(Words by Tom Lohnes) – Mazda, the famed Japanese Automaker, is now 100 years old. Mazda has made some of the most iconic cars of all time, and they have all left their mark on the world both on the track and off of it. Today, we’re going to go over Mazda’s three most iconic models, the MX-5 Miata, the RX-7, and the 787B. These cars were all very successful in their own way. Some of them still being in production, and some of them boasting new technology. These cars are all historic cars, and will be remembered and appreciated by enthusiasts for a long time to come.
Let’s start with my personal favorite the MX-5 Miata. Launched in 1990, the Miata was inspired by the Lotus Elan, and boasted an impressive 2,100-pound curb weight, and a 116 horsepower 1.6 liter naturally aspirated Inline-4 engine as well as an available 5-speed manual transmission, maximizing the potential of this car. The 1.6 in the original N/A generation Miata has proven to be a very modifiable engine, easily being able to take up to 15 psi of boost on stock internals. The Miata has been heralded as one of the best sports cars of the 20st century and is now in the fourth generation, starting at $26,580 and delivering 188 horsepower. By volume one of the most raced cars in history, the Miata may have single handedly kept budget sports car racing alive in the USA during the 1990s and 2000s.
The second model is the RX-7. The F/D, or 4th generation RX-7 is heralded as a member of the holy trinity of JDM cars along with the Toyota Supra and Nissan GT-R. The RX-7 is powered by the legendary 13b Rotary engine, that has proven to be finicky but much loved by its devotees around the world. Even with its sometimes odd tendencies the Rotary is a very treasured engine and purists will personally have anyone who LS swaps these cars cursed by gypsies. The RX-7 at its peak F/D Twin Turbo form made 238 horsepower but the 13B can make loads of power when tuned up, and has the iconic high-pitched growl a rotary engine produces. RX-7s have been discontinued but you can find a top of the line, F/D twin turbo model for as low as $31,000.
The last Mazda is definitely the most iconic. The Mazda 787B housed a monster of a 4-rotor, 26B Rotary engine, making an almighty 930 horsepower, spinning up to an eye-watering 10,500 RPM, dominating racetracks one at a time, and rivaling the best from Porsche, a legendary manufacturer in itself. The 787B was a true expression of what can be done with a Rotary and an army of engineers. The 787B had its crowning moment in 1991 when it won the 24 Hours of LeMans and became the only car in the history of the race to win without a reciprocating engine. To me that’s pretty cool.