It is a classic of the Mazda portfolio and the most successful car with Wankel engine of all time: The legendary Mazda RX-7 celebrates its 40th birthday this year. From 1978 till 2002 round about 811.000 roadsters were produced in three generations. The first generation alone, which was built until 1986, consisted of 471.000 cars.
Besides the Wankel engine the Mazda RX-7 was characterised by the wedged folding headlamps and the big vitreous rear deck. Its performance was envied by the competition as the car captured more than 100 race victories and every doubt about the life period of the Wankel engine with its unique 150.000 kilometre guarantee was dispelled. At first the RX-7 was available with 77 kW (105 hp) and 7,000 rpm. 1981 Mazda added another 10 kW on the motorization to 85 kW (115 hp), so that the sports car could go over a top speed of 200 km/h. The last models had 176 kW with a stunning top speed of 250 km/h.
Mazda RX-7 fans especially appreciated the Wankel, because the twin-rotor engine was clearly more economically as the parent units and much calmer in spite of the high performance. Furthermore the powertrain exited with its tight construction and its limited weight. Mazda’s legendary chief constructor Kenichi Yamamoto was very pleased about the “Wankel miracle” as well as rotary engine inventor Felix Wankel. The latter received tribute for his lifetime achievement by the only RX-7 turbo bound for Europe with extraordinary 165 hp.