Spannerhead Dot

Driving the Only Left-Hand Drive
Mazda RX-7 Spirit R in the World

December 16, 2012 by Matt

As soon as I think I’m over my obsession with the 3rd generation Mazda RX-7, or FD, a clip like this pops up and reminds me of all the reasons I fell in love with the elemental sports car as a 15-year-old.

It does get talky in parts, and the host makes much the same point articulated more astutely by Chris Harris—pining for a lower-power, full-engagement sports car instead of the mega-horsepower digital “robots” de rigeur nowadays—but the shots of the Spirit R blasting along the California coast are worth the occasional superfluous foray into familiar automotive history.

To state the obvious, it’s an achingly beautiful car. I honestly can’t think of a lovelier vehicle to emerge from Japan, and the knowledge of its (considerable) capability only strengthens the pull of its lines. As much as I wish the FD had been offered in the US for longer than three model years, I wonder sometimes if the shortness of its production run coupled with the powder-keg nature of its twin-turbocharged rotary don’t actually enhance its appeal. It’s so ephemeral, so uncompromising, both in its looks and in its accoutrements vis-a-vis the driver, so utterly irrational… We need cars like this; cars that don’t make a lick of sense “in the real world.” As much as I appreciate what Mazda attempted to do with the RX-8, with its suicide doors and livable back seat, those very concessions to practicality turn me off to it. I would “use” the RX-8’s compromises exactly once: As talking points to convince my wife that the car wasn’t a completely frivolous expenditure, and then bemoan their presence for the rest of my ownership experience. No, even if I had to sleep on the couch for a couple of weeks, give me the FD RX-7. Its purity is worth the pain.

Filed under: Mazda, Media, Rotary


  1. John D says:

    Great video. I feel so privileged to have driven that car for so long. It really was everything one could hope for in a sports car. Watching that video I can just feel myself back in it, breezing down a winding road. That car was such a pleasure just to drive…all the time and anywhere. Money being no object I never would have let it go. It truly is/was a remarkable car. And still a stunner. Much better looking than most cars produced today.

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