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Hagerty Employee

RX-7th Heaven: Venturing far beyond Mazda’s affordable sports car intentions

Toasting Mazda’s 100th birthday is just cause for rolling my trusty RX-7 out for a zing or three past its 7-grand redline. While you savor these shots of my favorite family heirloom, I’ll reveal how I became a staunch rotor head (Wankel engine aficionado). In 1972, shortly after the earth was deemed round, I enjoyed a journalistic boondoggle to Unterturkheim, Germany, to visit Mercedes-Benz’s main manufacturing plant. Hemmed in by Stuttgart sprawl, the wily Germans doubled the length of the test track adjoining their facility by erecting a near-vertical 180-degree turnaround loop. That atypical feature was promptly nicknamed “The wall of death” because it scared the bejesus out of everyone who experienced even one pass around it.


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Pit Crew

for Dyno Don - I always wanted to ask... the exterior styling was updated for either 1980 or '81 and with the cleaner treatment on the lights, and the other styling clean-ups, the car really looks more of-a-piece after the refresh. And later years brought the 13B and factory fuel injection. Any regrets? I've followed this car for 40 years and it's a gem. All of your mods on an '85 GSL-SE would be the perfect first-gen car, for me. Please note - your late-'70s and early-'80s Porsche 928 enthusiasm carried over to me so deeply that I own - and adore - an early production '86 928S ( before the S4 brakes came on board ) and that car is all you described so long ago and more. I'm going to run it until internal combustion is outlawed, probably longer. Thanks for the memories.

Advanced Driver

I have no regrets.  The first generation of any important car is invariably more desirable.  Adding the larger engine and other mods helped my car keep up with subsequent performance improvements.  Another reason I admire the '79 RX-7 is because I set a record at Bonneville in 1978 at 180 mph and raced one at Daytona with racing beat.  Please note the C111 hand out photo from Mercedes shows a diesel, not their 3- or 4-rotor Wankel.