June 10, 2013
1993 Mazda RX-7. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Justin Pritchard
“Whoop, There It Is” was tops on the charts, almost nobody had a cell phone, Justin Bieber hadn’t yet been spawned, and I spent countless hours in my bedroom sitting cross-legged on the floor perfecting my skills at Mortal Kombat.
I was also an aspiring car nut. I had nine years invested in a Hot Wheels collection, could talk at length about turbo engines to anyone who’d listen, and I read Motor Trend on a nearly daily basis.
And, while trying to pull off Liu Kang’s finishing move on the Sega I bought with my paper route money, I was surrounded by posters of the early nineties sports cars fundamental in turning me into the well-rounded car-geek I am today.
One of those posters, and my favorite at the time, was of the 1993 Mazda RX-7.
I like 1993. In fact, I’ve owned a Nissan 240SX and Toyota MR2 from that year. Both have pop-up lights and power antennas, like the RX-7. Both are sleek and sexy. Both are rear-wheel drive. But neither matches the Mazda in terms of pure crowd-gathering power, and the ability to drop the jaws of enthusiasts, even some 20 years later.
At the time, this two-seater was being sold as Mazda’s $45,000-plus flagship sports model. It was largely regarded as the highest-performing street-legal Mazda ever made, and is one of the first examples of that ‘Zoom-Zoom’ DNA present in Mazda’s products to this day.
This machine was hugely special for the Japanese automaker – and largely the reason that Mazda stashed one brand new, bright yellow, un-modified unit away at their head office for two decades.
Mazda takes sports cars seriously – and because of the cost of shipping this unsold unit back to Japan, it was used to preserve the legacy of one of their most legendary cars instead.
For a time, this RX-7 was even parked in the front lobby of Mazda Canada’s head office. That’s the same front lobby I walked into to pick up my first ever test car (a Mazda MX-5) eight years ago. So, in effect, this actual yellow RX-7 watched from a few feet away as I started my career as a car reviewer.
Recently, I had the rare chance to realize a childhood dream and spend a week driving it.
Sentimental value? Very much.
Picking up the nearly brand new, 20-year-old RX-7 brought more of a nervous, excited pang to my stomach than any other test car, ever. That’s what happens when a great big kid gets to play with one of the coolest toys he could never have as a child.
But there was more.