Modern Classic: 1993 Mazda RX-7 R1

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This beautiful 1993 Mazda RX-7 R1 is a stock survivor wearing Competition Yellow Mica paint, and while mileage is on the high side at 140,000, this is the kind of car that you want to see get driven regularly rather than sit idle. The seller hasn’t spoiled it too much, only making some cosmetic enhancements here and there that are easily reversible if the next owner desires to bring it back to showroom condition. The listing has attracted bids up to $36,100, but the reserve remains unmet – which isn’t entirely surprising given how rarely these pop up for sale. Find it here on eBay and located in Sammamish, Washington.

The FD chassis RX-7 is perhaps one of the most beautiful shapes penned by a Japanese automaker in the last few decades. This is one of those cars that if it were dead and broken, sitting in your garage, you still wouldn’t mind staring at it every day – it’s just that gorgeous. The collector car market has caught onto them as well, with a few strings attached. While performance is strong and supply is limited, these are not carefree cars. The rotary powerplant requires extra love and attention, and in turn, owners must be more mindful of proper shut-downs and cooling techniques when taking on ownership of an RX-7 from this era.

The interior sports a modification I can’t recall seeing done previously, which is effectively that of wrapping the suede seats with embroidered patches…or something. I can’t quite tell, but the end result seems a bit cheesy to me.  The seller reports that the Mazda will come with the JDM-spec wheels it currently rides on, but he’ll include the stock wheels as well. As an R1 model, the RX-7 left the factory with firmer suspension, Bilstein shocks, an engine oil cooler, and the suede bucket seats you see here. There was also a front chin spoiler and rear air dam, both of which are accounted for here.

The engine bay shows some signs of mild modifications, including a cold air intake and a strut bar – but considering it is an RX-7, a car that’s prone to being over-modified, we’re grateful to see that’s as far as it went. The seller notes a recent “tune up” (without specifying what was included) and that the RX-7 is ready for the summer driving season. These are special cars, and an affordable alternative to the Supra of the same era with just as much exclusivity baked in. The turbocharged rotary certainly isn’t to everyone’s liking, but cars like this have enough loyal followers that it will have no problem finding a new home.

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  1. AnalogMan

    These are a fantastic, visceral drive. It feels like an exotic at a fraction of the price. Most rotary detractors have never owned or even driven one. They’re addictive, and if you get bitten by the Wankel bug, the fever stays with you. These were the high water mark for Mazda rotary-powered cars, and soaring in price recently (along with almost anything even semi-interesting from Japan).

    I would look into when the engine was rebuilt. With 130k miles, the engine might be due for another rebuild by now. Oil consumption and poor fuel economy are just inherent design traits of a Wankel (and for the faithful a worthwhile tradeoff for the fantastic fun), but IMHO the relatively short engine life is a potentially major Achille’s Heel of the engine. Run hard as many RX7’s have been, the time between engine rebuilds can be astonishingly short compared with a conventional reciprocating motor.

    A compression test would seem to be a wise and easy test of the condition of those all-important apex and side seals, but make sure to use a rotary-specific compression tester – regular ones won’t work on a Wankel.

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  2. Steve R

    These have always been in demand. In the early to mid-2000’s around here, there was a lot of competition for these between those that wanted to keep them stock verses those that wanted them for LS conversions. Many of the RX-7’s hitting the market at that point in time were tired mechanically, but were sound otherwise. After a few years, the prices rose to a point that the camp favoring LS conversions moved on to other platforms.

    Steve R

    Like 1
  3. SMS

    The R1 is the one to have simply because the seats. Hated the seats in my standard one. Slippery leather seats in a car that handles so well is a shame.

    There is a significant improvement in handling with the R1. It also is a rougher ride. This tends to lead to every plastic part squeaking as you go down the road. Felt is your friend when calming the squeaks.

    Like 1
  4. JoeNYWF64

    Odd so few left – did they rust like 80’s cars? Since it’s obd1, it could have as few as just 1 rebuildable computer – 2 if has antilock brakes, so those should not keep them off the road – maybe engine rebulders are few & far between?
    Odd that import car builders were very bashful to put numbers on their temp gages – the one gage that i would WANT to see numbers on!

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  5. Redwagon

    Unsold at $37,600

    Like 1
  6. MrBZ

    Fun to drive for sure, but $36k+ for a rotary with 140k miles? How many engines has it been through? And if it’s on the “original”, plan for a new one soon.

    Like 0

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