Evolving the Revolution : Mazda FC3S RX7

Burned into the hearts and minds of many an anime-loving enthusiast, the second generation Mazda RX-7 debuted in the year of 1985 as the successor to the SA22C first generation RX-7, Mazda’s highly regarded Twin-Wankel rotary powered sports car that had almost half a million units shifted Worldwide.

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While the classic shape has now been ingrained as the car of a certain protagonist in a Japanese comic and cartoon series, this second generation RX-7 (still known as the Mazda Savanna RX-7 in Japan), had its styling heavily influenced by a car from Stuttgart.

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Mazda’s stylists at the time, led by Chief Project Engineer Akio Uchiyama, were focused on the Porsche 924 (and 944) during development and looked to it for their inspiration in designing the FC, mostly because the new car was being styled primarily for the American market, where the majority of the first generation RX-7’s had been sold.

This strategy was chosen after Uchiyama-san and others on the design team spent time in the United States studying owners of earlier RX-7’s and other sports cars popular in the American market. The then brand new Porsche 944 was selling particularly well and provided clues to the development team as to what sports-car enthusiasts might find compelling in future RX-7 styling and equipment. Put the Porsche 924/944 side by side with a FC RX-7 and you will see plenty of similarities in the overall design. While the Mazda might have reached cult-status first in the automotive World, prices for transaxle Porsches are now starting to climb up after being overlooked for way too many years.

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While the first generation RX-7 was a purer sports car, the FC RX-7, while still blessed with being a lightweight balanced chassis and lively performance, tended toward the softer sport-tourer trends of its day. Handling was improved with Independent Rear Suspension taking over the earlier car’s primitive live rear axle setup and reined in its oversteer tendencies.

On certain optioned cars, Dynamic Tracking Suspension System (DTSS) and/or Auto Adjusting Suspension (AAS) can also be found. DTSS incorporated special toe control hubs into the revised independent rear suspension, capable of introducing a limited degree of passive rear steering under cornering loads. AAS works by changing damping characteristics according to the road and driving conditions and at the same time, compensated for camber changes and provided anti-dive and anti-squat effects. All very clever and innovative at the time, although we have no idea how well such systems would fare after 20 over years have passed.

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With both Naturally aspirated and Turbo-charged cars running around on the roads, it is quite interesting to note that the NA cars were only allowed outside of Japan. In its homeland, the FC RX-7 came strictly with forced induction.

The Turbo II label on this car, was actually the American designation for the Turbo Charged cars. Making use of a twin-scroll turbocharger with a smaller primary chamber engineered to cancel the turbo lag at low engine speeds and a secondary chamber opening at higher revolutions to pump out 33% more power than its naturally aspirated counterpart. While our car now has its intercooler efficiently mounted up front, it was originally designed as an air-to-air system with a dedicated (left offset) intake on the hood.

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The car you see on this page was once again provided to us by Nostalgic Garage and while we’d normally take the chance to have the cars out au natural, we decided against taking her out this time since she’s only here on consignment. The end result of months of restoration, a custom wide body treatment (all metal work) and some choice aftermarket parts, this RX-7 was recently finished with a stunning set of SSR Mesh wheels.

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They might look rather generously sized but these wheels are indeed 17s.

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The rears do come with a nice amount of dish!

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Inside, pretty much whatever made the car a “softer sport-tourer of its day” has been removed in favour of raising the driving experience for those taking over the hot seat (we might swap out the wood rimmed steering wheel though).

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For those keen on picking up this 80s Turbo rotary classic, do give Nostalgic Garage a call!

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