Mazda Rx-7 Spotting Guide (1979-2002)

I originally wrote this for a Flickr group

MAZDA RX-7 1st Generation (1979-1985)
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Series 1 (1979-1980)

1979 Mazda Rx-7
MAZDA RX-7 (image by Dave_7)

1980 Mazda Rx-7 GS
MAZDA RX-7 (image by Dave_7)

Description: The Rx-7 was a sports car with conventional underpinnings except for its rotary engine. The earliest cars are series 1 often referred to as "SA22C" especially in North America after the beginning of their VIN number. These are easily identified by the rear end styling with its "Baroque depression" – low tail lights and a depression for the license plate. The bumpers are also less integrated.
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RX-7 SERIES 2 (1981-1983)

1981 Mazda Rx-7
MAZDA RX-7 (image by Dave_7)

1981 Mazda Rx-7
MAZDA RX-7 (image by Dave_7)

Description: The series 2 cars lost the "Baroque depression" and went with integrated plastic bumpers and wrap around tail lights. In North America the VIN changed to begin with FB so these are often referred to as FB cars.
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RX-7 SERIES 3 (1983-1985)

My old Series 3 RX7
MAZDA RX-7 (image by Nigel Honey)

1985 Mazda Rx-7 GSL interior
MAZDA RX-7 (image by Dave_7)

Description: Series 3 cars came with an updated interior with the tachometer no longer centrally mounted and the possibility of different wheels. Lower specification cars stayed with the old 4×110 bolt pattern and the GSL-SE models came with new alloy wheels on the 4×4.5" bolt pattern (show above). In North America the GSL-SE came with the 13B fuel injected engine and other markets had the option of a turbocharged 12A engine.

Specifications: rotary engine (12A, 12A-T, 13B), 4,5 speed manual or 3 speed automatic, strut front suspension, four link with live axle at the rear.
Sold against: Nissan 280ZX/300ZX, Porsche 924, Chevrolet Camaro, Toyota Celica
Body styles: 2-door sports car
Production: 471,018

MAZDA RX-7 2nd Generation (1986-1991)
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SERIES 4 (1986 – 1988)

For Sale $2000
MAZDA RX-7 (image by Hugo90)

For Sale $2000
MAZDA RX-7 (image by Hugo90)

1988 Mazda RX-7 Convertible
MAZDA RX-7 (image by ProRallyPix)
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SERIES 5 (1989 – 1991)

1991 Mazda RX-7 (#2)
MAZDA RX-7 (image by nathanwalls)

1991 Mazda RX-7 (#7)
MAZDA RX-7 (image by nathanwalls)

Description: The Rx-7 was completely redesigned for 1986 with independent rear suspension, 13B fuel injected engine and Porsche 944 style bodywork. Weight was up quite a bit and the Rx-7 moved more towards a GT style car. VINs begin with FC so this generation is often known as the FC. A turbo model was also optional (except in Japan where only the turbo was sold). In 1988 convertible body style was offered.

Specifications: rotary engine (13B, 13B-T), 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic, strut front suspension, independent rear suspension.
Sold against: Nissan 300ZX, Porsche 924/944, Chevrolet Camaro, Toyota Supra
Body styles: 2-door sports/gt car
Production: 272,027

MAZDA RX-7 3rd Generation (1992-2002)
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RX-7 SERIES 6 (1992–1995)

Mazda Rx-7 Ẽfini
ẼFINI RX-7 (image by Dave_7)

Mazda Rx-7 Ẽfini
ẼFINI RX-7 (image by Dave_7)

Description: The Rx-7 went back to being an all out sports car with this time with a twin turbo 13B-REW engine. This generation was also known as the FD. In Japan they where sold under the Efini brand.
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RX-7 SERIES 7 (1996–1998)

DSC_0239
MAZDA RX-7 (image by ozKarjan)

Description: Sales to North America where discountinued to North America after series 6 and from then on all Rx-7s where right hand drive only.
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RX-7 SERIES 8 (1999–2002)
2002_Mazda_RX7SpiritR1
MAZDA RX-7 (image by Shaunsational)
2002_Mazda_RX7SpiritR2
MAZDA RX-7 (image by Shaunsational)

Description: Series 8 cars where sold in Japan and had revised steering wheels and lights.

Specifications: rotary engine (13B-REW), 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic, strut front suspension, independent rear suspension.
Sold against: Nissan 300ZX, Toyota Supra
Body styles: 2-door sports car
Production: 68,589

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8 Responses to Mazda Rx-7 Spotting Guide (1979-2002)

  1. Pingback: Fast Saturday links « She amazed me with a writ

  2. Pingback: 1980 Mazda Engine Specs | Mazda Photos Blog

  3. Jay says:

    Hello

    I see you have a blue 85 Rx7 gsl did you sell it to someone in BC ?

    • oldcarjunkie says:

      I sold it to a Calgary guy but who knows where it went from there. I don’t think I have the VIN anymore.

  4. Pingback: Mazda Vin Numbers | Mazda Photos Blog

  5. Pingback: 1980 Mazda Rx-7 Conv | Mazda Photos Blog

  6. Pingback: Saying » Blog Archive » 1985 mazda rx 6 pictures

  7. P.Cribbs says:

    I think you got your S2 and S3 mixed up, check out the tail lights.

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