Published on January 20th, 2017 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Look for a used 1992 Mazda RX-7 Efini
When it comes to drop dead sexy looking sports cars, Mazda has been consistent with their sporty products for the past 35 years. Their first ever RX7, the Savanna had a shell that was ahead of its time and even today it commands enough curbside appeal to have owners happy to drive one even with its rather high fuel consumption. It sold rather well and when the 2nd generation FC model arrived it was an instant hit globally with many Malaysians who were drawn to its Porsche 924 profile. Today there are still many running around and it has tested time very well. Asking prices are still rather high for its year of manufacture simply because there are not many on the road and they all have enthusiast owners who feel little reason to part with them. In 1992 the 3rd generation arrived and this was a showstopper. It was given the name Efini. The Efini was gorgeous and it had all the qualities to make it a world-class sports car. It was wrapped in a slinky curvaceous shell and its interior was filled with super car notions. It had a twin bubble roof design and its doors came with single side windows giving it a real jet fighter look. Its rear panels were a single piece of metal from the front of the roof all the way around the rear back and sides, which showed a Viper like profile.
In front of the driver sat Mazda’s compact rotary (Wankel) engine that helped make this car go as fast as it looked. It was a 13B-REW two-rotor engine that sat behind the front suspension, which was coupled with a sequential twin turbo system delivering a phenomenal performance in a compact package. Developing 242bhp in the most common spec, all versions came in as parallel imports and so depending on your luck power can be anywhere between 235bhp and 280bhp. Finding a used stock standard version is a rare thing but this week we look at buying one of these rare RX7 Efini’s and not getting your bank balance in a twist while doing so.
If you manage to locate one in a used car lot or a local classified, start with the interior. Open the door via the concealed door handle to check if the plastic hinge used for weight saving is still intact. Also the door should not sag when fully opened. Sagging doors are the first of many signs of an accident car. Inside you will find a low-slung race seats that should still be firm and its runners smooth in operation. The dashboard wraps around the driver and is easily prone to scratches. A large tachometer dominates the centre of the dial arrangement with the speedometer to the right and oil pressure, water temperature and petrol on the right. Check to make sure all are working well. Next to check is the engine. Ignite the RX-7 engine with a non-standard exhaust and you will hear almost nothing. If with a manual gearbox then the gearshifts should be slick and short. At low speeds the first turbo is working and gives the car enough boost to get going, hammer the throttle and the 2nd turbo kicks in at about 4500rpm and a whole lot of fun starts. There will be some lag but it is manageable. The Efini is well known for its thirst for fuel and so this should be no surprise for you when looking to buy a used unit. An average of 17mpg is usual and with tuned versions where the 2nd turbo kicks earlier, you can see as low as 10mpg. Rotary engines need to be worked to prevent carbon build up. If during the test drive you feel a hesitation in gears then this could be due to the car ‘sitting’ in the used car lot. Also, when starting from cold, try and give sometime for the engine to warm up as it will ‘fuel flood’ easily if you switch it off after a few seconds.
The obvious benefits of buying a RX7 Efini are, drop dead looks that will last years to come, performance (it will do 0-100km/h in less than 5.5 secs) with little money (we will come to that in the next paragraph) and its suffering depreciation that has slowed down.
Engine rebuilds are expensive and it is better to look at re-conditioned or used low mileage engines when a change is needed. This can cost between RM8k to RM15k depending on the quality of the engine. Prices today are relatively low for the type of car you are getting. From as low as RM45,000 for an early 1992 car to a reasonable RM70,000 for a late 1999 face lifted car.