What better way to celebrate Down Shift Magazine’s Photo of the Day this Sunday, February 9th, 2014 than with this beautiful shot of what is arguably the sexiest of the 90’s era Japanese super-cars…Mazda’s alluringly temperamental FD RX-7.
The third generation of the RX-7, FD featured an updated body design. The 13B-REW was the first-ever mass-produced sequential twin-turbocharger system to export from Japan, boosting power to 252 hp in 1993 and finally 280 PS 276 hp by the time production ended in Japan in 2002.
The FD RX-7 was Motor Trend’s Import Car of the Year. When Playboy first reviewed the FD RX-7 in 1993, they tested it in the same issue as the [then] new Dodge Viper. In that issue, Playboy declared the RX-7 to be the better of the two cars. It went on to win Playboy’s Car of the Year for 1993. The FD RX-7 also made Car and Driver’s Ten Best list for 1993 through 1995, for every year in which it was sold state-side. June 2007 Road & Track proclaimed “The ace in Mazda’s sleeve is the RX-7, a car once touted as the purest, most exhilarating sports car in the world.” After its introduction in 1991, it won the Automotive Researchers’ and Journalists’ Conference Car of the Year award in Japan.
The sequential twin turbocharged system was a very complex piece of engineering, developed with the aid of Hitachi and previously used on the domestic Cosmo series (JC Cosmo=90–95). The system was composed of two turbochargers, one to provide boost at low RPM. The second unit was on standby until the upper half of the rpm range during full throttle acceleration. The first turbocharger provided 10 psi (0.7 bar) of boost from 1800 rpm, and the second turbocharger was activated at 4000 rpm and also provided 10 psi (0.7 bar). The changeover process occurred at 4500 rpm, 8 psi (0.6 bar), was smooth, and provided linear acceleration and a wide torque curve throughout the entire rev range.
Handling in the FD was regarded as world-class, and it is still regarded as being one of the finest handling and the best balanced cars of all time. The continued use of the front-midship engine and drivetrain layout, combined with a 50:50 front-rear weight distribution ratio and low center of gravity, made the FD a very competent car at the limits.