The Legendary 1986-1991 Mazda RX7: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia

July 3, 2023 1:08 PM

1986-1991 Mazda RX-7: A Iconic JDM Sports Car

The 1986-1991 Mazda RX-7, also known as the FC3S, is a legendary sports car that holds a special place in the hearts of automotive enthusiasts, particularly those with a passion for Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) vehicles. Emblematic of Mazda's commitment to innovative engineering and performance, the RX-7 is a shining example of the golden era of Japanese sports cars.

Aesthetics and Design

The RX-7 boasts a timeless and captivating design that continues to turn heads decades later. Its sleek and low-slung profile features flowing lines and pronounced wheel arches, creating an undeniably aggressive and aerodynamic appearance. The pop-up headlights, a design trend of the era, add a touch of uniqueness to the car.

As a JDM icon, the RX-7 incorporates several distinct design elements that set it apart from its competitors. The prominent front grille, angular rear taillights, and defined body contours are all characteristic of the Japanese design language that influenced numerous JDM models during this period.

Engine and Performance

Under the hood, the RX-7 was powered by a rotary engine, which sets it apart from most conventional sports cars. Mazda's renowned Wankel rotary engine, specific to the RX-7, offered an exceptional power-to-weight ratio, making it a favorite among driving enthusiasts.

The early FC3S models were equipped with a 1.3-liter twin-turbocharged rotary engine, commonly known as the 13B-REW. This powerplant produced impressive horsepower figures, typically around 200-220 hp, thanks to the forced induction system. The lightweight nature of the RX-7, combined with its well-balanced chassis and rear-wheel drive setup, delivered a dynamic driving experience with excellent handling and responsiveness.

Driving Experience and Legacy

The RX-7's driving experience was renowned for its agility and nimbleness. The low center of gravity, responsive steering, and well-tuned suspension made it a joy to drive on winding roads or racetracks. The rotary engine's unique characteristics, such as its high-revving nature and distinct engine note, enhanced the overall experience.

From a JDM perspective, the 1986-1991 Mazda RX-7 is not just a symbol of superior performance, but also represents a cultural phenomenon. It embodies the spirit of Japan's automotive industry, which was thriving during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The RX-7's popularity paved the way for subsequent JDM sports cars, leaving an indelible mark on the automotive world.

Collectibility and Modifications

Over the years, the 1986-1991 Mazda RX-7 has gained considerable collectibility status among JDM enthusiasts. Its distinctive design, rotary engine, and enjoyable driving dynamics have ensured a strong demand in the used car market. Well-maintained and unmodified examples command a premium, especially those equipped with limited-production variants or performance-oriented trims like the RX-7 Turbo II.

Many owners and enthusiasts also enjoy modifying their RX-7s to extract even more performance. Popular modifications include aftermarket turbochargers, upgraded suspension systems, enhanced braking systems, and engine swaps to more powerful rotary engines. These modifications highlight the versatility and potential for customization that the RX-7 offers to its owners.


The 1986-1991 Mazda RX-7, a true icon of JDM sports cars, showcases Mazda's engineering prowess and commitment to performance. With its distinctive design, rotary engine, and exhilarating driving experience, the FC3S RX-7 has secured its place in automotive history. Whether kept in its original form or modified to push performance boundaries, the RX-7 continues to captivate car enthusiasts, embodying the essence of JDM culture and the uniqueness of Japanese sports cars of that era.