Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
11/17/08 8:34 a.m.

Between the marvel of the legendary first-generation Mazda RX-7 and the high-tech wonder that was the last incarnation of the famous nameplate lies an almost forgotten masterpiece: the second-generation RX-7. Why was this car, with its enviable combination of power, refinement and good looks, forgotten?

Good question. On paper—not to mention on the street and on the race track—the second-generation RX-7, which was offered from the 1986 model year through 1991, still makes a lot of sense for the budget-minded enthusiast.

Despite its obvious appeal, however, the car failed to find a home among gearheads when it was first introduced. Racers, especially, did not embrace the second-generation RX-7 as they had the original version. Perhaps this was due to the newer car’s larger size, high price (at the time) and less than optimal autocross classing, which all combined to make it unsuitable for grassroots venues of the day. The compact car drag explosion had not really happened yet, and drifting was something only rallyists and sprint car drivers did.

Today, the second-generation RX-7 is seeing something of a revival. Spurred on by ridiculously low prices and increased popularity in the SCCA’s Improved Touring racing, these cars are a 15-year-old overnight sensation.

Before you rush out and buy one, however, there are a few questions to be answered. Which RX-7 should you look for? What goes wrong with them? And how should you modify them for street or race track use?

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