had the 300ZX, Acura the NSX, Toyota the Supra, Mitsubishi the 3000GT and Mazda the RX-7. These cars all became the darling of the tuner community and not many low mileage, bone stock examples are left in existence today. But there are a few, like this bright yellow 1993 Mazda RX-7. With less than 15,000 miles and in nearly the same shape as it was when leaving showroom floors twenty years ago, this car is a virtual time machine.

GAME CHANGING RX-7

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

When the third generation ‘FD’ RX-7 came on the market in 1993, it took Mazda’s little rotary sports car to a whole new level. It had a double-wishbone suspension at all four corners, a sequential turbocharged engine, anti-lock brakes and a torsen limited slip differential.

1993-Mazda-RX-7-05.pngThat really set the third generation model apart from the ones that came before it though was the styling. The gorgeous, flowing body lines told everyone who set eyes on it that this car was serious. Way ahead of its time in the early ‘90s, this RX-7 still looks great 20 years later. The only real give away to the car’s age can be found in the pop-up headlights, taillight design and wheels that look small compared to today’s ‘dubs on everything’ mentality. Yes, the design truly has aged well. I have driven many impressive, expensive, modern cars but nothing has turned more heads than this bright yellow classic.

THE ROTARY: MASTERPIECE OR FAILURE?

1993-Mazda-RX-7-17.JPG

While all the other Japanese sports car utilized a V6 of some form, Mazda went a different route; the rotary route. The 1.3-liter two rotor turbocharged motor makes 255 hp and 217 lb-ft of torque. This may not sound like much, but the RX-7 weighs less than 2,800 lbs.; roughly the same as a Scion FR-S. That power-to-weight was good enough for a claimed 0-60 mph time of just 4.9 seconds.

Reliability be damned, the two rotor turbo is a terrific piece of engineering. It is so smooth all the way up to the 8,000 rpm redline, and feels far more torquey in mid and low range rpm than numbers would suggest thanks to the sequential turbochargers. It makes just the right amount of power for the chassis and when rung out, the turbo makes a crazy high pitched whistle. Why can’t they make turbo cars sound like this any more?

BALANCED LIKE THE SCALES OF JUSTICE

1993-Mazda-RX-7-15.png

But the RX-7 isn’t just about the engine; the chassis is pure mastery as well. With a low center of gravity and a perfect 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution it’s a thrill to drive.

1993-Mazda-RX-7-01.pngBeing a car of the early ‘90s, there are no electronic safety nets; but not too worry, the power is linear and chassis feels so planted that the car still produces tons of confidence even when powering through a corner. If the car is pushed too hard, the backend will break traction and rotate. A well-balanced machine, it’s controllable, but it can also bite you if you’re not careful.

Luckily, our two-decade old RX-7 came with the correct transmission, the 5-speed manual and not the killjoy 4-speed automatic. Even though it is now 20-years old, the transmission is smoother and more precise than many modern gearboxes on the market. The stick shift just adds to the overall precision of this car.

MISSING MODERN CONVENIENCES

1993-Mazda-RX-7-11.png

Controlling the car, the hydraulic steering feels great at low to moderate speeds, but unfortunately becomes overly loose at highway speeds. Modern electric power steering has its drawbacks, but it’s easy to see here that is also has its advantages

1993-Mazda-RX-7-19.JPGThe car is just so raw, mostly because it comes from an era before road feel was engineered out of vehicles. The downside to this raw feeling is horrible NHV (noise, vibration and harshness) levels. The RX-7 shakes, rattles and crashes over every imperfection on the road surface, no matter how minor.

Inside, the RX-7 is as ‘90s as a Laser Disc. The old, simple controls that operate everything are refreshingly simple; no voice commands, no touch screens, no 100 page manual to change a radio station. Unfortunately, other technologies we’re spoiled by in modern automobiles are missing. There is no way to adjust the steering wheel or height of the driver’s seat which leaves the wheel firmly in the lap of most drivers; a most awkward driving position.1993-Mazda-RX-7-20.JPG

It’s not unlivable though. Behind the front seats are two deep bins that resemble fishing live wells. The driver’s door also features a handy storage area that can hold wallets and keys. Add in the fact the RX-7 is a semi-practical hatchback and this sports car is actually quite reasonable as a regular-use machine, assuming you can live with the jarring ride. Just don’t stop at your favorite coffee shop on the way to the racetrack to grab an oversized cup of Jo; this car has no cup holders.

THE VERDICT

1993-Mazda-RX-7-14.png

After spending a week in the RX-7, a few things became clear. First, this Mazda proves that modern performance cars don’t need a raucous 400 hp engine if they are as light and well balanced as this car.

The RX-7 really feels like a larger, more powerful Miata, or gives a hint at what a boosted Scion FR-S or Subaru BRZ might feel like. It also makes us wish Mazda would shove the Mazdaspeed3’s turbocharged 4-cylinder in a slightly larger, permanent roof vehicle based on the current Miata and recreate a vehicle like this, as the world can always use more pure sports cars. Sure it wouldn’t have a rotary engine, but look at the plus side; at least it would be reliable.

 

LOVE IT

  • Gorgeous styling
  • Great handling
  • Good power
  • Fun to drive

 

LEAVE IT

  • Harsh ride
  • Historically unreliable
  • Odd driving position

1993-Mazda-RX-7-02.png1993-Mazda-RX-7-04.png1993-Mazda-RX-7-08.png1993-Mazda-RX-7-03.png1993-Mazda-RX-7-10.png1993-Mazda-RX-7-12.png1993-Mazda-RX-7-18.JPG

  • bagger

    always one of my favorite styles back then, they could reproduce it as a Miata hardtop and I’d buy it !!

  • Mperry

    Wish I had my yellow ’93 back!Thanks for the review!

  • gadgety

    I know I’d like one, but they seem impossible to find unless they’ve been tuned to bits. That styling, was by far the best looking car of the period. It’s aged extremely well, both exterior and interior, all business, still look appealing.

  • Get_at_Me

    Wouldve been cool if they made a special edition Renesis powered Miata! This would pretty much be what he described at the end of the video. The nb miataran until 05. the rx8 was available in 04. The nc miata is even built on the rx8 platform!

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked