City Survivor - Mazda RX-7

11/15/2012 8:04 PM



I was thrilled to discover this Mazda RX-7 parked on the street last Sunday. When I started Urban Gear Works, I wanted to represent the whole spectrum of automotive culture in Chicago, just like this city showcases the whole spectrum of human culture. That goal is probably still a long way off, but I'd been looking for an import to feature in City Survivors. I've had no problem finding classic American cars, and this Triumph is technically an import, but the tuner scene has been conspicuously absent.



This is the final generation RX-7, which ceased sales in the US in the mid-90's. They were still sold in Japan for almost a decade after that, but this one must already be on the verge of classic status. Devoted fans would argue that the RX-7 was a classic the day it  left the assembly line. The rotary engine is a Mazda hallmark, incredibly simple in comparison to piston engines, having very few moving parts, and capable of spinning at RPMs that put superbikes to shame. The final RX-7 saw it turbocharged all the way up to the 276 horsepower limit imposed by the Japanese manufacturers' "gentleman's agreement" of the era. Combined with a superbly balanced, lightweight, rear-drive chassis and covered in sculpted bodywork, the entire package made for a sportscar far beyond formidable. The RX-7 was perfectly matched against the Toyota Supra, its only Japanese rival on American soil. Even more than that, the combination of balance and light weight made it a worthy competitor against contemporary performance heavyweights like the Corvette, Viper, and 911.



The example I found has had some modifications, which are always a matter of personal taste, but overall they are fitting and well-considered. The aftermarket wheels and tires might be a little smaller than commonly chosen, but I'd be willing to bet they actually give better handling than a larger set - especially on city streets. The yellow seats are actual custom work, not seat covers, and on a turbocharged car like this one, the a-pillar gauges could provide vital information. In any case, there are so few of these Mazdas around that any example is a find - strangers actually stopped to talk to me about the car as I photographed it.


Urban Gear Works congratulates the owner on a fine specimen!

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