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September 20, 2014

Die-cast: Mazda RX-7 Spirit R Type A

by Mark Savage

Mazda RX-7 a spirited sports car modelmazda1

Sports cars come and go, a sort of a flavor of the week mentality affects sports car buyers. Since the 1950s there have been MGs, Sunbeams, Triumphs and at the higher end, Corvettes and Porsches.

But occasionally a car maker captures lightning in a bottle, and it maintains some staying power, such as Mazda’s RX-7, which was made from 1978 to 2002 and its iconic Miata. Our topic here is the RX-7, which was famous for its unique twin-rotor Wankel rotary engine, its sporty looks and its pop-up headlights. Oh, and the RX-7 was modestly priced as sports cars go.

Certainly the RX-7 was popular enough to warrant someone like Autoart delivering a fine 1:18 scale, and so it does.

The History

There were three distinct generations of the racy RX-7, the third beginning production in 1991 and known as the FD model for its Japanese VIN number designation. The FD was manufactured until RX-7 production ceased in 2002.

mazda3In 1999 Mazda cranked out one of its racier versions (not that they all weren’t fairly racy), the Spirit R Type A. This model boasted 276 horsepower and a torque rating of 231, put to good use by a 5-speed manual transmission. The Sprint R RX-7 weighed in at a svelte 2,469 lbs. and rode on 17-inch tires and was one of the models most frequently raced.

Overall the RX-7 was a success for Mazda, raising its stock among the smaller Japanese makes. It was on Car and Driver’s top 10 list five times and was Motor Trend’s 1993 Import Car of the Year, among various awards it took home.

Throughout its production run more than 800,000 were made and sold worldwide. Its rotary engine made it unusual early on, with only the Mazda Cosmo, a luxury coupe, also using the rotary powerplant, which later fell out of favor.

The Model:

The test diecast model was a jet black number with fancy smoked metal wheels and red brake calipers with white Mazda labels, along with shiny metal disc brakes behind the wheels giving this a particularly “serious racer” look. Adding to that is an interior decked out with bright red Recaro bucket seats.

Everything opens on the 1:18 scale Autoart Mazda, and I love those red Recarro seats.

Everything opens on the 1:18 scale Autoart Mazda, and I love those red Recarro seats.

The hood, hatch and doors open and the pop-up headlights do just that, with a lever under the body giving an assist. The lights also are easy to raise once the hood is up if you don’t want to turn the car over to flip the lever.

Detail? Well, this is what generally sets the Autoart cars apart from some less expensive 1:18 makes.

In addition to the realistic flip up lights there are clear and amber projector beam lights below the main lenses, a detailed nose damn with screen air scoops on either side. In profile you see the amber reflector on the front quarter panel, a Sprit R logo and red rear panel reflector. He doors include well shaped mirrors and a plastic imprint of the door release in the pillar at the rear of the window, plus a key hole.

In back is the stout wing for downforce, dual exhausts coming off a large muffler and accurate silver Mazda and RX-7 badging and a trio of red and yellow taillights on either side. A giant wiper arm would clear the back hatch window, which includes defrost wiring in it.

Nicely detailed engine bay with red stiffening bar.

Nicely detailed engine bay with red stiffening bar.

Seats inside are racy and well-shaped with shoulder harnesses and Momo logo on the seat backs. The dash is nicely detailed with a full center console and white-faced gauges for the driver. There’s a 3-spoke wheel, large parking brake and smaller shift lever on the console. The door sill features a silver RX-7 kick plate.

Engine detail is good too with hoses and electrical wiring, plus a red stress bar going shock tower to shock tower to create more structure rigidity for the racer. Tires are treaded, but do not include branding.

A possible minor drawback is the car is Japan-centric with right-hand drive.

Yet, as with all Autoart cars, this one comes well attached for reduced shipping damage and attached to a black plastic case housed in a black cardboard window box. You could display it as is, but an acrylic case will allow you easier access long-term.

Fun model that’s well executed.

FAST Stats: Mazda RX-7 Spirit R Type Amazda2

Maker: Autoart

Scale: 1/18

Stock No.: 75986

MSRP: $179.90mazda4

 

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