The Mazda RX-7 was the best rotary engine JDM tuner ever made. It was lightweight, nimble, and had an amazing turbocharged rotary engine that was a delight to tune. If you were to try and find one now, you’ll find that all of them are gone. The RX-7 had many problems, such as rust, but it was one of the most classic cars of its time.
The Mazda RX-7
The Mazda RX-7 has the distinction of being the best rotary engine JDM tuner ever made. It came into production in 1989, but it was phased out in 2002 and hasn’t been seen since. There have been attempts at bringing the rotary back in the form of the RX-8, but it failed miserably. If you’ve ever wanted to put a rotary engine in your car and take it on the racetrack, you should consider the Mazda RX-7, it was light, agile, and had a turbocharged rotary engine that was a delight to tune. When the RX-7 first came out, it was expensive for the period, so there weren’t a lot of them on the road. However, they were well built and put a lot of power down with ease. The rotary engine was in the same bracket as the Honda Civic Type-R in terms of performance.
Why is the RX-7 the best JDM tuner ever made?
The Mazda RX-7 was amazing. It’s little turbocharged rotary engine was lightweight, sporty, and the low hanging parts were particularly well suited for rotary engines. This meant that you could extract maximum power out of it, but even at its highest turbo boost levels, it would never be a performance juggernaut, which was what was always expected. In fact, all of the tuning world thought it was so much of a failure that every time one of them went up for sale, it was quickly snapped up. That was until it happened to be modified. I recently went to a demo day for a JDM tuning shop. At this demo day, it’s where you get to see what makes your jdm company tick. JDM tuning is basically taking cars from the mass market and making them more powerful, better looking, and more extreme.
The RX-7's problems
Here's the simple part about the RX-7: it was brilliant. As I will be the first to admit, I'm a bit biased toward all things Mazda, but the RX-7 is one of my favorite cars ever built, no doubt. It has a unique silhouette, its interior is simple but elegant, and its two-seater proportions make it one of the rarest kinds of cars out there. In 1986, the road going RX-7 was totally redesigned from the ground up, with a brand new front end with large air dams, sharp-looking headlights, a sharp-looking grille, a modern taillight design, and a standard wheelbase. The rotary engine that powered the RX-7 was at the heart of the car. And it was a beast. It had a twin-rotor configuration, meaning two small rotors stacked together at the base of the engine that were fed by a supercharger. The only problems worth noting is rust issues which car be fixed.
Where can I find one (RX-7) now?
Car magazines such as Car and Driver devoted endless space to the RX-7, and we gave it the most pages of any car in our “10 Best List.” The rotary engine produced over 300 horsepower, and with only 365 horsepower produced by the 4-cylinder power plant, the rotary was king. One of the reasons this engine was so amazing is that it required so little parts to build. The OEM plastic pulley cover, fuel tank, and gearbox all need to be replaced. If you find a manual for the RX-7, you’ll see that these parts only come in packs of ten. There were only 500 rotary engines made, and there are only a few on the road. So, who was the best rotary tuner out there? Anyway, your best bet in finding one is in junkyards or private car auctions.
The Mazda rotary engine was a technical marvel. The technology was amazing, the sounds were astounding, and the car was basically unbeatable on track. However, the RX-7 had a major problem: it was underpowered. By today’s standards, the rotary is very slow, so it would often use too much fuel and a lot of wear and tear on the engine. It was tough to drive hard, and the handling was awful. For a Japanese manufacturer to use a rotary engine in a domestic market is still very rare, and even today it is a dream to find a car that is both cool and fast. How much was the magic of the rotary engine? The simple answer: it was the best Japanese engine of its time.
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