When you ask any import fan, “What are the best cars to come out of Japan?” Undoubtedly, that list will contain at least four cars: Toyota Supra, Nissan Skyline, Mazda RX-7, and the Acura NSX. For me, these cars have been on a whole different level from your standard Mitsubishi Evolution or Subaru WRX; these four legends are dream cars. Therefore, when I saw that Morrie’s Mazda in Minnetoka, Minnesota had a perfect example of a 1993 Mazda RX-7, I knew I had to drive it. However, that old saying goes “Never meet your heroes,” so I had my reservations.
It is well known that rotaries have their issues, namely apex seals. The fact that this 38,000 mile rotary had been driven so little in its 20 year life, does not help this vital seal. Upon arrival, it was perfectly clear that this was an exception to the stigma. When I walked into the showroom on Wednesday, the RX-7 looked perfectly at home; as though it was a brand new model. The paint was absolutely pristine and the body untouched by unappreciative door dings. The car was absolutely stunning. Opening the driver’s door, it became abundantly clear that the interior was just as well cared for.. Once the team of salesman carefully wheeled the Japanese beauty into the sunlight, the salesman behind the wheel popped the headlights. All at once, every reason why the 90’s were an awesome time for Mazda was sitting in front of me; and I was about to drive it. I snapped a few pictures, stepped back to admire, and hopped in the driver’s seat.
Sliding into the cockpit, one thing was apparent: this car was built around the driver. Every button, switch, and lever you need is right there, at the end of your fingertips. The dashboard molds around you and gives you a confidence that only a true race car can. Starting up perfectly, the RX-7 doesn’t scream drive me! It gets into your core and creates a yearning to drive it. This car does not have to scream, it knows what you want to do and gives you every opportunity to exploit that desire. A young salesman steps into the passenger’s seat, looks at me and proceeds to tell me that I am the first person outside the owner of the dealer to drive this car. Here is where the goose bumps set in, I’m going to drive my hero.
Driving the Mazda RX-7 is an incredible experience. The engine always has torque at the disposal of your right foot. It will get you very far away in a very short amount of time. You can drive this car hard, and it thanks you for it. Around Morrie’s Mazda is a set of twisty roads that the RX-7 absolutely ate up. The turn in is amazingly responsive, but at the same time extremely analog. The steering rack feels like an extension of your body. You can think your way through turns. The dash board is set up in such a fashion that you do not even have to look at it. The rev counter is so large, your peripheral vision picks it up no problem. Another sign that this is a car built for the track. In what seems like no time at all, I was 10 miles away from Morrie’s. At this point, the salesman told me my time was up and it was his turn. Sadly, this is where my journey ends, as being a passenger is not nearly as informative.
This was one hero I was incredibly glad I met. Living up to the expectation of being a car built for the circuit, around the driver, the 1993 Mazda RX-7 performs excellently through the bends. The sensation of turning the wheel, the adrenaline of mashing the accelerator, and the unique rotary exhaust note combine for a unique experience that is a must for any import gear head. Now, if only I could get my hands on a Supra!