Ford Deluxe Coupe, 1947
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012
- Series 6 (1992–1995) was exported throughout the world and had the highest sales. In Japan, Mazda sold the RX-7 through its Efini brand as the Efini RX-7. Only the 1993–1995 model years were sold in the U.S. and Canada.
- Series 7 (1996–1998) included minor changes to the car. Updates included a simplified vacuum routing manifold and a 16-bit ECU allowing for increased boost which netted an extra 10 hp. In Japan, the Series 7 RX-7 was marketed under the Mazda brand name. The Series 7 was also sold in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. Series 7 RX-7s were produced only in right-hand-drive configuration.
- Series 8 (January 1999–August 2002) was the final series, and was initially only available in the Australian and European markets. More efficient turbochargers were installed, while improved intercooling and radiator cooling was made possible by a revised frontal area. The seats, steering wheel, and front and rear lights were all changed. The rear wing was modified and gained adjustability. The top-of-the-line "Type RS" came equipped with a Bilstein suspension and 17" wheels as standard equipment. Power was officially claimed as 280 ps (276 hp, 208 kW) (with 330 N·m (243 ft·lbf) of torque) as per the maximum Japanese limit, though realistic power was more likely 220–230 kW (290–308 hp). The Type RZ version included all the features of the Type RS, but at a lighter weight. It also featured custom BBS wheels and a custom red racing themed interior. Further upgrades included a new 16-bit ECU and ABS system upgrades. The improved ABS system worked by braking differently on each wheel, allowing the car better turning during braking. The effective result made for safer driving for the average buyer. Easily the most collectible of all the RX-7s was the last 1,500 run-out specials. Dubbed the "Spirit R", they combined all the "extra" features Mazda had used on previous limited-run specials and all sold within days of being announced.
The third and final generation of the RX-7, FD (with FD3S for the JDM and JM1FD for the USA VIN), was an outright, no-compromise sports car by Japanese standards. It featured an aerodynamic, futuristic-looking body design (a testament to its near 11-year lifespan). The 13B-REW was the first-ever mass-produced sequential twin-turbocharger system to export from Japan, boosting power to 255 hp (190 kW) in 1993 and finally 280 ps (276 hp, 208 kW, the Japanese manufacturers' gentlemen's agreement on engine power) by the time production ended in Japan in 2002.
The FD RX-7 was Motor Trend's Import\Domestic Car of the Year and Playboy's Car of the Year for 1993. It also made Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1993 through 1995.
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 comprised of two small turbochargers, one to provide torque at low RPM. The 2nd unit was on standby until the upper half of the rpm range during full throttle acceleration. The first turbocharger provided 10 psi of boost from 1800 rpm, and the 2nd turbocharger was activated at 4000 rpm and also provided 10 psi (70 kPa). The changeover process was incredibly smooth, and provided linear acceleration and a very 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 best balanced cars of all time. The continued use of the front-midship engine and drivetrain layout, combined with an equal front-rear weight distribution and low center of gravity made the FD a very competent car at the limits.
In North America, three models were offered; the "base", the touring, and the R models. The touring FD had a sunroof, leather seats, and a complex Bose Acoustic Wave system. The R (R1 in 1993 and R2 in 1994–95) models featured stiffer suspensions, an aerodynamics package, suede seats, and Z-rated tires.
Australia had a special high performance version of the RX-7 in 1995, dubbed the RX-7 SP. This model was developed as a homologated road-going version of the race car used in the 12hr endurance race held at Bathurst, New South Wales, beginning in 1991. An initial run of 25 were made, and later an extra 10 were built by Mazda due to demand. The RX-7 SP produced 204 kW (274 hp) and 357 N·m (263 ft·lbf) of torque, compared to 176 kW (236 hp) and 294 N·m (217 ft·lbf) on the standard version. Other changes included a race-inspired nose cone, race-proven rear wing, a 120 L fuel tank (as opposed to the 76 L tank in the standard car), a 4.3:1-ratio rear differential, 17 in diameter wheels, larger brake rotors and calipers. An improved intercooler, exhaust, and modified ECU were also included. Weight was reduced significantly with the aid of carbon fibre; a lightweight bonnet and seats were used to reduce weight to just 1218 kg (from 1310 kg). It was a serious road going race car that matched their rival Porsche 968CSRS for the final year Mazda officially entered. The formula paid off when the RX-7SP won the title, giving Mazda the winning trophy for a fourth straight year. A later special version, the Bathurst R, was released in 2001.
The Compact Size and Light Weight
Compact size and light weight are the most important elements in the creation of a car recognized for its superb performance, dynamics, efficiency and driving enjoyment. Therefore, rigid discipline was applied to the car's configuration, outer dimensions and mass.
The new MX-5 is outwardly little changed from the original car, measuring 3,975 mm long, 1,680 mm wide and 1,225 mm high on the same 2,265-mm wheelbase.
The interior most aptly deserves the description "cockpit," as it has just the right amount of snugness to impart a feeling of "Oneness."
The MX-5 adheres to a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive configuration with the engine mounted "front-midships" for an ideal weight distribution of 50/50, a low centre of gravity, and greatly reduced yaw moment.
A double wishbone suspension - the ideal design for a sports car - and the "Power Plant Frame" that unites the power unit with the final drive unit are inherited from the predecessor.
The exterior continues the unique design instantly recognisable as the Mazda MX-5. This visual feast attracts attention to the styling from every angle, offering views that are pleasant and lasting. While fixed headlights are newly incorporated, the car's overall styling emphasises the flowing quality of the design, including such elements as subtle blisters on the fenders. The interior provides just the right amount of the snugness to create a pleasing level of comfort; it also offers a sensual appeal, striking a chord with one's senses of vision, hearing, and touch. A T-shaped instrument panel is adopted for its excellent functionality.
The Improved Comfort and Convenience
A "Wind-blocker" (standard on the 1.8-litre model) reduces cockpit turbulence when driving with the top down.
Both the luggage and glove compartments have been increased in size, and new storage features such as instrument panel pockets have been added.
The 1.8-litre DOHC and the 1.6-litre DOHC 4-cylinder engines are available in the new Mazda MX-5. Output and torque for both engines have been improved through enhancements to the intake and exhaust systems, resulting in smooth engine rewing from low to high speeds and responsive acceleration. Features such as a straight intake port, a variable-inertia exhaust system (1.8-litre) and a dual exhaust manifold are incorporated. The engine has been "tuned" for more pleasing sounds and a Torsen-type limited-slip differential is standard on the 1 .8litre model.
The front and rear double wishbone suspension system has been further refined, enhancing the car's stability while providing a fundamental advance in driving pleasure. In particular, it has been tuned for better handling precision as well as enhanced stability and confidence when driving at high speeds. The resulting linear response and road-hugging performance provide a significant improvement in cornering capabilities. These improvements are realised with modified front suspension geometry, longer wheel travel at the rear, modified mounting configuration for the coil springs and dampers and numerous other design changes. For quicker more responsive handling, steering lock-to-Iock is just 2.6 turns.
Mazda's Advanced Impact Distribution and Absorption System provides the MX-5 with enhanced rigidity and safety. By making the body structure more rigid, torsion and vibration caused by external forces are reduced for better handling stability. As a result of a variety of modifications, such as additional reinforcements at precisely the locations where they are most effective, body rigidity has been increased with only a minimal increase in weight. As before, an aluminium bonnet reduces mass up front, further enhancing the MX-5's retuned suspension and steering.
Active Safety Features
Superb handling performance, which makes the driver feel at one with the car, is the basis for the MX-5's active safety features. The excellent field of vision and the easier-to-operate arrangement of switches on the dash also help to enhance driving pleasure.
Passive Safety Features
The new MX-5 also incorporate safety features such as a highly rigid body structure, safety belts with a direct-clamp mechanism and pretensioners and dual SRS airbags.